Which topics do you feel most strongly about?

Motivation tips for the class

It goes without saying that students do not love all subjects or are enthusiastic about every lesson. After all, most people are only interested in certain things or topics, while other content leaves them indifferent. But for the acquisition of a solid basic knowledge and the establishment and development of knowledge and skills, all subjects in school have their place.

Educators know about the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how much the inner drive has to do with learning success. But if the intrinsic motivation doesn't work at all, outside help is needed. And you are that help! In the best case scenario, the students' extrinsic motivation then becomes intrinsic.

But how do you manage to motivate students for a subject or a topic that they are not really interested in or are of little interest? It is worthwhile to think about how you can arouse your own interest in a topic that does not seem very interesting.

Practical advice school for secondary level I and II
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Just think about your last reading, for example that of an online magazine. You will certainly not be interested in all sections and topics. But when do you click on the actual article from the teaser? Sure, with interesting topics. But maybe also with the less interesting ones, because the headline and teaser made you curious? Because a question was asked there but not answered? Because the headline contains an assertion that is not yet substantiated in the teaser. Because a promise is first made, but the teaser ends with the sentence: "The whole thing has just one catch." You can also use this trick in class. For example, by making a little secret of the subject of the lesson and starting with a startling assertion that you do not initially substantiate. With a little luck, you will have aroused your students' interest in the subject.

Or you start with a question from everyday life and then work out the contribution of the subject to this topic in the following steps. This approach works at all school levels.

You can also strengthen the practical relevance through cooperation with extracurricular institutions and experts in the classroom. Or you can relate learning directly to your own well-being: "Without these vocabulary and idioms you are guaranteed to be embarrassed during student exchanges. However, those who master the translations will skilfully bypass any linguistic faux pas."

Another possibility: You use the expectation of success. Because the prospect of success is a strong component of motivation. But be careful! Don't make the tasks too easy just for the guarantee of success. Students usually have a keen sense for such tricks. Only when the task actually poses a challenge do they develop ambition and motivation. But exaggerating in the other direction is not expedient either. Anyone who feels that they are not up to the challenge soon loses motivation. So give the challenges a structure and use subtasks to ensure small successes. Reward systems can help you with this. What is also important: give the students enough time to complete the assignments successfully.

Give clear work instructions that still leave enough space for your own decisions, for self-determination and responsibility. A good example is station learning, which is particularly successful in primary schools, but also in secondary schools. Allow - especially with older students - also unconventional lines of thought, ideas and possible solutions. Do not think of the phrase “mistakes make you smart” as a hollow phrase; use possible mistakes made by students for additional discussion and further approaches to the topic. And ask the right questions as the class progresses. Avoid the classic formulation "Do you / do you have any questions?" And ask more precisely: "What did you / what did you already understand?"

Let your students try something, create something and work together with others on a specific problem solution. The more active the students can be, the more they feel involved in what is happening, the more their interest in the subject grows. You can involve older students in the planning and design of the lessons. For example, as far as the forms of work are concerned, the proportion of group and project work, suggestions for possible excursions, other media or experts. If the "guru" standing in front of the class doesn't just give all the guidelines, trust in your own abilities grows and that spurs you on!

Rely on a mix of methods. The same method and the same schedule of hours are tiring and demotivating. The same goes for the media mix. In addition to books, worksheets, blackboards or other traditional media, these are digital media. Primary school children are excited about small tasks on a PC or tablet, for example when they create tables, use the calculation functions of Excel or design the lesson topic in the form of a brochure. Older students feel motivated when you, as a teacher, rely on their competence as digital natives.

Inspirations for media use:

But it is not only with the students that the motivation sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, as a teacher you are not always highly motivated. That depends on how you feel on the day, on possible private problems and of course on the stresses teachers are exposed to in the school system. Constantly re-motivating yourself is not always an easy task. But one with great effects, because - and that is perhaps the decisive factor - the teacher's motivation is transferred directly to the students.

Targeted motivation - skillfully demotivating
When students are praised, they become more lively and active. Praise releases energy. If someone is constantly criticized, he loses the desire to do something. Criticism steals energy. To keep the class enjoying learning, it is critical that the praise outweigh the criticism.