How to Motivate the Unmotivated Student

Motivating students certainly isn’t an easy task, especially as there may be a number of different reasons for them feeling demotivated. Whether they have low levels of self-esteem, a disinterest in the subject, lack of support or too much pressure put upon them, students also have to think about attending multiple lessons per day, completing homework on time, as well as trying to maintain friendships and grow up. Combined, it can be extremely overwhelming, which can leave many students feeling demotivated, especially if they don’t have the right encouragement. Here’s some ways to motivate the unmotivated student and help them achieve the academic success they deserve.

What Causes Lack Of Motivation?

There are so many reasons why a student may become demotivated but here are a few of the most common.

Low Self-Esteem. Students who have a poor self-image often avoid activities that they consider beyond their capabilities. For them, it is better to not try at all or to procrastinate rather than risk trying, failing, and feeling even worse about themselves.

Lack of Support. If learning is not encouraged or students don’t receive the right support and encouragement from family, friends and teachers, they start to believe that education is of little value and believe they lack the competency and ability to learn.

Too Much Pressure. Many unmotivated students respond negatively to pressure. Whether the tension is perceived or real, they rely on procrastination, laziness or avoidance to protect them from the discomfort pressure generates.

How To Motivate Students

Positive Encouragement

Students look to teachers and parents for approval and positive encouragement, and are more likely to be enthusiastic about learning if they feel their work is recognised and valued. Praising students often and recognising their contributions will go a long way in regards to motivating them to work hard, be eager to learn and achieve their goals.

Build on Strengths

Find an area where your student excels and focus on it. Constant failure can be very demotivating, and when the focus is purely on areas of weakness, students often start feeling low levels of self-esteem and motivation. If students can find success, it can make them feel as though they can accomplish anything and bring out their positive attitude, which helps them believe in their own abilities.

Allow Students to Make Their Own Choices

Motivation will be much easier to build if you give your students choices within the classroom. In fact, when students are given the opportunity to participate in their own learning they see classroom activities as more important, which increases their motivation for putting in effort and being eager to learn. For example, if you need students to write a short English essay on a poem, instead of giving them just one poem to choose from, give them a choice of five or six that are appropriate and let them decide which one they want to write their essay on. This way, even though they’re still completing the work, they have the freedom to make their own decision based on their preferences, which should spark some motivation for the assignment.

Connect Learning to Real Life

“When will I ever need this?” is heard all too often in the classroom, which not only shows that students are not engaged but are also not motivated to learn. Making connections between classroom activities and real-life situations will help students to realise that what they’re studying now will help them meet their goals in the future. For example, if one of your students wants to be an engineer, knowing they need to have a solid understanding of algebra can help to boost their motivation levels. Do this by taking time to show them how a subject is used every day by ‘real’ people. Even though they may never have been excited about algebra before, once students see how it may apply to them in their future, it can help build up their motivation to learn.

Introduce Role Models

A great way to get students more motivated is to introduce role models who will help inspire them to work harder and achieve their goals. It could be as simple as showing them an inspirational documentary that specifically relates to their own dreams, or holding Q & A sessions with young people or parents who have interesting careers. You could even be a role model yourself!

Offer Incentives

Offering small incentives makes learning fun and motivates students to push themselves. Incentives can range from recognition points adding up to a bigger prize or something as simple as a special break privilege to those who work the hardest. Rewards give students a sense of accomplishment and encourage them to work with a goal in mind.