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Some children are highly motivated and take great pleasure in their own success. Others are highly competitive and enjoy gaining greater success than their classmates. Most pupils wish to please the teacher so it is the job of the teacher to encourage all pupils to be proud of their own achievements and to raise self-esteem, so that the pupil continues to give maximum effort and increase personal success.
If a pupil displays a negative attitude to school this could be due to variety of factors both in and out of school. The pupil may have a history of failure and have just 'given up'. Most teachers can recognise and reward success. Failure is more difficult.
It is important that children recognise that making mistakes, is part of the learning process and by developing strategies to rectify their mistakes they will be able to solve them in future.
It is vital that the teacher is sensitive to the needs of this pupil and by gentle persuasion and encouragement gradually encourages the pupil to reengage with academic activity.
Some strategies for motivating pupils
Good role model
Teachers who are fair and demonstrate a real concern for the pupils in their care are more likely to have a class, which responds in a positive way.
Commitment to the job
Concern for the children and getting to know them well as individuals will demonstrate your commitment to know and understanding them:
It is important to motivate pupils by providing a stimulating and safe environment. This means providing exciting displays, which change regularly, reflect the interests of the pupils and celebrate their work. Try interactive displays which pose questions and inspire children to find out more.
The classroom should be a place where the pupils feel safe to suggest and try out new ideas knowing that their opinions will be valued. So:
Planning to motivate pupils
Selecting and designing tasks involves not only a sound understanding of the material to be taught but also matching the level of work to that of the pupils. It is also vital that the subject matter is appropriate for the individuals in the class. So:
For effective learning to take place, learners need to understand what they are trying to achieve, and want to achieve it. Understanding and commitment follows when the pupils have some part in deciding goals and identifying criteria for assessment.
These criteria should be discussed with the pupils, providing examples of how the criteria can be met and engaging the pupils in peer and self-assessment.
Children learn in different ways so when planning lessons, use a variety of strategies to cater for different learning styles.
The way in which a teacher gives feedback on a pupilís work has an enormous impact on their motivation. There has been a great deal of research into the impact of feedback on childrenís learning and one of the most important findings is that children only focus on marks and ignore the comments that accompany them. Therefore, if the teacher wants the pupil to improve learning s/he should:
So, in order to motivate pupils to learn effectively teachers must provide a safe and stimulating environment. Within this setting, the teacher must provide a curriculum which is relevant to them, takes into account their learning needs and builds on their prior knowledge and experience.
Recommended further reading
Your first teaching job marks an incredibly exciting time ahead but as well as excitement you may also feel apprehension.You certainly won't be alone in this. Knowing where to turn for help and advice before you start work will assist you to thrive, not just survive, in this all-important year. Thatís why weíve created this booklet for you. Not only does it include tips on things like parentsí evenings, writing reports or disciplining pupils, it also guides you through the various ways ATL can provide advice and support.