Written by Dave Gannaway
Classroom motivation may hold the key to improving student performance in many schools. I can recall sitting in a dreary classroom listening the droning monotone voice of a teacher trying to instruct me on topics I did not care about. Suffice to say the results of my classroom studies were not good. Was I a poor student or was the classroom environment to fault?
Does a student’s success depend on their natural interest in the subject or does classroom motivation have a responsibility to engender a curiosity and vitality to learn? The importance of education normally begins at home with the parents emphasizing the importance of success and consequence of failure. The encouragement and high expectation of parents can create an important impression on which the student will strive in class.
The school does have a large influence over the individual also. Classroom motivation can include an upbeat approach to normally dull subjects. Most subjects can be made interesting and appealing. For example using actual examples of subjects that would-be encountered every day, and relating individual interest and pastimes in the topic.
Students who have an intrinsic interest in learning find it easier to retain information. They also tend to be the highest achievers. But it has been clearly shown that classroom motivation can create surprising improvements with students who are not naturally inspired. To encourage intrinsic motivation to learn can be engendered when students are interested and in touch with the topic.
In my personal experience I responded most favorably to subjects placed in an everyday connection. I could see clearly, what at first seemed an erroneous subject, did in fact have a very real value and usefulness beyond the classroom. In that respect this played a large part in my education.
As with employee motivation, students respond favorably to recognition indeed - they want individual acknowledgment. Building empathy with the class and not just praising the top few, but with all students and identification with each is a must. I recall that in school I did poorly it was not until I made it out into the practical world beyond the classroom did I begin to apply my knowledge and make my mark.
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