In a recent post at the Engaging Minds blog, we asked instructors: What are your top strategies for fostering students’ motivation to succeed in your classes?  Below, we’ve summarized their responses. We’ve also provided some suggestions that can help you implement these strategies with your own students.

Instructor motivation strategies

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Making the connection between college success and future personal achievement

The top-ranked response in our survey was “I do my best to help [students] see the connection between success in their coursework and success in their lives as a whole (graduation, professional achievements, etc).” Seventy-two percent of instructors answered this in the affirmative. Is this statement true of you? Perhaps your activities, projects, and lectures teach students skills that foster success both in and out of the classroom. You might also tie course concepts to real-world applications, thus reinforcing the value of what they’re learning to their chosen vocations. Whatever your means of conveying this information to students, you hope they see the bigger picture… beyond a passing grade, and towards the impact that these skills and concepts can have on their futures. Want to integrate more of these college-to-career connections into your coursework? Read our suggestions for:

 

Helping students develop a sense of self motivation

According to our survey results, most instructors are willing to invest time in students who need additional attention, direction, and advice that is tailored to their specific needs. Over two-thirds (67%) of responding instructors noted that “I make myself available for personal conferences with students who need an extra ‘push’ for success.” And yet, most instructors also see the value in teaching students that much of their success depends on their own attitude and desire to succeed. Fifty-four percent of respondents said, “I remind them of the many things that are (to a greater or lesser extent) within their power to control (e.g. their time management, their attitudes, and their ability to forgo procrastination).” In addition, 44% agreed with the statement, “I encourage students to remind themselves of their personal motivations for attending school on a regular basis as a means of guiding them towards self motivation,” while 31% noted that they “…reinforce the value of a positive mindset and recommend that they look at their weaknesses as opportunities rather than as a cause for discouragement.” A sense of personal responsibility, meshed with a generally positive outlook, will serve students well as they seek to achieve their goals and dreams. Meanwhile, no instructors responded that motivation was solely the students’ responsibility and that they did nothing to help students find their motivation. We believe this points to your commitment to your students, as well as your own desire to see them succeed! Looking for tips that can help you foster students’ own motivation? Read previous posts on: 

 

Reinforcing the power of setting goals

Though most people would agree that goal setting is an important element of success (in school and life), it is not necessarily a topic that is specifically addressed in classes. Less than half (46%)  wrote, “I stress the value of goal setting, discipline, and persistence,” and 31% responded positively to the statement “I include a goal-setting exercise or activity as a part of my coursework.” You may not have the time to cover topics such as goal setting or perseverance in your course;  however, you may still want to address this topic with some of your students. The ability to define, set, and work towards goals can have a long-lasting impact on students’ success, as well as their self confidence. Looking for resources that will help students define and set goals? Review previous posts on:

Do you have additional ideas for motivating students?

Continue the conversation! Share your own suggestions for motivating students in the comments section below. And don’t forget to take our survey on student success and motivation.