How do you motivate students who don't want to learn?
I think Lauren said it well. Many times motivation is affected by home life. Getting to the children individually, talking to their parents, looking through their cumulative folders, and talking to previous teachers can help.
If it is academic, handle it quietly because they are probably embarrassed. I work with kids at recesses or after school to give them the extra help. Having the kids set attainable goals helps. Remind them that showing improvement is what is important. Many times lack of motivation comes from comparing themselves to the smartest kids in class. They need to know that everyone learns at different paces and to compare their improvement to only themselves
I start with reaching out and trying to develop a relationship with them. Find out what is going on in their lives that may be getting in the way of their learning, earn their trust, and let them know that you are there to support them in any way you can. Sometimes they are struggling with the material and need extra help, sometimes they are dealing with bigger issues at home - whatever it is, it may provide some insight into why they appear unmotivated to learn. Good luck!
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There's two schools of thought here and Ms. Collins alluded to one form: There's intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation. This is according to my education studies. Motivating students with awards or a good pat on the back for a job well done are examples of extrinsic form of motivation. They work well for students in gradeschool and they still work well for more mature students. I believe that allowing students to come up with their own goals or aims would eventually lead to its intrinsic form because they get the satisfaction for doing the work that they want to do. That's one tall order.
Classroom teaching, existing tutoring, and mentoring programs are only effective if a student wants to take advantage of them. An alarming number of unmotivated elementary and middle school children do not. Unmotivated students are unlikely to embrace the learning process or participate in tutoring, homework help or other types of traditional mentoring programs.
Here is a simple and fun 15 minute, once per week strategy, to repetitively motivate and inspire elementary and middle school students to excel academically and socially and to respect their teachers, schools, peers and the learning process. Although originally geared towards significantly underperforming children, this program will benefit any student type. Of particular relevance would be the home page, benefits page and FAQs at: www.OnGiantsShoulders.ORG
I've asked this question in several different forums and the keyword that keeps presenting itself is "relationships". Thank you Lauren and Shannon for your examples in your responses!
Michael, thank you for your response! I will also start allowing my students to come up with their own goals to help develop their "intrinsic motivation".
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