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Motivating Your Students

  • Be excited about your class! You can't expect your students to be excited about the course if you're not. On the first day of class, tell them directly that you're excited about being there and are looking forward to the semester.
  • Occasionally, use surprises in your class. Do something out of the ordinary before class begins, like playing music, or putting a puzzle on the board. Students like seeing novel things in the classroom (as long as they're tied into the lesson.)
  • For a change of pace, one day each semester, give out Hershey kisses to students who answer questions.
  • Make up games. Set up reviews for for quizzes and exams as games, like Jeopardy or Family Feud. Students enjoy friendly competition -- especially if there's a prize involved.
  • Learn your students' names. Calling on students by name makes a strong personal connection with them and will make them feel like they're noticed and that their attendance means something.
  • Be approachable. Watch your tone when you answer students' questions and make sure you don't sound defensive or brusque, even if it's a question you've heard a dozen times before. Make the classroom a safe place for students to ask and answer questions.
  • Give positive feedback when it's appropriate and possible. Send emails to students who have done well on a quiz or an assignment and encourage them to keep up the good work. Write words of praise on their written assignments along with your constructive feedback.
  • Have clear course objectives and explain why you're making the assignments you're making.
  • Make your grading as fair as possible. There's nothing more de-motivating for a student than feeling he/she has received an unfair grade.