Motivating pupils

One of the biggest challenges in teaching is motivating your pupils. Motivation has an impact on your lessons, discipline, In the classroom, stress levels and on pupil results. By understanding the causes of a lack of motivation you can start to read the signs at an early stage. Here are some ideas to turn you into a good motivator...

Know your pupils

If they have special needs you should know and understand them, otherwise your tasks will never match your pupils' needs.

There is CPD and departmental/school support to help you do this so use it and learn what ˜Additional Support" and ˜Inclusion" really expects from you.

Create a positive environment

A well organised classroom will help keep pupils on task. They know where things are and they will have a feeling of support in the classroom.

This helps to motivate them as they are prepared and ready for work. The positive environment they will be working in helps them towards 'quality learning'.

Make your pupils feel safe

Your pupils will be motivated if they feel safe and secure in your classroom. They will come with many personalities and learning needs which you will need to address in your lessons.

There will be pupils who enjoy an audience, others who keep themselves to themselves and pupils who perform best with your attention and positive comments.

Learning styles differ so don't force pupils out of their comfort zone.  By all means stretch your pupils but don't scare them!

Mix 'n' match' your pupils!

The classroom plan you decide on should encourage pupils to learn. Do not make the mistake of having the 'vocal pupils' kept at the front. They are best dispersed and will learn from the better behaviour of others.

Having the unmotivated troublesome ones around your desk will ensure you get no peace at all to help others. Some will even see it as a reward having your attention and being near you all the time.

Vary your worksheets

With many diverse needs in your classroom, one worksheet will not work for everyone. Create worksheets that cater for different learning styles and concentration.

Some should have additional work to stretch the more able, others less detailed work to suit those who need fewer questions.

Worksheets shouldn't label pupils

They catch on very quickly if they always get a pink or a blue sheet, placing themselves in a category. Even worse is when others in the class try to identify them as being stupid or slow.

Praise and reward pupils

Pupils need a range of learning experiences and need praise and reward, otherwise motivation will tail off.

Try to use strategies that will let them see improvement, no matter how small. Look for something positive in their work and something to build on. If they feel they are constantly failing and not achieving, they will focus their attention on something else, usually resulting in disruption and classroom in discipline.

Make your pupils responsible

Delegate duties. Don't always hand out the jotters or clear up after pupils. They get used to you fetching and carrying.