The last quarter of the academic year can be challenging for students, because they are starting to focus more on their outdoor activities. Even so, there are ways that teachers can help students dig deep and engage in their learning.
In the article 6 Intrinsic Motivators to Power Up Your Teaching, author Mike Anderson identifies and details the following psychological needs students have and how teachers might use them in the classroom to engage students in learning (https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/6-intrinsic-motivators-to-power-up-your-teaching):
- Autonomy. Bolster student autonomy by offering choices. Provide them with options for everything from materials to assignment types to ways of demonstrating mastery. In doing so, students are more likely to engage in their learning.
- Belonging. Collaboration opportunities, group work, lab partnering, and similar types of organizations allow students to feel a sense of “place” in their classroom.
- Competence. Find the sweet spot for students – not too difficult, not too easy – and plant them firmly there. They will be motivated to fill in the gaps, as long as they sense that they are capable of doing so.
- Purpose. Be ready with the “why” and make the why something near to the moment. Displays, presentations, and other immediate public showings are purpose-driven, and students can relate to them.
- Fun. There are times when content time can become more like play time. Maximize those opportunities, and students will participate.
- Curiosity. Students carry their own interests and questions into the classroom. Capture that curiosity and connect it to content for greater levels of student engagement.
As you prepare for next week, think of ways that you can bring these into your classroom. You and your students will be glad you did!