16 Strategies to Motivate Young Learners (No.6 is Highly Effective)

By TheJustRead

Are you struggling to intrinsically motivate students to learn? If yes, then you are at the right place!

In this article, we will discuss the common aspects of lack of motivation and 17 proven strategies to motivate young students to learn.

five kids on smart phones; distracted kids on mobile phones

Reasons Why Kids are not Motivated to Learn

Let’s have a deeper look and analyze why young students do not feel motivated to learn.

Excessive Impulses and Distractions

Online games, message forums, social networking, and other online activities are more like attention black holes for young learners. They draw all the students’ attention by showing exciting and impulsive content. They stifle their engagement and divert their attention from learning the course content.

Minimum Interest in the Course Content

If students do not understand the content, they don’t feel motivated to study it. They believe the course material and books are too difficult for them and often skip some complex topics due to this thought.

Unaware of the benefits of learning specific information

Young learners are not motivated to learn new things as they don’t have their own interests or professional goals like older students do. They are usually unaware of the benefits they might have after learning certain skills, unlike the senior students. The latter opt for courses certifications and continue learning to aid in their professional growth.

Boring and dated Learning activities

If classroom activities are predictable and repeated, students don’t feel challenged and get demotivated. Consequently, they put the least effort into their work and pay no attention to the lesson.

Unattractive Reward System

If your students do not look forward to getting the reward, know that your reward system is not working! Lack of exciting prizes leads to demotivation among the students to achieve successful results.

Unhealthy Sleeping Routine

If you see a student dozing off in the class repeatedly 3 times, it clearly means that the student doesn’t have a healthy lifestyle. Such students lack interest in any activity, whether exciting or not.

Disapproving and negative comments conveyed by the teacher

Teacher’s personality and dedication play a vital role in the teacher-student relationship. Their negative behavior will lead to demotivation among students. You may also read 13 common sayings to avoid in a classroom.

Lack of enthusiasm shown by the teacher

Someone has rightly said that if you want to guess the teacher’s personality, see the students! Dispirited teachers usually yield a bunch of apathetic and unmotivated learners.

Teacher-centered style of teaching

The old-school teaching style where the only teacher is talking, and students’ involvement is limited.

Same old lesson material

Suppose the lesson material doesn’t cater to the specific needs of the students. In that case, students might end up losing interest or find it hard to understand. So monotonous class activities can be one of the leading causes of demotivation among the students.

16 Strategies to Overcome Challenges Linked with Student lack of Motivation

1. Be Inspirational

We, as adults, can recall a specific teacher who had a substantial impact on our childhood. Those teachers had inspired us in one way or the other. Teachers’ success could be winning a Best-Speller award, Best Teacher Award, Public Speaking Award, Art Competition, cycling race, or cooking competition. We all have some successes to share. Share your success experiences with your students and tell them how you felt after achieving them.

Through our experiences and triumphs, students can imagine what success looks like and what sacrifices or choices they need to make to achieve the successes they want in their lives. It is imperative to tell them that the right decisions will lead to a fruitful outcome, and wrong choices may lead to regretful failure. You may quote some of the failure examples too. It will help them compare the two contrasting behaviors and their respective outcomes.

2. Use Right Choice of Words

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” - Rumi

Be calm and use kind words while addressing the struggling or challenging students. Rather than ‘Just leave it, you can’t do it,’ use a positive approach like, ‘Keep trying, you can do it!’

3. Show Energy and Enthusiasm

Deliver the lecture with energy and enthusiasm. The way we deliver the lesson increases the excitement and motivation in children too. Teachers can incorporate examples related to students’ interests in their lessons to make students listen more carefully.

For Example, in Grammar lessons about Adjectives, I would give examples about superheroes for boys, while in girls’ classes, Disney princesses will grab their attention. They will listen more happily if the teacher appears to be a fan of the same thing they like.

4. Know Your Students

Before the actual learning begins, we should try to know the students. You will be able to better tailor your instruction according to the students’ needs and backgrounds. You need to display a strong interest in students’ learning and show that you have faith in their abilities. The students will happily be involved and better understand the lesson.

You might want to watch this great video where teachers from different grade levels check if their student understand well during the lesson. 

5. Incorporate Real-life Examples

Many students want to know why a lesson or concept is essential before studying it further. Relate the lesson objectives to real-life examples and explain how they will be helpful in their future endeavors.

6. Everyone is a Winner

You can keep different competitions to motivate and encourage learners to work hard. Set different levels with clear rules. Keep small rewards for everyone. This inspires the learners to work harder.

7. Plan Student-oriented Teaching Activities

Teachers should design colorful activities and games to engage the students, especially for the elementary grade levels where the learners are young and can get motivated with games and activities. Design your activities while keeping their interest levels in your mind. If activities are engaging, the students will feel motivated to learn new things in a fun way.

8. Set Realistic Performance Goals

Performance goals should be achievable, i.e., appropriate to age and aptitude. If performance goals are realistic, students will be ready to put effort, which will subsequently fuel their sense of achievement.

Ideally, teachers should discuss and include the students while setting the performance goals. If the set goals are not achievable, students will not be motivated and assume them unattainable.

Some students get disheartened and quit soon because they cannot perform well in a short period and don’t want to appear as underachievers. Students should be reminded constantly that performance goals can’t be achieved in a day (unlike some learning goals). They need practice and persistent effort.

9. Apply Appropriate Testing and Grading System

Assessments should be a means of showing what learners have mastered rather than focusing on what they have not. Give everyone equal opportunity to learn and achieve the highest grades.

10. Give Feedback, Not Criticism

Negative comments should be to ascertain performances, not the performer. When a teacher offers non-judgmental feedback, students respect and love the teacher. Teachers should stress the opportunities to improve rather than label specific objectionable performances.

11. Give Students’ Control over Learning

Give students control over their own learning as much as possible. As teachers, we are always controlling the students’ activities. Still, in some situations, we can give the liberty to the students to decide a few things for themselves. We can be flexible with their homework and let them decide what they would like to do as homework. Let students select project topics that interest them by giving them choices.

Let’s say, for writing projects, you may give them two topics to write. They may write on ‘How to save the environment? ‘or ‘The 3 R’s (Recycle, Reduce, Reuse)’. Both topics are related and have the same learning goals. When the student chooses the title by himself, he feels more related, responsible, and motivated to complete the task. You can apply this strategy to any grade level.

12. Acknowledge Students' Efforts With Praises and Prizes

Teachers should praise the students based on learning goal achievement. Instead of a generalized compliment, ‘ You’re a good boy/girl!’. Address the specific effort of the student. Like ‘I can see you have wonderful handwriting!’ or ‘All the answers are accurate!’ or ‘ Wow! loved the ending of this story.’

In this way, other students will also take inspiration and be motivated to improve and do better. Keep attractive prizes and reward systems to encourage the learners.

13. Introduce Different Ways of Assessments

Students’ performance can be assessed in a variety of ways (quizzes, continuous assessments, projects, test papers, presentations, etc.) Allow students to decide how they’d like to show their understanding. Some students love to give a demo as a little teacher; others might want to solve a worksheet to display their learning. Let it be their choice. Don’t force them into something which may cause demotivation or stress among the students.

14. Encourage Peer’s Feedback

At the end of a lesson, you may ask the students to read their partner’s work and give their positive feedback. There will be two benefits of this activity. Firstly, the students will feel responsible and motivated, and secondly, the concept will be reinforced. Students will feel appreciated to hear good things about their work from someone other than the teacher.

15. Plan and Execute Differentiated Instructions

Many students feel interested if classroom activities are appropriate. Teachers must prepare differentiated activities to cater different needs of the students. It will motivate the students and enhance relevance and understanding among the learners, which will subsequently help them achieve desired results.

16. Be Positive

Don’t give up on students and encourage the students to have a growth mindset.

What might be some other strategies we can use to increase motivation in students? Please add your valuable suggestions in the comment box.

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