How do we motivate our learners?

By | 2017-09-23T03:12:10+00:00 October 20th, 2016|For teachers|0 Comments

Six tips to become an irresistible teacher

Copy, drill, repeat. Copy, drill, repeat. Do this all day. Today, tomorrow and everyday. This year and the next — until you finish your basic education or beyond (if you don’t die of boredom before).

Teachers and parents often question themselves on why so many kids don’t like school. Volumes of books have been written on: how to get students to complete assignments, put in the time and effort for their education, go the extra mile to achieve academic success. We have agonized over the value of intrinsic motivation, the dangers of bribes and prizes, the overwhelming difficulty of engaging learners.

Isn’t it obvious?

The best, and maybe even the only way to motivate students is to present them with enjoyable experiences. School should be fun, because nature intended for learning to be a joyful process. Oh yes, there is pain in the gain (and we all will go through that sooner or later) but nobody looks forward to those moments. It’s not that it has to hurt for you to learn, it is that we also learn when we hurt. We can take good out of the bad. But this doesn’t mean that it always has to be bad in order to have some good!

So, how do we create a school environment that is so irresistible that kids won’t long for Friday? Here are 6 tips.

1. Show your passion.

A dull teacher will most likely present a dull lesson. If you want your students to enjoy your class, you should be the first to find it enjoyable. Be a source of energy; allow your enthusiasm to rub off onto your kids. Everyone has a bad day here and there, but if pessimism is your usual outlook, if you often find yourself dreading the sole thought of going to school, do yourself (and your students) a favor and find your true passion, in education or elsewhere.

2. Reinvent yourself –and your subject.

There are teachers that use the same materials, same notes, same projects, even the same tests, year after year after year. They could teach their lessons in their sleep. And many times they do!

Wake up. Ask yourself how can you teach this lesson in the most crazy, bizarre and unexpected way? Don’t be afraid to incorporate humor –the greatest public speakers are half-comedians. Content is important, delivery is crucial.

This creation comes from  SadieM, a 9 year old Creatubbles creator in Canada. The untitled creation is shared on the A28 - Right to Education gallery found on Pembina Trails' page on Creatubbles. This is one of many of the school's galleries that showcase their students' pro-human rights creations.

This creation comes from SadieM, a 9 year old Creatubbles creator in Canada. The untitled creation is shared on the A28 – Right to Education gallery found on Pembina Trails’ page on Creatubbles. This is one of many of the school’s galleries that showcase their students’ pro-human rights creations.

3. Offer a balanced curriculum.

Reading and math are important, but so are the arts and getting physical. Research even shows that children who enjoy strong art programs and frequent opportunities to move and be active during the day are happier (and achieve better academic outcomes as well)

4. Technology can help.

Creative teaching is a lot of work, but you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Allow other great teachers to mentor your class. Join teacher communities like Creatubbles, Microsoft Education and Skype Master Teachers. The web is full of free (or very affordable) resources that you can use to make your lesson engaging and unique. Technology and play merge in gamification. Even social media can be used to your credit. Don’t worry, technology will not take your place – but it will make you a better teacher.

5. Step off the podium sometimes.

And allow your students to step up. Those who teach are the ones who learn the most. Share your teaching role and let your kids take full control of the lesson. They will make mistakes, for sure, just as you and I do. And they will learn from them. Another perk of handing them over your tenure is that they will understand you better and value you more as an educator.

6. Caring works wonders.

Your students will like you more and enjoy their time with you. Because of that, they will be more likely to enjoy subject you teach. On the other hand, if your students dislike you, there is a higher chance that they will eventually shy from your subject as well. The greatest, easiest subject can become a source of anxiety if the teacher presenting it is critical and uncaring. The most difficult and dry subject can loose its frightening façade if an enthusiastic teacher builds up a student’s confidence with warmth and respect.

Everyone deserves to love what they do – including students in schools. If they do, the motivation to strive and achieve will come naturally – and that is our ultimate goal.

This creation entitled, "kid's education" was made by 9 year old Creatubbles creator lucyl  in Canada. The creation is also shared in the A28 - Right to Education gallery, found on Pembina Trails' page on Creatubbles.

This creation entitled, “kid’s education” was made by 9 year old Creatubbles creator lucyl in Canada. The creation is also shared in the A28 – Right to Education gallery, found on Pembina Trails’ page on Creatubbles.

Note from the Creatubbles team: Taking the first step to nurture your students’ instrinsic motivations may be a difficult task. Creatubbles can help. Teachers can begin by supplementing their core lessons by integrating art activities, like Pembina Trail’s many human rights galleries. Students also have the ability to take the lead on their own learning by connecting and collaborating with students in their schools and all over the world, sharing their own insights and gathering knowledge from the rest of the Creatubbles community. The platform allows students to pursue their sense of awe and wonder, explore creativity in both artistic and seemingly uncreative subjects, and learn on their own terms. It is a surefire way for teachers to reinvent their lesson plans and capture their students attention.

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Creatubbles ™ è la comunità sicura e globale per i creatori di tutte le età. E' lo spazio ideale, adatto a bambini, famiglie e insegnanti, per salvare, condividere, scoprire e interagire con portfolio creativi e multimediali.

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Elisa Guerra is a Teacher from Mexico. She received the ALAS-IDB Award 2015 as Best Educator in Latin America, and was a Top 50 finalist for the Global Teacher Prize in 2015 and 2016. She founded a school, “Colegio Valle de Filadelfia”, which model has been franchised: there are now seven schools operating in México, and two more internationally: Costa Rica and Brazil. She has authored a dozen textbooks published by Pearson Education. Elisa is also an online course instructor, with almost 2000 students from 53 countries. She has presented live lectures and workshops for teachers both in English and Spanish all over Latin America, and also in Europe and Middle East.