Bill Gibbs

Professor - Master of Tech,

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How should teachers motivate their students?

Even the best students have days when they are not motivated for classroom learning.
How would you recommend to interest students in education and lessons?
I have found great lists of motivational books for educators, such as Unfortunately most students nowadays aren't interested in reading and I can't ask them to read these.
Also, great tips are featured here: and here:

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    Dec 31 2013: An effective strategy is to gather information immediately about their interests and dreams for the future and to connect the content in the classroom frequently to those interests, dreams, and goals. It is useful to remember what these interests are and whose interests they were in order to connect to students as individuals.

    It helps also to have an energetic presence in the room, an interesting story line for the material, and an interactive format, to give students choices of projects where that is practical, and to build students ideas centrally into lessons.
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      Jan 1 2014: do teachers currently do this, Fritzie, when I look back I don't remember any teacher asking me about my dreams and goals, in my case they didn't need to because I was pretty motivated to just do the work, but if they weren't asking me they weren't asking anybody else either?
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        Jan 1 2014: Teachers do different things. I always had students do this for me on index cards the first day of class or by email if I had my student list in advance of the first day.
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    Jan 17 2014: Motivating students is one of the most common issues in education. Based on my experience, the most successful students are those who are self-motivated - those students who do what they need to do whether they have good or bad parents, good or bad teachers, or good or bad administrators.

    Of course, good parents, effective teachers, and competent administrators enchance success.

    How should teachers motivate their students? This is not an easy question to answer. However, some suggestions below might help. Teachers should:
    - Come to class ready to inspire and enlighten their students
    - Be enthusiastic about the topics being discussed in class
    - Be able to relate the value of the lessons in class with real life
    - Be able to recognize the individual differences of their students and be able to individualized instruction,
    whenever possible
    - Your own ideas here ... !
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    Jan 3 2014: i think that video is much underused. i believe it still carries a stigma from the "too much TV will give you square eyes" days.

    sites like youtube carry a huge range of clips on all sorts - documentaries, interviews, explanations, hoaxes, home footage capturing all sorts of events.

    of course, that means a lot of previewing on the teacher's part in order to screen the content to ensure it's appropriate but screening resources has always been part of the job.

    as well as providing a wealth of easily digestible clips and videos full of information, comparing video posts that outline different perspectives on the same issue can lead to some pretty deep discussion - conflict of opinion is always a motivating thing.

    the teacher's job would be to teach and regulate the debating and discussion built around the video content.

    as video is still often seen by many as at the 'lower end' of the cultural hierarchy, so reading is seen as the pinnacle. neither of those perceptions are accurate, in my opinion.
  • Jan 2 2014: Require the Student to become the Teacher of the Teacher
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    Jan 1 2014: Hi Bill,

    Use the "grandmother method" it's very well explained in this TED Talk.

    Basically what they need is encouragement for anything that they do, except for things that are clearly morally wrong that is.
  • Jan 11 2014: Bill,

    1. If the students are college students, it is their job to be motivated and they are the keepers of their learning. If you are teaching future teachers, then definitely they should be involved in their education and not sitting like lumps on a log 8>))

    2. Most of my experience has been motivating employees. Found that you have to understand the value structure. You have to match the reward to the value structure or penalty.
  • Jan 2 2014: First you have to get their attention.
  • Jan 1 2014: Ask them what questions need to be answered, then ask what they need to answer the questions, then ask for a plan to find the answer or at least help solve the problem, then tell them to execute the plan and do the work.