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Motivating Unmotivated Students: Part Two

Motivating Unmotivated Students: Part Two

Many teachers struggle with feeling as though their students just aren’t motivated. The advice “Don’t wait on a blessing, be one” is a perfect way to approach students who seem unmotivated.

Besides making excitement a part of your lesson plans as we discussed in Part One, another element of an inspiring lesson plan is engagement.

By engagement, I mean having the students constantly involved in doing something. I recommend that 80% of the lesson be comprised of the students actively doing something. The first 10% or less of the lesson involves you getting the students started and the last 10% involves you closing out the lesson. The remainder of the time, your role as teacher should be to circulate, guide, and encourage.

There are numerous ways to keep students engaged during that 80% time block. First, you can have them work in groups of two and create a product that they share with the class or turn in to you for a grade. Also, consider occasionally having students work in groups of three or four to get more done but give them roles so that everyone has to do their share. Having students do group work is a tremendous way to ensure that there is hands-on learning. Students are more likely to be excited and engaged when they’re involved in the lesson.

One overlooked method of getting students excited through engagement is through a strategy known as call and response. Call and response is an effective method in getting students engaged and excited because they get to show what they know. For those that may not be familiar with this strategy, the teacher will ask questions frequently as he or she presents information to make sure students are engaged and listening. The class answers as a whole. This way, if a student doesn’t know the answer, then they’re not embarrassed but get the answer quickly. This method also helps to keep the presentation from being boring or monotonous.

Getting your class excited about your lesson and engaged in the learning process are excellent methods for helping your students to learn and achieve their best. As a teacher, you play an instrumental role in getting students fired up about learning. You can do this!


About the Author

Larry Bell, a Citadel graduate, is a 30+ year veteran in education. Fifteen of those years were spent as a classroom teacher where he was nominated for the National Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. As a teacher at Gar-field High School, a school with over 3,000 students speaking 36 different languages, Larry was recognized for his innovative classroom strategies that allowed his so called “Tough Kids” as well as his “Gifted and Talented” to excel!