Thursday, June 26, 2008 by Jethro Jones
Motivating your students can be the most challenging aspect of your job. The factors why a student isn’t particularly responsive on a given day are vast. You’re not going to have the magic potion to make all your students alert and attentive all the time. This is a fact you’re going to have to live with. However, there are a ton of ways you can try to turn the tide in your classroom. Not all of these will work for you as there is an ebb and flow to your classroom. Here are six tips to consider the next time you feel your class isn’t putting forth an acceptable level of effort:
1. Make sure your classroom is comfortable. Sometimes the problem can be as simple as having an uncomfortable environment. Make sure the room temperature is at a level that is comfortable for you and your students. Check the lighting and air circulation. These are details that can often be overlooked but can be the key to maintaining a steady level of attentiveness.
2. Pay attention to strengths and weaknesses. Reward students for excellence and work on bringing up their weaknesses. When the student sees that rewards are out there for solid work, they’ll usually take the onus on themselves to strive to strengthen areas that are weak.
3. Relevance goes a long way. Come up with ways to make your material that you need to cover relevant to your students’ ages. There are ways you can make the driest material interesting to your students. This is a key you have to strive for when you’re trudging through the mundane.
4. Keep moving. When you’re lecturing, move around the room and stay energetic. Even if the material you’re covering isn’t the most exciting stuff your students will pick up on your energy and be more receptive to the material.
5. Show, don’t tell. Straight lecturing will bore your students to no end. They need you to give examples when you’re presenting material. Keep the phrase, show don’t tell, in mind when you’re in front of your class.
6. Let your sense of humor shine through. Students will connect with you if you can use your sense of humor as a teaching tool. Exhibiting a sense of humor will forge a greater connection between you and your pupils. Don’t be too silly as this can lead to a loss of control of your classroom, but using some wit will make your material not so dry.