Monday, February 7, 2011

How Well Do You Motivate Your Students?

Here is a quick quiz to test your knowledge of motivational strategies. Since we all need to be sure to include motivational activities into every lesson, it is imperative that we do this as effectively as possible.

Test your knowledge! The answers to this True or False quiz are given at the bottom. And, as always, feel free to leave a comment or suggestion.

1. It’s never too late to attempt to motivate even the most reluctant learners.

2. Students should have plenty of options, even on tests.

3. Grades serve as an important motivational tool for most students.

4. Using a classroom economy of tokens has proved to be a successful motivational tool for many educators.

5. Assignments that involve competition are more effective motivators for male students than assignments that require cooperation or collaboration.

6. It is better to say, “How can I help you?” instead of “You should…” when attempting to motivate students.

7. Using class time to read or do homework is an effective way to motivate students.

8. When students ask for answers to problems or questions during independent practice work, it is okay to give them the correct response.

9. Dealing with student anxiety about how to correctly complete their assignments is one of the most important considerations when attempting to successfully motivate students.

10. Negative comments can often influence motivation in a positive way.

11. Showing models of work done well by their peers can be a powerful motivator for many students.

12. Instructional expectations should become more difficult as the year progresses.

13. Rewarding their effort builds student self-esteem.

14. Calling or emailing a student’s home with positive comments is a good way to get students to do their work.

15. Students tend to perform better with a predictable routine.

16. Many students like to learn just for the pleasure of learning.

17. If their teacher is bored with a subject, then students are likely to be bored also.

18. Extrinsic rewards work well for almost every student.

19. Using food treats as rewards is now regarded with disfavor in many school districts.

20. Younger children are easier to motivate to succeed in school than older ones.

21. A positive relationship with their peers can be a powerful motivational force for many students regardless of their age.

22. It is possible to create a negative environment by praising students too highly.

23. A risk-free classroom is almost impossible to achieve in high school and the middle grades.

24. Girls are easier to motivate than boys.

25. The best way to motivate and challenge students is through a careful combination of a variety of motivational tools.

These statements are all TRUE.

1 It really is never too late to try to make a difference in the life of a student entrusted to your care. If you don’t make the effort, who will?

4 Using tokens in the classroom has proved very successful for some teachers. The best practice would be to use a token economy as a stepping stone into more intrinsic motivation techniques.

6 The difference in tone is the key. One is friendly and helpful. The other is judgmental.

7 While some students enjoy time in class reading or catching up on homework, that time could be better used in more focused instructional activities.

9 Often students will do their work and then not turn it in. Still others will agonize over each problem in an assignment. Make sure students know how to do their work and about how long each activity should take to help reduce anxiety.

11 Models, demonstrations, and examples are all effective ways to make students confident about how to do their work well.

12 Since small successes lead to bigger successes, it only makes sense to make work easier for students to do well at the start of a school term. You can then raise the level of expectation as the year progresses and your students develop and learn new skills.

14 Once students and their families see that it is possible for them to succeed, then they will tend to want to continue to experience that success. It is always a good idea to have the parents and guardians of your students working along with you.

15 Students who know what to do and how to do it well are much more likely to succeed than those who attempt to learn in a chaotic classroom.

17 A caring and enthusiastic teacher is the key to a successful classroom. If you don’t like a topic, you can be sure that your students won’t like it either.

19 With the high levels of childhood obesity, it only makes sense to use other rewards than food to motivate your students.

21 Students who feel that they are a valued part of a group will want to live up to the group’s expectations for success. Try to connect your students to the positive aspects of your class’s culture as often as you can.

22 When students are lavishly praised for things that they should have done well as a matter of routine, their achievement level drops significantly. The impact of sincere praise is immeasurable.

25 There is no magic bullet. A technique that works well for one student may not be effective for others. Good teachers constantly use a wide range of motivational strategies to reach out to every student.

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