How to Encourage Student Self-Motivation & Engagement

Instructor: Michael Quist

Michael has taught college-level mathematics and sociology; high school math, history, science, and speech/drama; and has a doctorate in education.

The two of the most important factors in educational success are the student's motivation and level of engagement in the academic environment. In this lesson, we will explore ways to encourage student self-motivation and engagement.

What is Student Self-Motivation and Engagement?

Ms. Hines was desperate. Maybe it was time to change professions. These students just didn't care. Marian was drawing little cartoons on her paper. Chandra was relating a whispered, yet animated story to her neighbor. Bill was asleep, while John was laughing and poking Bill's back with a pencil. Secretly, Ms. Hines began to take notes. What types of activities did the students default to when they were bored?

'All right, everyone, let's change things up a bit. Bill!'

Student motivation is the desire to achieve. The human mind is designed to achieve what it values. It visualizes, plans, inspires, and directs the actions of the body.

Students are motivated to achieve things that they perceive as:

  • specific and vivid
  • valuable
  • achievable
  • rewarding
  • time-sensitive

_Student engagement is a deep and effective interest and passion for an academic experience. Student engagement occurs when an activity:

  • ties into student motivation
  • is connected to multiple areas of memory and thought
  • carries an emotional basis for interest

It is an enormous task to create student motivation and engagement in a classroom, yet it is an important way to get the best out of your students, and create experiences they will never forget.

Creating Motivation and Engagement in the Classroom

Although some would say there is no magic formula for creating student motivation and engagement, some practices can make all the difference between an ineffective presentation and a fantastic learning experience.

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