Motivating students to learn is an important step in the educational process – and encouraging self-motivation is an integral part of this. This article explores the concept of motivation in students, and provides 5 strategies for encouraging the development of self-motivation.
Motivating students in education is a crucial psychological concept since it generates and enhances interest in learning, as well as their ability to improve their academic performance. Motivating students to learn is crucial because it influences everything they do, which includes whether or not they can perform tasks that develop knowledge.
The need for self-motivation among students arises from the fact that most of the tasks students are asked to perform by educators are not inherently enjoyable. It is therefore crucial to integrate motivational strategies into the processes of teaching and learning.
What is motivation?
Motivation is the process of embracing challenging circumstances to face them with intention, persistence, direction, quality, and intensity of behavior. In contrast, motives explain why people act the way they do.
An absence of intrinsic or extrinsic incentives for behavior or growth can be defined as the opposite of motivation.
Having a positive sense of self-esteem motivates students to learn, improves classroom behavior, and enhances academic performance. Unfortunately, data – and the experiences of many educators – show that low motivation is affecting a significant portion of our students, and that the problem increases with each passing year in middle and high school.
The purpose of motivation is to provide students with direction to follow. Therefore, it plays an important role in the learning process.
Lack of motivation, however, can lead to some problems: for example, students do not maximize their learning. The language seems purposeless and uninspiring. Therefore, a desire for learning and the will to achieve it are important for achieving effective and fruitful learning that will provide us with the opportunity to benefit from our efforts.
Encouraging motivation in students
It is possible to encourage – or discourage – children’s motivation from a young age, through the influential adult figures in their lives. Find out how to motivate someone to study in this easy-to-readd article.
According to some studies, academic motivation is commonly found when one or more of the following four factors are present:
- when they feel confident in their ability to accomplish the task at hand
- if they see how their actions directly contribute to an outcome
- when they find value or interest in the task
- and when completing the task brings a sense of belonging or approval from others.
Researchers have studied motivation in several ways, but two major types are recognized by scholars: intrinsic and extrinsic. A person who is intrinsically motivated does things they enjoy or find valuable, motivated by an intrinsic desire. Extrinsic motivation comes from a desire not to do something for the sake of enjoyment, but to accomplish something for the sake of a specific result.
Differences between the two are more like a spectrum than a divide; any action can be spurred on by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors, and even the same person will have different motivations depending on the circumstances.
Motivation is affected by students’ beliefs. When a student feels they are unlikely to succeed or that their ability to learn is limited, he or she will have problems motivating themselves. Students who view intelligence as a fixed quantity that one either possesses or does not possess are less likely to be motivated than students who consider knowledge as a dynamic, ever-changing component.
Factors Influencing Motivation in Students
- Class and Curriculum Structure
Children thrive in a structured environment, but struggle in an unstructured one.
As students sense or observe that classes are structured, and the curriculum and class materials have been prepared beforehand, they feel more secure.
Feeling secure is a basic need. When that’s offered in a learning environment, students can concentrate completely on the material.
- Teaching Methods
It is more likely for students to remain motivated in education if different teaching methods are used.
The result is diversity and the prevention of boredom for students.
It can also be beneficial to allow certain choices, such as which partner they wish to work with. A single class may contain students with different learning styles. Thus, teachers are more likely to meet the needs of students by applying a variety of teaching methods.
- Learning Environment
A school’s environment can also affect motivation in education.
A school’s environment refers to all the rules and regulations that influence the climate of the school.
In a positive school climate, students feel safe and secure, are provided with essentials like daily meals, and are given the opportunity to build healthy relationships with their classmates. Education can also be lowered with too many classes and a serious learning environment.
While standardized assessment raises the standards of achievement, it can negatively impact students’ motivation, especially in the elementary and middle grades.
Finland, on the other hand, does not conduct tests on primary school students. Although Finnish children lack assessment, their academic achievement is higher. Additionally, it is very common for students to lose motivation if they are continually tested too hard. Over time, this does not provide a feeling of accomplishment and lowers motivation to learn.
The Importance of Encouraging Self-Motivation in Students
In the short term, external motivation may offer a boost, but it won’t carry you very far. It is essential for teachers to ensure that students are prepared for adulthood, in which tangible rewards are infrequent.
Teachers often rely on external motivators to get kids motivated to learn for the sake of learning. Contests, prizes, or parties can all be part of these types of events.
Often, grades can also serve as a form of external motivation; students typically feel more content with an A than they do with the success represented by it. It’s not always bad to use external motivation; some of these factors may be more effective than others.
Nonetheless, it’s important to help students develop their intrinsic motivation.
The goal is to make school fun, to expose kids to new skills and to challenge them to learn new things. They should take pride in their accomplishments, not because they will receive an award, but because they feel pleased with their achievement.
Shortly put, students need intrinsic motivation. How, though?
Strategies to Encourage Self-Motivation in Students
1. Offer Incentives
In order to encourage students to participate, it is essential to set realistic expectations and goals, and make reasonable demands – but sometimes they need assistance in getting started.
Giving students small incentives motivates them to work harder and makes learning fun. You can offer small or large rewards depending on the school’s needs, from a class pizza party if the average test scores are higher to a special privilege given to an exemplary student.
Students are motivated to work hard and achieve their goals with the help of rewards.
2. Give Students Options for How They Want to Learn Something
It’s possible that you are not free to allow students to select their own learning topics. Even so, there are still a few choices they can make.
Learning objectives can be achieved in many ways: for example, you can give students choices about how to reach them. Teachers often offer their students choices that allow them to customize the learning activities to their preferences.
Knowing – and choosing – why they are studying can play a key role in students’ self-motivation.
3. Publicize Goals to Help Students to Stay Accountable
It is easier to give up a New Year’s resolution when it is kept a secret, as only you know that you ever made a resolution.
Your commitment to your goals is strengthened when you make them visible to others. In the presence of others who know what their goals are and will know whether or not they have been achieved, students are more likely to reflect on their goals.
4. Encourage Students
It is more likely that students will learn enthusiastically if they feel their work is valued and recognized by their teachers.
To make your students feel important, ensure you encourage them to communicate openly and think independently.
Gratitude is always appreciated by your students. Gratify their contributions. The more comfortable and respectful your classroom is, the more eager your students will be to learn. An “excellent job” or “nice work” can make all the difference.
5. Give Timely Feedback
Getting our students to build a strong foundation of knowledge that will not crumble the moment the “carrots and the sticks” are taken away can be a challenge when we rely too heavily on extrinsic motivators.
Educators still have a responsibility to prevent students from seeking immediate gratification. Our students will gradually come to understand the importance of learning for their own sake as long as we show them that we care about what they value and we work to serve their interests. Being the one to drive their education is far more fulfilling than having someone else drive them.
Motivated students are likely to continue learning throughout their lives. And encouraging students to motivate themselves is the best method for enabling this to happen.
Reading for pleasure, for instance, helps students throughout their academic and professional lives. Those students who don’t find chemistry exciting because they ace the tests, but rather because they learn how the scientific process works, will be better prepared for future success.
Teachers know that, while being honored with an award is wonderful, seeing former students return to thank them years later is what matters most. The majority of teachers aren’t driven by external rewards, so why should they expect their students to be?
If you’re looking for yet more motivational material – pick up 49 ingenious quick tips for study motivation to get the ball rolling. Or head to our article on the science of study motivation for 29 in-depth strategies to try out today!