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Motivating Your Students to Learn

Motivating Your Students to Learn

Do you have students who have a talent for finding diversions rather than completing their assignments? When you ask them to focus on their work, do they often throw a fit and refuse to comply? Some might even just sit in front of a computer and do nothing.

For over twenty-five years, we at Love and Logic have asked teachers to describe the top challenges they face with students. Year after year, they place one at the top of the list—capable kids who just won't try.

In this new school year, motivating your students might be more of a challenge than in past years. Inspiring these students to learn rests on the following:

Students must feel emotionally connected to their teacher. All effective work with people rests upon the development of positive relationships.

When a student experiences a positive human connection with the teacher, he or she is more likely to the take healthy risks required to learn. "Taking a risk" means that the student tries to do something that they:

(a) don't want to do,
(b) don't think they can do, or
(c) are afraid they won't do perfectly.

There is no shortcut for building motivation and healthy self-concept—there will always be some element of struggle. Again, the student must feel so connected with the teacher that they are willing to keep trying, even when they want to give up.

The student must see first-hand how good it feels to overcome a challenge. In the initial stages, the student must have this experience at least 95% of the time that they work hard and persevere. The challenges must not be so difficult that they cannot overcome them with a reasonable effort, otherwise the student will become discouraged and lose motivation.

The student must attribute their success experience to factors that are within their control and that are associated with their sustained effort. This is critical for building their self-concept as a successful learner.

Love and Logic dives into the concrete, practical strategies for each step of this process. For more, check out Teaching with Love and Logic.


Thanks for reading!

Dr. Charles Fay