10 Powerful Techniques to Boost Student Motivation and Create Great Classroom Engagement

10 Powerful Techniques to Boost Student Motivation and Create Great Classroom Engagement

This is a guest post by Troian Robinson, a creative online writer, entrepreneur, coach, and journalist. He works with many interesting public sources and magazines specialized in discussing new technologies, blogging techniques, social media innovations and educational modern councils.

A Gallup poll shows that most students begin their school careers excited and engaged. Unfortunately, that changes as time goes by. By the time they reach high school, many describe themselves as being bored or tired. They simply aren’t engaged in the classroom. Because of this, they often don’t feel motivated. They simply tune out and put in the least effort possible.

So, what does it take to get kids truly engaged in the learning process? The answer lies in these 10 strategies.

1. Use Data to Gain Insights and Let That Drive Your Decision Making Process.

Start by collecting data on students as individuals and the class as a whole. This data can be collected from a variety of sources. These include:

  • Formative And Summative Assessments
  • Standardized Test Results
  • Individual And Group Assessments
  • Data From Cumulative Files

When teachers have this information they can use it to create the most effective classroom experiences for every student. This data can reveal information about potential learning problems, family difficulties, and other struggles.

Conversely, it can also help educators identify talents and interests. Lessons, projects, assignments, even seating arrangements can be customized according to that information.

2. Give Lessons a Real World Context.

Some students are happy to learn for the sake of learning. However, most are not. Further, those that only feel that way about subjects that are interesting to them. For the rest, the best approach is to try and frame lessons in a real-world context.

Yes, that does mean answering the ever-present question, ‘When will we ever use this in real life?’

Teachers can do this by providing concrete examples in their lessons using scenarios that students can relate to.

For example, learning to calculate the total square inches of a rectangle on a piece of paper is fairly meaningless. On the other hand, if students can imagine a scenario where they needed to calculate the square footage of their bedrooms in order to design a really cool space, that becomes much more relevant to them.

3. Let Students Choose How to Learn.

Whenever possible, especially when it comes to independent work, students should be given some choice in how they choose to work.

Students learning about aerodynamics, for instance, could be given the option to complete a homework assignment by choosing between building a model, listening to a podcast on the subject, writing a brief report, or interacting with an online simulator.

4. Engage in 20% Time.

This is also called personal education or genius hour and is used by companies like Google and in the classroom.  

Basically, participants are allowed to work on projects of their own creation for an hour each week. In the classroom, teachers can apply this principle by allowing students to spend time working on short duration projects of their choosing.

While many students will easily be able to find relevant topics to explore for their projects, others may need some assistance. Teachers can help by creating a list of varied subjects to be studied. However, it is important that students be allowed to choose how they will pursue their passion projects as well as how they will present them.

5. Build Relationships With Your Students.

Students will always feel more motivated and engaged when they believe their teacher cares about them and is invested in their lives.

Teachers can foster positive relationships by noticing when students are feeling up or down, remembering important details about students’ lives, and simply asking them how they are doing.

Teachers can also personalize relationships by sharing information about themselves. For example, they can share their hobbies and interests. The more students and teachers can relate to one another, the better the student is likely to perform.

6. Give Detailed Praise.

How to Become More Productive Based on Your Personality Type - let's reach success

In an interview with NPR, Psychology professor Carol Dweck discusses why students shouldn’t be told that they are smart or talented.

Generic praise like this contributes to a fixed mindset. Students believe that whatever talents they have can’t be changed, whether that’s good or bad. It also tends to mean that only the high performing students are going to receive praise.

After all, how often is a student told how smart he is after he earns a C-?

Instead, teachers should give praise based on effort and progress. Rather than telling a student their drawing is pretty, they might be congratulated on their use of bright colors and the amount of improvement they’ve shown since their first project. This kind of praise reminds students that their efforts matter, and that they can continue to grow.

7. Give Them Autonomy.

There is so much of a student’s day that is out of their control. It can be frustrating, and can seriously cut into their motivation. One way to counteract this is to give them autonomy whenever possible. In fact, autonomy is one of the most important factors in whether or not students find a learning experience satisfactory.

In order to encourage autonomy, teachers can have students participate in setting goals for themselves. Allow them to choose learning resources such as RewardedEssays. Give them reasonable control over their daily routine. Also, simply encourage them to take ownership of their own education.

8. Give Feedback During Lessons, Not Just After.

Anyone who’s ever been blindsided by a negative, annual performance reviews knows how devastating that is. Unfortunately, this is something students often experience as well.

Imagine writing an important report, confident that you understand the subject matter. Then, after all your hard work you receive a failing grade and a note about everything you’d done wrong.

It’s very important that teachers track how students are performing, and communicate with them throughout the learning process. Students shouldn’t be informed that they are falling behind only when they receive their grades.

9. Encourage Them to Use Their Devices.

While device usage in school should be managed properly, outright bans can seriously eliminate some great opportunities to create engagement in the classroom.

Yes, devices can be a distraction, or be used to cheat. On the other hand, devices can also scan QR codes in classrooms that have been equipped with augmented reality technology.

They can be used to do quick research for in-class projects, and to take notes. They can even be used to access educational apps. This includes assessments. Allowing device usage in the classroom can also be an extrinsic motivating factor.

Students today are used to constant connection, not just with one another, but the world around them. They know that they are better able to access information on their devices. They are more comfortable using their devices as well. Not allowing them to use them can seem unfairly punitive.

10. Be Empathetic to Boredom.

When children express boredom, especially in the school setting, they are frequently treated as if they are exhibiting some sort of character flaw. In other cases, the attitude is that it simply doesn’t matter if students are bored. They simply must learn what they must learn.

The problem is that a large number of dropouts cite boredom as their primary reason for leaving school.

In addition to using the strategies above, teachers can simply show empathy for students who are bored. This along with the assurance that lesson or even class itself will eventually pass can stave the flight instinct that boredom often creates.

Conclusion

Whether or not students are motivated and engaged is an extremely important factor in whether or not they will succeed in school. In fact, for some students, it determines whether or not they will complete or continue their education.

The ten strategies outlined here are ideal for ensuring all students remain engaged in and excited about the learning process.

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8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

Why are there so few female CEOs? It’s a commonly discussed topic in the Australian business landscape, and often highlighted as an issue in society.

This has been made evident in the inaugural Robert Half CEO Tracker, commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half to identify common traits amongst the leaders of the ASX 200-listed companies. The research found the top position in the workplace is still male-dominated, as the majority of ASX 200 CEOs are men (94%). Only 12 ASX 200 CEOs are women.

It’s an unfortunate fact of the current C-suite employment market, with women underrepresented in top positions – a fact that applies to not only ASX 200-listed companies.

Despite this, it’s well known that diversified boardrooms with women represented across leadership positions bring enormous value to organisations and the wider business community. This is not just because of their wealth of experience and knowledge. But also because of their diverse perspective applied to business strategy that’s required for any organisation to succeed.

Whilst looking at the low percentage of female CEOs, within our Executive Search branch, we’re seeing a strong push for diversity from companies looking to hire at the C-suite level. Organisations are actively specifying diversity in their recruitment agendas, and not only just based on gender, but on an all-inclusive approach.

While there still is a long way to go for women to be represented equally at the boardroom table, it’s encouraging to acknowledge just how far Australian women have come and actively promote steps they can take to further their careers in the business world. More can always be done to empower women within the workplace. And understanding the common professional characteristics of top Australian CEOs is a great place to start their C-suite journey.

For women looking to hone their personal attributes, CEOs need to be clear communicators who are capable of both giving direction and accepting expert opinion. And as with all leadership positions, exceptional people skills are essential. By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts.

How Women Can Grow Their Career

energy focus and productivity tips for anyone working from home all day

1. Know what you really want.

Think about what you want to achieve in your career – and why. Ask yourself some important questions:

  • As a senior executive would you be willing to work long hours and take up extra responsibilities?
  • Do you like to solve complex problems?
  • Are you comfortable as a leader?
  • And, crucially, how do your family feel about you pursuing a career as a business leader?

2. Develop a career plan.

Determine what you want to achieve, and work out a detailed career plan. This will be a blueprint that maps out your journey to the top of your organisation, allowing you to focus on your ultimate career goals.

3. Work continuously on your leadership skills.

Developing leadership skills is an ongoing process and an essential element for women pursuing a management position. By developing your technical, managerial and social skills, you are more likely to climb the corporate ladder – and be better prepared for the challenges you face along the way.

4. Communicate (more) directly.

Well-developed communication skills are essential for all managers. Yet men and women often have different communication styles.

Women usually take on a more modest tone, and often tend to communicate in an assuming way (“wouldn’t it be better”, “could we perhaps”, etc.). However, for a male audience – who usually communicate in a more direct way – this style of communication can suggest you lack confidence or are unsure about the matter at hand.

5. Take risks.

Women are usually less inclined to take risks than men. Yet this is part of being a leader. If you can prove you are willing to take calculated, carefully considered risks, you’re more likely to assume a managerial position.

6. Offer to take on certain tasks, even those nobody else wants.

A willingness to take on additional projects or raise your hand for tasks that others are sidestepping, can showcase your skills beyond your normal job duties. This is a great way to demonstrate you’re a team player, who is willing to go the extra mile for the company.

7. Do not be afraid to stand out.

All great leaders stand out from the crowd. As a manager, it’s likely you will have to make tough, and at times, unpopular decisions, so be prepared to set yourself apart from others in good times – and in bad.

8. Build your network.

People like to work with people they know. So do not underestimate the possibilities offered by traditional and online networking. Building your network can be important to getting ahead.

About The Author

Robert Half Executive Search specialises in the search for and placement of executive leadership talent across a broad spectrum of function areas and industry sectors.

By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts. Here are 8 tips to help women grow their career