10 Powerful Techniques to Boost Student Motivation and Create Great Classroom Engagement 94

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.

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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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The Importance of Exercise to Your Professional Success 4

The Importance of Exercise to Your Professional Success

In today’s world, most jobs are demanding both physically and mentally. Competition is not always based on the best resume, education, or experience. Having the upper hand in your profession is most likely linked to your ability to think quickly, act appropriately, and carry out difficult duties with the utmost quality.

You need to be able to bring something new, different, and maybe even better to the table. So, how can you get the edge? How can you maximize your professional potential and output?

Believe it or not, the answer to that question might be found outside the workplace. It may be what you do when you are not at work that makes the difference in your work. What is it? EXERCISE, that’s what!

Replace Some Screen Time or Other Time Wasters.

Everyone needs to take a break from the workday. Television, gaming, social media, and video-viewing are what we often go to for this.

Try replacing some of your downtime with exercise, or trying exercising while you are in front of the screen. Exercising instead of sitting will not only help relieve some stress from your day but also help release some built up tension so you can actually rest better at night, helping you be better prepared for the next work day.

Exercising a few hours before bedtime elevates your body temperature. When your body temperature returns to normal, your brain and body are ready to sleep.

Exercise Sharpens Your Thinking.

It is a fact that as we age, our cognitive abilities decline.

While researchers may not have found the cure for dementia-related disorders, they do know that exercise helps delay onset or slow down its progression. Exercising during the years of 25 – 45 can boost the brain chemicals that prevent shrinking of the brain. It has also been shown to create new brain cells and increase proteins found in the brain that help keep thinking skills sharp.

Exercise Reduces Sick Time.

Exercise improves general health functioning and helps build your immunity to illnesses.

It has also been shown to increase our ability to think and work under stress, rather than giving in to the stress and being more susceptible to illness.

This keeps you reporting to work on a regular basis, and taking less sick days. The more you are at work, the more productive you are, and the more your employer values you.

Working Out Increases Your Stamina.

Long work days can leave you drained and listless. If you know you are facing long meetings, strenuous work sessions, or overtime for increased production demands, you can prepare to meet these challenges head-on.

As you exercise, over time your stamina will be able to withstand longer and more strenuous workouts. It also translates into helping you stay sharp during those long, arduous workdays.

Yes, How You Look Does Count.

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While it may never be mentioned, your appearance is noticed by employers, co-workers, interviewers, etc. You do not necessarily need to look like a buff bodybuilder, but having a svelte, strong appearance is a benefit.

Other’s first perception of you is of great importance. Think about interviewing prospective employees. Honestly consider the impact of their first impression on their employment outlook. Healthy looking is definitely a check in the “yes” column.

Energy levels are also higher when you are exercising regularly, and your energy is part of how you are perceived overall. When you start to feel better about yourself, you begin to present a more positive image to your coworkers.

It Boosts Your Confidence.

When you have conquered a goal in your exercise plan, like being able to run an entire mile instead of having to stop and walk some, you know you have accomplished something. You are on your way to bigger and better goals.

There may have been times along the way that you felt like that milestone would never come, but here it is. You feel proud and motivated to keep working toward your next goal. You see the fruits of your labor. You are energized and begin to feel better about yourself overall.

You begin to feel a sense of accomplishment that does not leave when you exit the gym doors. You carry that as a boost in your confidence as you go into work.

Bring the Habits of Exercise to Work.

What else do you learn through exercise? Goal setting, resilience, perseverance, learning new things, taking chances, organizing and managing your time, just to name a few. These are great skills to boost your performance at work, too.

You begin to realize that you can take what you have learned through setting up and sticking with an exercise plan to the workplace. You can use all these skills in your career. As you do, you will become more confident and thus, more effective in your daily tasks.

All of these are learned by starting, committing to, and following through with a fitness plan, and can become more of a life plan.

If you are looking for a job, being physically fit might not get you the job, but it will definitely help your chances. Your first impression is incredibly important, so do not brush off exercise and fitness lightly.

Exercise has so many benefits like sharpening thinking, building stamina, increasing energy, reducing negative effects of stress, building immunity, and boosting self-confidence. This can really help you in your professional success.

The benefits extend beyond your exercise time.

They stay with you day in and day out. If you are not currently exercising regularly, just start today, doing something small. Some sit-ups in front of the television, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cleaning up your diet, or increasing your walking pace as you move around the office are good ways to get started. You will feel the benefits, even with these small steps.