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6 Tips to Boost Student Motivation


Many factors can influence student motivation; whether it is distractions or tiredness, comprehension or procrastination, all students struggle with finding motivation at one time or another.

Two main types of student motivation can play a role in learning and education: intrinsic motivation and external motivation.

Two Types of Student Motivation:

Intrinsic motivation is an internal drive to learn more. When students are curious and engaged in learning without being told, they draw on their inner motivation.

Extrinsic motivation is doing something to earn a reward or to avoid punishment. Students choose to act in a certain way not because it satisfies them but because they will get something in return or avoid an adverse outcome, such as not acting up class to avoid detention.

While intrinsic motivation is the ideal type of motivation for students to have, most students will need extrinsic motivation to encourage them along the way.

Check out these six external motivation tips for students for in-school or online.

3 Tips to Boost Student Motivation in School:

  1. Encourage Ownership of Learning. Ultimately, your child’s education is their responsibility—but parents can help children learn to value education. Parents can help children in understanding the relationship between effort and achievement: that children get out of their learning what they put in. 

    Students learn ownership and responsibility for their learning by making small decisions every day, whether it’s what book to bring for show and tell to where they complete homework at night. Letting children lead and allowing them to have more control is empowering.

  2. Talk About the Value of Education. Children learn to value school and education when they understand that school and education are valuable. When parents prioritize the importance of education, students inevitably hold this value themselves. Talking about school every day is a way to reinforce this value. Ask questions about learning and school, such as what subject at school is the most interesting right now? Make time for learning outside of school by studying your city’s history or the natural world around you.
  3. Reward  Milestone Achievements. Praise is one of the most effective forms of reward—children love receiving recognition for their efforts (who doesn’t?!). Rewards can promote good behavior, boost interest in a topic, and increase participation in learning. Rewards don’t always have to be gifts or cash: your attention and time are valuable commodities to your child. Recognition in the form of praise shows your child that you are paying attention to their learning progress, which can be motivating.

Three Tips to Boost Online Learning Motivation:

  1. Follow Routines. Student schedules have all changed in some way this year. Whether learning in-class or learning online at home, create structure by scheduling time every day for homework and projects. Following routines helps eliminate anxiety and builds time management skills, which plays a large role in helping students stay motivated and on-task when learning online.
  2. Encourage Participation. Online learning can make it easier for students to disengage from the learning process. Because students are at home, learning can feel more casual, impacting motivation to pay attention or participate in discussions. Encourage students to treat online learning the same way they would in-class learning: dedicate an area of the house to homework and learning, sit upright at a table or desk with both feet on the floor, take notes with a pen and paper, and minimize distractions as much as possible.
  3. Monitor Screen Time. Thanks to the pandemic, screens have become part of how children relax, socialize, and learn. To prevent screen time burnout, pay attention to how long children are on their screens and how they use technology. Children need a variety of online and offline experiences and balance in their day. A healthy balance of online and offline can help keep kids engaged and motivated when learning online.

Finding motivation can be challenging for students. Encouragement along the way can go a long way to keep students find the motivation to stay on track with schoolwork.

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