The first step to instill motivation is to communicate somehow your expectation that each student will succeed. Subtle cues can sometimes be more powerful than overt declarations of support or encouragement. Many teachers wait longer for a response from students they feel are more capable. So, you should be careful to give every student equal time to answer despite your perception of their probability of responding appropriately. Also, call on students of low ability as often as those of high ability lest they come to feel that they are not active participants or that you don’t expect them to ever have a correct answer.
Even to be motivated to succeed is not enough. Success requires many steps, each building on the last. While college students can be expected to string together these steps and successfully pass the final 9 weeks hence, the young teen has to be ushered through them. There are many students whose classroom performance is flawless but who won’t do homework. They must be motivated to take each step in its proper order: to listen to directions, complete classroom activities, do homework, and study for tests. This is where you come in. You have to provide the encouragement to guide them along the way.
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