Forums / Distance Learning / Motivating Students

Distance Learning

Motivating Students

Author Post
Jera Adams Adams Jera Adams Adams 285 Points

Hi everyone! My name is Jera Adams, and I am currently attending Penn State University :)

In my student placement, I have noticed the struggle to motivate students to get their assigned work finished and turned in. Even participating in fun Science experiments is difficult! Does anyone have suggestions on how to help my mentor teacher? I should mention that they do not care if they receive a zero on the assignment... we already tried that! 

Melanie Pena Melanie Pena 625 Points

Hello Jera!

I believe a great way to motivate students is by having a ClassDojo. ClassDojo has a variety of great features to use within the classroom and with parents. One of these features is ClassDojo points. Each student is assigned a different cartoon icon and you can add and remove points from the characters! Whenever a student finishes an assignment, answers a question correctly, or even reads a paragraph in class, you can award them a ClassDojo point. Whenever they misbehave or don't do an assignment you can remove a ClassDojo point. At the end of the semester, you can have your students trade in all their points for a treat depending on how many points in total they have made.

Ethan Beck Ethan Beck 630 Points

Hello Jera,


I think as students we can all relate to the struggle of not being motivated to partcipate or learn. I ask myself 'When I have been at my most unmotivated in class what was the reason?' My answer most of the time is because the learning is not relevant to me or 'real life'. Whenever a student says something like 'How will this relate to real life' their only perception of real life is their own environment and self. Students will only be invested if it pertains and relates to them. Encourage students to ask questions and if they do not ask questions, ask questions about them always try to learn about them because if their is one thing we are all interested in is our own lives. Hope this helps Jera.

Best regards,

Ethan Beck



Megan Pagliettini Megan Pagliettini 250 Points

Hi Jera! 

I am sorry to hear that you are having these problems in your classroom! I believe that all teachers have and still struggle with this as well. The first thing I would suggest would be to not take this personally! Students trying to have attention spans after having to be stuck behind the computer for over a year is an extreme adjustment. I believe that some students think that since they could attend school online, in person does not appeal to them as much as it should. A zero would not discourage them becuase they already have no motivation. I would try to reward them with some postive reinforcements that are interesting to them. Maybe doing a classroom reward system and giving the students 5 more minutes of recess if they follow all of your directions! By rewarding them with simple small things of their interest, they may find more of a drive to complete the assignment or lab. If anything maybe try incorporating some of their favorite TV or movie characters even in the directions! I hope this helps in any way! 

Wishing the best for you and your class!! 

You got this! 

Megan Pagliettini

Varduhi Brutyan Varduhi Brutyan 425 Points

Hi everyone, 

Motivating students to complete their work and submit the assignments on time is one of the common problems educators often face today. Teachers who clearly state their expectations for the students can still have this problem. Points and grades can partially solve the problem but not completely; many students will not change their attitude, even though they receive low grades. One of the tools that I think might be helpful is showing students that whatever they learn in the classroom is somehow related to the world outside the classroom and will help them solve different problems. Meaningful learning can make a difference. Building models is a part of developing  those connections and showing students how their knowledge and experience can help them in various situations.



Mia Vessell Mia Vessell 500 Points

Hi, I believe that a great way to motivate students is by giving positive feedback. When students receive positive feedback, it motivates them to try their best. I also believe that Class Dojo is a good way to motivate students to show good behavior. My mentor teacher uses Class Dojo to reward good behavior. 

Jessica Berry Jessica Berry 1000 Points

Hello there, 

I am so glad that you decided to ask this question because I know that I can gain some insight on how to motivate my students as well. I work with younger students so they don't have a ton of homework. However, I can seen scenarios in my placement where students sometimes don't feel motivated to complete a task in class, or to do their homework. 

I would suggest that you do individual rewards or class rewards. I have learned that class rewards work better than individual rewards because then the whole class feels like they are responsible to meet that expectation. For example, you could suggest if the whole class does their homeowkr or submits it on time, then the whole class gets something in return (candy, extra technology time, some sort of class party). This allows them to try to do their best because they will be rewarded by something. 

I hope this helps and I hope that your students start to feel motivated! 

Jessa Hamilton Jessa Hamilton 30 Points

  Thank you so much for the advice!
I don't even have anything to add. I agree with every suggestion

Elly Kumbusky Elly Kumbusky 200 Points

Hi Jera! 

I am seeing a lot of this in my placement as well, even though we are face-to-face again. Many of my students were online last year for all of kindergarten, so this is their first year actually at school, and many of them are really struggling to find the motivation to do work, which is very tough. What my cooperating teacher and I have found to be most effective for our specific students is to give lots of breaks if needed, so they can have a brief period of time to recharge and refocus. I'm not sure the age of your students, but mine are first graders, and we utilize GoNoodle every day at least once! When we can tell they're starting to lose all interest, taking a brain break is the most beneficial option for us! 

Taylor Belk Taylor Belk 320 Points

Hi Jera!

I see this in classrooms all of the time as well. Honestly, I have even been an unmotivated student at times as well. I had a professor in college who changed the game for me, Laura Wooldridge! She taught relevance, rigor, consistent feedback, and building relationships! She not only taught us these essential practices, but she modeled them as well. First of all, it is very important that we stay educated on what is going on in our students' worlds, and try our best to relate content to them any time we can. It is also important that we are challenging our students to critically think, and not just sit and do worksheets. In my Professor's classes, we often would pair/group up, and do various types of activities. She always had us moving around, even as college students! Consistent feedback is a must in the classroom. Oftentimes, students do their work, teachers give a grade, and that is that. If students can receive feedback, give feedback, and even make corrections based on their feedback, it gives more importance to the work that is at hand. With feedback, it is very important that we are specific and timely. In addition, feedback needs to be both positive and constructive, AND consistent! Consistency is key! Lastly, a good relationship builds respect, trust, and safety. When you have respect, trust, and safety, motivation will follow. It is important that we take the time to invest in our students' lives and get to know them on a deeper level. They also want to get to know you too! It is wonderful for your students to know that you are a human and have a life outside of the classroom. Taking the time to celebrate and connect with your students will surely pay off tremendously in the end!

Rita Bikkerman Rita 20 Points

Motivating students can indeed be a challenge, and it's great that you're looking for ways to support your mentor teacher. Here are some strategies that might help:
Relevance to Real Life: Relate the assignments to real-world scenarios or applications. Show students how the skills they are learning are applicable in their lives.
Student Choice: Provide some degree of choice in assignments. When students have the opportunity to choose topics or projects that interest them, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.
Differentiated Instruction: Tailor your teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles and paces. Some students may excel with hands-on activities, while others may prefer reading or discussions.
Set Goals and Celebrate Achievements: Break down assignments into smaller, manageable tasks and set achievable goals. Celebrate the completion of each goal to build a sense of accomplishment. 

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers