Three Ways [Almost] Guaranteed to Help Motivate Even The Most Unmotivated Student Pt 2

Published
6 June 2012
by
Mike

What name immediately comes to mind when you hear the phrase unmotivated student?

I’m sure we can all think of at least one!  The reason for [almost] appearing in the title is that despite all the research and advances in teaching theory and practice; despite the advances in our understanding of how the brain learns, and regardless of how motivated and passionate you are in the classroom the unmotivated student is here to stay.

There will always be students who despite our best efforts will refuse to engage.  It would be nice if there was a magic formula or we could program the students so they would respond according to our wishes but that’s not the reality of teaching.

rp_robot-students.jpg

That being said, there are some things that you can do to create a culture or an atmosphere that encourages the unmotivated student to engage in their learning.

In the previous post we looked at the first way [almost] guaranteed to help motivate unmotivated students which was to interrupt the cycle of failure.

Today we will look at the remaining two (obviously this is not meant to be an exhaustive list):

2.  Increase the autonomy of your unmotivated student

Another word for autonomy is choice.  Autonomy is the most important principle of intrinsic motivation.  The more choice someone has the more engaged they will be.  I can remember doing some research on the power of autonomy in student engagement and at the same time had the opportunity to attend the Google Teacher Academy (There is one coming up in New York on the 4th & 5th of October) to become a Google certified teacher.  It was there that I learnt about Google’s philosophy of giving their workers more autonomy over their tasks.  They called it 20%time.  It has been interesting to hear the term start to catch on in the education world.

Obviously we can’t give our students too much choice but you can start to look for ways to increase their choice.  Some of the ways I do this are:

  • Let the students choose between two assessment tasks
  • Let the students decide where to sit
  • Let the students decide where to go for an excursion
  • Let the students decide their mode of learning for the day

You will be surprised at just how far a little autonomy will go for an unmotivated student.

3.  Show the unmotivated student a value

We have got to understand that we say what we believe but we do what we value (that should go on your wall somewhere).  The unmotivated student can often be won over when they see the value of what they are doing.

NOTE:

  • I am not just talking about the value of learning (although this is important)
  • I am not just talking about linking this lesson to real life (although students need a context)

It could be something as simple as “If you want to go to lunch on time, you need to finish your work”.  They may not value the learning or the real life context, but if they value their lunch their motivation will suddenly increase.

At some point you need to move your students past this point to valuing their learning for what it is, but you need to meet some students where they are and incrementally cause them to grow in their intrinsic motivation and engagement.

I have found that when you:

  1. Interrupt the cycle of failure
  2. Increase the autonomy of you students
  3. Show your students a value

Even the most unmotivated student will [almost always] improve.

What are your thoughts?

Recent Posts

How to organise your folders in Microsoft Outlook for Mac

How to organise your folders in Microsoft Outlook for Mac

If you’ve been using the same email account in Outlook for Mac for a while, you’ve probably ended up with a long list of folders that can be cumbersome and time consuming to navigate. In this blog post, I’ll share three tips you can use to better organise your folders for greater efficiency.

VIEW POST

Dealing with Data

With there being so much information on the internet, how do our students deal with all this data?

In this video we will show you how to easily find trends and correlations. We will look at a tool called Google trends.

VIEW POST

UTB eNews AU: Sep 2021

This month we continue to share our top tips, tricks, tools and resources that are bound to engage students and make you more efficient and creative in and out of the classroom. Content Overview 1 Tech Tools for Teachers: Bookmaking system, elink2 Trainer Tip: Apple Keynote3 Learn on Demand: Free

VIEW POST

UTB eNews NZ: Sep 2021

This month we continue to share our top tips, tricks, tools and resources that are bound to engage students and make you more efficient and creative in and out of the classroom. Content Overview   1 Tech Tools for Teachers: Bookmaking system, elink2 Trainer Tip: Apple Keynote3 Learn on Demand:

VIEW POST

UTB eNews AU: Aug 2021

Reflecting, evolving and innovating to create an even better experience for our teachers and their students is at the heart of why we exist. When we first created our newsletter back in 2018 it was jam-packed with useful tips, tricks and articles. Then along came Covid. Realising how much we

VIEW POST

Here’s What
Our Clients Say

PR Industrya

Client

In 2018, Using Technology Better designed and delivered a two phase post-migration training program for this New Zealand based graphic design firm. The initial goal of the training program was to reduce frustration with G Suite, with the long term aim of facilitating a change in culture and collaboration that can lead to transformative practices

Download your skills checklist to see how you score...

 

Sign Up Now
To Get The Latest Updates

 

Get the Latest Blog Posts, New Tips And Tricks

 

NSW DoE Leadership Webinars

 

Holiday Rescue Maker Camp

Student to agree to and tick:
Guardian to agree to and tick: