TEACHER CORNER | Motivating students

By Ramon R. Garcia, Jr.

How do you keep students interested in the classroom? How do you combat distractions such as gadgets and electronic devices, preoccupations such as requirements in other subjects, and problems that keep students from focusing, such as hunger or family problems?

These are some of the most difficult questions a teacher must answer.

While I may not have all the solutions to these concerns, I have a few tips in keeping students motivated.

1. Involve students. Make sure students feel they are part of the responsibilities and decision-making processes inside the classroom. Give them the opportunity to set some of the rules, so that they know what they are and are thus more likely to abide by them. Further, give them tasks to accomplish such as tidying up the classroom, decorating, and maintaining order during discussions and group activities. This way, they feel they are not only onlookers or bystanders in what goes on inside the classroom, but are personally involved and accountable to what occurs.

2. Keep lessons relevant. DepEd, with the K to 12 curriculum, encourages using local and relatable examples to keep lessons not only interesting but also relevant. To do this, make sure you are abreast with what is happening in the news, with what the latest trends among students are, and with what is taking place in the local community. You can draw examples from these sources to ensure that students do not feel alienated or far removed from the subject matter at hand.

3. Encourage students. Positive reinforcement, such as simply saying “Good job!” or “Very nice!” goes a long way in keeping students motivated to perform well. This makes them feel their efforts are recognized and valued. Be sure to be enthusiastic in giving these praises, so that they feel authentic and not mere lip service.

4. Offer incentives. Students often appreciate an extra push than just a mere “Well done.” Incentives such as additional points for extra schoolwork, or a simple prize for the most excellent assignment, will give them a sense of accomplishment and inspire them to work even harder.

There are no hard and fast rules in inspiring students, as there are different kinds of students with varied interests and needs. However, these tips may help them participate more actively, retain information more effectively, and overall contribute to their feeling of well-being. Consider these the next time your students appear to be distracted or unmotivated, and you might just find the key to inspiring them to be better learners.