unmotivated student. These strategies have been around for some time,
but they are still worth a try. Perhaps these suggestion can help your
students too. Here are some highlights from Harris:
1. Explain. Some recent research shows that many students do poorly on
assignments or in participation because they do not understand what to
do or why they should do it.
2. Reward. Students who do not yet have powerful intrinsic motivation
to learn can be helped by extrinsic motivators in the form of rewards.
3. Care. Students respond with interest and motivation to teachers who
appear to be human and caring.
4. Have students participate. One of the major keys to motivation is
the active involvement of students in their own learning. Standing in
front of them and lecturing to them (at them?) is thus a relatively
poor method of teaching. It is better to get students involved in
activities, group problem solving exercises, helping to decide what to
do and the best way to do it, helping the teacher, working with each
other, or in some other way getting physically involved in the lesson.
A lesson about nature, for example, would be more effective walking
outdoors than looking at pictures.
5. Teach Inductively. It has been said that presenting conclusions
first and then providing examples robs students of the joy of
6. Satisfy students’ needs. Attending to need satisfaction is a
primary method of keeping students interested and happy.
7. Make learning visual. Even before young people were reared in a
video environment, it was recognized that memory is often connected to
8. Use positive emotions to enhance learning and motivation. Strong
and lasting memory is connected with the emotional state and
experience of the learner.
9. Remember that energy sells.
My teenage daughter was telling me that her English teacher has
students bring in a song on Fridays along with a writing prompt for
the class and the students play and song and explain how the writing
prompt relates to the song. I thought that was a good idea!
Having students summarize the events of a story through drawing is an
excellent idea. This method is also excellent for second language
learners who may be more comfortable listening or with receptive
language, in comparison to speaking themselves. For many students
learning a second language who are quiet at the beginning of the
acquisition, many of them opt to express themselves through gestures.
By using pictures, it is an excellent way to assess the student’s
understanding of the material, and also providing them with an
opportunity to express themselves artisticly as well.
I also like to use portfolios. I have the students put work that they
feel are a good representation of good work in their portfolio. We
then have conferences to discuss why they put these works in their
folder. I later use these portfolios during conferences with parents.