Inspired to Learn: Effective Techniques for Motivating Students in the Elementary Classroom
Motivation is a key ingredient in the elementary classroom. When students are intrinsically motivated to learn, they learn more effectively. While some students enter the classroom with a high-degree of motivation, many do not. Teachers can employ numerous means in order to maintain and increase motivation in all students. This paper reviews numerous research articles in an attempt to provide a detailed list of various techniques teachers may use in order to maximize motivation in all students across the content areas. While the author does not purport the techniques compiled in this paper to be comprehensive, it is an excellent start and a useful set of guidelines that can help teachers connect research and theory to practice. Research yielded seven general categories of ways in which teachers may help to increase and maximize motivation. Grouping strategies, student-choice, the utility of education, proper goal orientation, attribution, appropriate challenges, and a supportive environment in which students feel comfortable are all key ways to empower students with an intrinsic desire to learn. This paper goes into substantial detail concerning what these categories actually entail with regards to implementation in the elementary classroom. The author goes on to infer from the research that motivation is generally supported in a student-centered classroom. When teachers acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of learning styles and the needs of individual students and react accordingly, students come to appreciate this concern and respond with an increased desire to learn. The author also supplies a final caveat concerning the implementation of these methods. The moment a teacher begins to apply the methods detailed in the paper without regard to the specific needs of the individuals within the classroom, the classroom ceases to be student-centered. One must always remember that no set of guidelines is universally applicable to every student and that good educators must react in ways specifically designed to address the needs of individuals.
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