Instructional Strategy

One of the most important things we can do to motivate our students is to be motivated ourselves. If we are not interested in the material we are teaching our students won’t be either! We should encourage other adults in our students’ lives to be motivated as well. When we find good examples of motivated adults, we should use them as an example and put them on display for everyone to see. Also, encourage reading for fun and set aside class time for it. This is another great time to set a good example! This may be a good time for students who haven’t found a topic that interests them yet to explore new topics. Sometime rewards are necessary, as well as fun, but it is important to make sure the rewards relate to the topic. For example, we would not want to give a gift certificate for a free pizza at Pizza Hut for reading for six hours a week. Choosing a new book from the book chest may be a more appropriate reward.

Motivating instruction also includes open-ended tasks, which are tasks that provide options for the students. They have a say in the kinds of tasks they will be completing and how to complete that task. The best way to ensure that open-ended tasks are most beneficial to the students is to incorporate the 6 C’s – choice, control, challenge, collaboration, constructing meaning, and consequence (Turner & Paris, 1995, pg. 662-673). Allowing students to make choices on their own will encourage motivation. They have a better opportunity to choose topics that interest them and will therefore put more effort into completing the task. When students have some control in the classroom the expectation that they perform a certain way decreases. Some control over certain aspects in the classroom will allow children to find their independence and decision making skills. The tasks they have also need to be somewhat challenging ones. Tasks that are too easy will quickly loose the interest of even motivated children. Research shows that students prefer to have a challenging task that will present new discoveries and to recognize their understanding (Turner & Paris, 1995, pg. 662-673). Also, as teachers we need to collaborate with our students. They can teach us, as well as each other, as much as we can teach them. Then, it is important to acknowledge a student when they have collaborated with us and the class, this will help motivate them in the future. The students need to be able to construct meaning from these tasks as well. This means that the student must be able to see the relationship between what they have learned and the task they are completing. And finally, there must be consequences, consequences they can feel good about. Open-ended tasks don’t generally have one correct answer. When students don’t see their answers marked incorrect they are more likely to feel good about that they have accomplished and will therefore put forth more effort in the future.

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