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Motivating Students

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Some students seem naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many need-or expect-their instructors to inspire, challenge, and stimulate them: "Effective learning in the classroom depends on the teacher's ability to maintain the interest in the first place". Whatever level of motivation the students bring to the classroom will be transformed, for better or worse, by what happens in that classroom. Unfortunately, there is no single magical formula for motivating students. Many factors affect a given student's motivation to work and to learn: interest in the subject matter, perception of its usefulness, general desire to achieve, self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as patience and persistence. And, of course, the same value, needs, desires, or wants motivate not all students. Some students will be motivated by the approval of others, some by overcoming challenges. Researchers have begun to identify those aspects of the teaching situation that enhance students' self-motivation To encourage students to become self-motivated independent learners, instructors can do the following:

* Give frequent, early, positive feedback that supports students' beliefs that they can do well.

* Ensure opportunities for students' success by assigning tasks that are neither too easy nor too difficult.

* Create an atmosphere that is open and positive.

* Help students feel that they are valued members of a learning community.

Research has also shown that most students respond positively to a well-organized course taught by an enthusiastic instructor who has a genuine interest in students and what they learn.

Thus activities you undertake to promote learning will also enhance students' motivation

Make students active participants in learning. Students learn by doing, making, writing, designing, creating, and solving. Passivity dampens students' motivation and curiosity. Pose questions. Don't tell students something when you can ask them. Encourage students to suggest approaches to a problem or to guess the results of an experiment. Use small group work.

Hold high but realistic expectations for your students. Research has shown that a teacher's expectations have a powerful effect on a student's performance. If you act as though you expect your students to be motivated, hardworking, and interested in the course, they are more likely to be so. Set realistic expectations for students when you make assignments, give explanations, conduct discussions, and conduct examinations. "Realistic" in this context means that your standards are high enough to motivate students to do their best work but not so high that students will inevitably be frustrated in trying to meet those expectations. To develop the drive to achieve, students need to believe that achievement is possible -which means that you need to provide early opportunities for success.

Help students set achievable goals for themselves. Failure to attain



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