Teachers should know their students, as well as what motivates them. They do not always recognize the triggering factors that lead or cause students to do what they do, much less when or how they do it. Motivation of various kinds can lead students in many different directions, some good, but others not so good.
Teachers who know how to motivate students in a positive, constructive and pro-active direction succeed as teachers. The article “Teaching Strategies: Motivating Students” suggests that
“Instructors who understand student motivation can greatly enhance the classroom experience and student performance.”
Motivation can appear to be as much of an illusion as a dream, or disappear completely from a student’s world, just as easily. Tapping into student motivation as a teacher, can work wonders for them, academically.
What is motivation?
The word motivation, according to dictionary.com is “the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way”, “the state or condition of being motivated” or “something that motivates”.
Some students always appear to be highly motivated, while others seem to lack any academic motivation. In terms of their education and future in general, teachers and parents should be concerned about them.
Teachers should know that motivation is the direct or indirect result of many different kinds of things in the lives of students. For example, Mary Lou is highly motivated and invariably achieves top marks, because she takes personal pride in her academic life. On the other hand, Josh appears lethargic and non-ambitious academically, but outshines all of the others when it comes to sports activities. Matthew does not write or spell very well, but he gets excited when he is involved with artwork. Petra, who appears to be a slow learner, blossoms every time there is a concert at school.
A teacher that understands motivation and how it can be instrumental in changing the lives of his or her students has a distinct advantage over other teachers. For example, Mary Lou continues to excel because her teacher knows she is proud of her accomplishments and continues to praise her for work well done. Josh’s marks improve when his teacher links his academic world to his sports activities, insisting that unless he studies harder, he will have to cut back on his participation in sports activities. Matthew’s spelling improves when his teacher ties his spelling to artwork, in terms of creating word pictures. Petra’s learning curve grows in leaps and bounds when her teacher encourages her to participate in school concerts.
Motivation differs from student to student and thus it is important for teachers to get to know their students and their interests, because that is one major factor in their motivation. Other factors may be books they have read or influential figures in their lives. Sometimes, those are their teachers or gifted artisans.
When a teacher understands the motivational factors n the lives of students and how to use them to help students, academic improvement is inevitable.