As we head back to school it is a good time to consider what can I do as a teacher to motivate my students?   I have done a little research and compiled a list for consideration.

Student Motivation Ideas:

  •  Make your subject personal.   Show your own enthusiasm and relate the material to the lives and interests of the students.
  • Ask students to think about the materials and then use their statements as you study the readings.
  • Be able to answer – Why do I need to know this?
  • Get to know your students on a personal level.
  • Measure student’s progress and show interest in helping them be successful.
  • Promote good will!  State what is going well and connections that are being made in class with the materials.
  • Make the classroom a safe place to learn, to participate, and take risks.
  • Role model what a learner looks like and what mastery looks like in what you do.
  • Understand that your class is not the most important thing in your student’s life.

When giving assignments:

  • Give students a purpose and focus for reading, like take a side that you have to defend in the next class period.  Research shows that students do not see a correlation between reading and academic success so only 20% of them will do the reading.  Make them see the connection in your classroom.
  • Assign reading that is essential to the understanding of the course.  The less is more approach.
  • Focus in on what is worth knowing from your content.
  • Make the assignments challenging but attainable for your students and expect success
  • Differentiate whenever possible in what is to be learned, how it is to be learned or how the students can show mastery.



Hobson, E. (2004). The IDEA Paper #40: Getting Students to Read. The IDE.A Center. Retrieved August 18, 2012, from

 Svinicki, M. (2005). IDEA Paper #41: Student Goal Orientation, Motivation, and Learning. IDEA Paper #41. Retrieved August 18, 2012, from

Teaching Resources – Motivating Students. (2011, October 11).Teaching Effectiveness Program. Retrieved August 18, 2012, from