I won't pretend to have the answer since I've struggled with unmotivated students in my own class. As others have mentioned, certainly establishing relevance and developing a genuine relationship of caring and trust with the student is important. That sets a foundation, but doesn't seem to necessarily meet the student's total needs to become motivated. Our challenge is to find the student's talents and what he or she is truly interested in (if the student is addicted to drugs or some other outside influence, then we as educators are not the entire answer). At a conference, an educator told about a 16 year old boy who was pretty unmotivated. Then his Technology or English teacher introduced him to websites, and he developed his own website on Chaucer, and he became engrossed in developing that site, and it became one of the most popular sites on Chaucer at that time. How do we as educators instill in a student that spark to love what he or she is doing - or do we just provide the opportunities and support for the student to develop that intrinsic love for some cause, some activity, some goal? Standardized instruction is most likely not the answer.
Yes, I agree. Project-based learning is the way to go. I still remember a report I wrote in 5th grade. I also remember dressing up for the bicentennial celebration in 1777 LOL. Where has all the fun gone? Gardener's multiple intellegences also support a variety of learning styles. I work with both elementary and high school students. Reach students on their level and get them to read and write for something they care about. We need to take the time to give them enough background information, so that they can all participate.Once they have a foundation to build on, they are more likely to accept their responsibility. Building a classroom community is also key to the motivational process. Once they are motivated, the sky is the limit.
For several years now I have struggled with the idea that students should be intrinsically motivated and reality has shown me that a large percentage are not. I have learned that verbal affirmation, stickers, candy, and other rewards sometimes open the door for some students to experience that intrinsic motivation that lifelong learners have.
In the beginning of the school year, I try to give the students a 'multiple intelligence/learning styles" inventory. It gives me some tools to develop rapport in the first days of school and also for those moments that the students need extra motivatio during the year.
To try and motivate the students within my class I use praise and reward. But fot those who seen more difficult to motivate I look at their interest survey and try to choose a reward that the student has already said has interested them. I also have tried giving some students some private one-on-one time. I think one thing that is very important to remember is that all students are different, therefore not all rewards/motivators will work with all students all the time.
THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, is key!
I make the student responsible for completing a "teacher task". This shows the student that regardless of what has been said about him/her that I'm giving them the opportunity to prove that they can be trusted and that they are responsible. Of course the student has to complete their assignment, or come in quietly with materials before they are allowed to do their job. This works for most of the students. They start to feel good about themselves and realize that they are important.
I agree Lynne. I think that most unmotivated students are those who have low self-esteem and feel incompetent. It is important that educators get to know their students and find their strengths and interests. After doing that, teachers need to provide the unmotivated with opportunities for success.
Children are unmotivated due to a lack of interest. When a lesson, subject area or activity is not in the child's interest circle, he or she is not going to be motivated to complete the task, participate in the group activity, etc.
I have had the most success with adapting the lesson or activity to a topic that sparks interest. For example, when learning about patterns in Kindergarten, have the children actively make the patterns, opposed to drawing them. (EX: jump, jump, clap, jump, jump, clap.) The activity aligns with sports and gets the children moving, which is what all children love to do. Movement, group work and competition are always successful in my classroom!