7 simple ways to boost student motivation

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Can staying in school be pleasant

Motivation is the driving force behind all of a student’s actions. It is a temporary and dynamic state that should not be confused with a person’s individual character traits or emotional states. In general, motivation is both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is that which drives people to create something that causes intrinsic satisfaction. Extrinsic is getting external gratification such as money, evaluation, etc.

But what are the conditions that motivate students in school? How to motivate our students to learn more material and achieve higher results? Check out our ranking of seven simple techniques that could significantly boost your students’ motivation.

Positive attitude

First of all, a positive attitude motivates a person to a great extent in general. When a student takes on a task, they often do well mostly because of the encouraging support they have received from their teacher. Teachers, support your students. You have been in their shoes once, too, and maybe you needed a little courage.

Feeling important

Another important factor is a sense of significance. When a student speaks in class and everyone listens and appreciates what he says, he begins to feel important and significant and takes pleasure in performing well. And why shouldn’t work give pleasure? When the teacher offers in-class or homework assignments that involve something enjoyable for the students, they are more motivated to complete the assignment and perform well.


We conclude that enjoyment motivates. I teach classes with different profiles, mainly dealing with choreography and fine arts. For the dancing children I suggest the task of finding out about the types of national costumes in the different areas of Italy, while for the artists I ask them to tell about famous Italian artists or landmarks with interesting architecture.

Good luck

Another important condition that motivates is success. When a person does well in a task, he feels satisfied with himself and is motivated to keep trying in the next tasks. The feeling that the efforts he has made are yielding results leads forward.

Personal benefit

Motivation is also achieved by personal benefit. When a student has a clear idea of the benefits of what he is learning, he will be motivated to try harder and accumulate knowledge that he can then put into practice.

The clarity of the task

Last but not least, the clarity of the task is also decisive for motivation. If the task condition is unclear, the student gets confused and hence his drive to give his best decreases.

Relationship between disciplines

Students often ask questions like “What’s this for?” In such cases it is useful to have a link between the disciplines they are studying. These links are important because they contribute to a true understanding of society and nature, integrating methods from one subject into another.

Analyzing the conditions of motivation listed so far, we come to the conclusion that they are interrelated. The satisfaction of a job well done is linked to a positive attitude and the success achieved, which in turn leads to a sense of significance. On the other hand, the feeling of pleasure is also related to the connection between the subjects studied. When we set a task in Italian (a subject that some of my students consider superfluous) and link this task to the profiling subject (choreography), the children have a greater desire to perform well.

It is important for our success as teachers that we do not let motivation drop and that we try to keep it at a level that will lead to building routine skills and habits, gaining lasting and deep knowledge in our students that they will then apply and find useful.

Another major problem facing the modern teacher is how to increase students’ motivation to be active in class. Unfortunately, today’s children are largely inactive in the learning process. In order for them to work fully and qualitatively, the tasks they are given must provoke interest and thought process and not be performed by machine.

When a task is performed in a machine-like manner, the student puts in minimum thought, does not use his entire stock of knowledge, his interest is not provoked and thus the quality of performance falls.

The fact is that the same exercise could be performed in several ways. For example, the task is to write synonyms of a word or list adjectives describing a person’s character. If they have to perform such tasks independently, writing in their notebooks, most of them find it boring and uninteresting. To spark their interest, such a task could be offered in the form of a game. For example, the students form a circle. The teacher sets a word and passes a ball to one of the students. The child catches the ball, says a synonym, the teacher writes it on the board and the child passes the ball to a classmate. When the synonyms run out, everyone checks together to see if there are any misspelled words.

Another option is to divide the students into two teams and give each team a set time in which to work. At the end, they check the answers and the members of the winning team get a “plus” in the teacher’s notebook.

A dice game could also be implemented. A playing field is drawn on a stiff piece of cardboard of appropriate size – a beginning, circles in which verbs are written and an ending. Between the verb circles, for variety, could be written ‘mini two moves ahead’ or ‘skip one move’. This game can be applied to students at different proficiency levels. When the child moves the pawn of a verb, the tasks can be several, according to the level: to say what the word means, to make a simple sentence or to include the verb in a complex sentence with different tenses, from the root of the verb to indicate a noun or another part of speech…

The aim of any lesson, whether in a foreign language or another, is for students to gain new knowledge and consolidate old knowledge. In order to fulfill this goal with the necessary quality, students need to be as active as possible during the learning process and have the necessary motivation. For the latter, variety is needed during the work process, because monotony kills interest and the desire to work.


© 2022 Iliana Dechkova

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