How to get motivated: a student perspective.

Following on from our previous post on what skills students think the 21st century classroom should give them, they know answer the question ‘What works for students’.

When asked ‘What works for students’, we closely considered and realised that many students struggle to motivate themselves. In this post we will be talking about how you can get motivated.

Khadeja Ali, London Academy of Excellence

At times it is very difficult to get motivated in a classroom. One thing I strongly believe works to get motivated is thinking about your future aspirations, thinking about what you would like to achieve and thinking about what you would like to get out of your time at school. This has helped me in numerous instances. For example, in one instance, in Economics, I was struggling on a topic and it was a topic that I did not particularly enjoy, but I knew I wanted to do Economics at university. This helped overcome my setbacks, by asking for help and even doing extra work and pre reading, in order to be able to reach the standard, I need to reach my aspirations.

James Rice,  Norton Knatchbul School

Motivation is something relatable to every student. I have never met anyone my age who  hasn’t suffered from a clear lack of drive or impetus to work. When trying to motivate oneself generally, such as going on a diet, one thing which seems particularly helpful is to give your task a purpose and a goal. Firstly, this would mean that you give yourself an incentive. This could be positive – a reward, for instance, or negative – such as a punishment. I try to make it positive. An example of this is revision.

I have never been good at revising, but I find the prospect of a reward (no matter how small) really helps. I might, for example, say ‘If I revise x for x amount of time, I can have a biscuit’ or something along those lines. Or you could use a person as motivation: in my G.C.S.E.s, I revised because I didn’t want to let my teachers down! After all the hard work they had put into teaching me, I thought how awkward that might be if that was wasted, and how disappointed they would be. Alternatively, use someone close to you (mother/father, or sister/brother, or boyfriend/girlfriend) to push you; put yourself in a ‘do it for them’ mindset. This has often worked for me when I go on diets!

Another pressure for students is to do wider reading, especially the further up the educational ladder one goes. This is one of the hardest things to is to read boring papers or long texts. One thing that may help you is to make it a subject about which you are passionate. Not only will this make it easier to read about, it will also make it more likely you’ll remember it. It is also important to give yourself variety. If you constantly read from one type of text on one specific subject, you will get easily bored which will demotivate you further. Always have a range of sources, books, journals, website and videos! YouTube is one of the best resources available – use it! (But not for cat videos.)

You will always have setbacks in your work. A key de-motivat or is these setbacks. But you mustn’t’ get disheartened, mistakes will happen often, and being dispirited will demotivate you more. Remember the old saying ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, never be afraid to ask for help and advice! Teachers, lecturers and tutors will always be happy to help you with any queries, and they are the best resource available to any student! USE THEM!

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