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A Recipe for Motivating Students to Success

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

ID 100113808 A Recipe for Motivating Students to Success

One of the most frustrating and elusive part of education is motivating students to succeed.  While teachers see the reason and need for students to reach the goals set for them, students generally don’t self-motivate which leaves it up to the teacher to provide motivation.  Most students want to be successful but they feel that they can’t achieve or they don’t want to do the work necessary to reach the goal.  In both cases, the goal seems unattainable so students are not willing to even try to achieve it.

Motivating students is a formula of high expectations, support, and encouragement.  While the formula sounds simple on the surface, it is a large investment of time and effort on the part of the faculty.  However, when students achieve their goals, most teachers would agree that the outcome is worth the investment.

If we want our students to be successful, we as teachers need to set high expectations for our students and accept nothing less.  Too often, we don’t set our expectations high enough because we don’t want our students to not reach the goal.  Yet, by “lowering the bar”, we are doing more of a disservice to our students than helping them.  Students need to struggle in order to grow as learners.

Otherwise, they will never achieve anything more than maintaining a sort of status quo – they won’t be challenged or be pushed beyond the average level.  Additionally, if students do not learn how to work toward a goal and struggle to achieve it, they will not learn the valuable and essential lesson that one will have to work hard to be successful.  We are, in essence, grooming them for an eventual failure because they didn’t learn how to face a challenge and what they need to do to overcome the challenge and achieve their goal.

We think that by lowering our standards that we are helping our students because they will experience success and achieve the goal set for them.  If teachers set high expectations for our students, they will reach them – it may take them time and struggle through the process, but they will achieve the goal.  Additionally, they will also learn valuable lessons in perseverance and hard work.

If we want our students to achieve the goals we set for them, we must provide proper, appropriate, and continuous support for them.  The students can’t meet challenging expectations if they feel insecure in their abilities or are afraid of failure.  It is up to teachers to give our students the support they need.  The needs of each student will be different and they will need to receive support in different ways.

Whereas one student may be able to perform the tasks needed to be successful but they don’t have confidence in their skills, another student may be lacking the basic skills that are required to achieve the goal.  Teachers must be aware of the needs of the student and be able to provide the support they need to be successful.  Teachers and schools need to create a culture of success.  Students need to be encouraged to try new things and make mistakes.

It needs to be stressed to the students that mistakes are a part of learning and, as long as they learn from their mistakes, it’s okay if everything doesn’t always come out perfectly.

Encouragement is the final part of the formula.  To be effective, encouragement needs to be specific, sincere, and appropriately timed.  Students know when a teacher’s praise or encouragement isn’t sincere.  If we are going to help our student meet high expectations, we have to be fully engaged with the process.  Some students just need encouraged that they can do the work and that they have the skills they need to be successful.

Others need encouragement while they work to master the skills needed to meet the goal.  Encouragement must be specific in order to help students succeed.  Teachers must be sure that they are providing the type and amount of encouragement students need.  Some students won’t need much encouragement as they have an internal sense of focus and are able to encourage themselves.  Other students will need a great deal of encouragement in order to develop the confidence in their skills that they need to be successful.  Encouragement must be timed appropriately.

If it is given too early, students will not learn how to self-motivate and will always look for approval for everything, no matter how small, that they do.  If encouragement is given too late, the student will have already given up and accepted defeat.  Teachers must remember that struggling is part of learning, but also must have a good sense of their students and know when each of them needs a little boost.

Motivating our students to achieve challenging goals is an important part of a teacher’s job.  If students learn the lesson on perseverance early, they will develop the ability to work as hard as it takes in order to achieve their goals.  If, however, they do not learn how to work and even how to fail, they will never have the skills they need to be successful later on in life.  As teachers who are concerned about our students, we need to remember that with high expectations, support, and encouragement, all students can succeed and reach any goal set for them.

Noelle Eberts has a passion for connecting children to the possibilities that math can unlock. She writes independently for MathNook and is a great resource for all kinds of kid’s math games. Noelle is a part-time math tutor and a full-time Mom!

 A Recipe for Motivating Students to Success

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