Saturday, August 31, 2013

Carrot and stick - how to motivate your students using Learning Styles

There are two types of students in the world: those who are internally motivated, and those who are motivated by external means.It all depends on their Learning Style.

It’s very easy to get an externally motivated child to behave in class or learn the new work: all you have to do is promise her a reward. The reward can be verbal (you’re such a good girl, I’m proud of you), material (a star), accrued (a star-chart with a well defined reward once the child accumulates 20 stars) or a withdrawal of privileges.

It’s even easier to get an internally motivated child to behave in class or learn the new work: you don’t need to do anything at all, because the student will do it all out of her internal sense of “I want to do this”. That’s provided she herself sees that schoolwork and school behaviour as important matters worthy of engaging her internal motivation system over. If she doesn’t see them as important, you have a problem on your hands, because no amount of carrot/stick is going to have an effect on her.

So, what do you do as a teacher? The first step is, naturally, to establish what type of motivation works on your students, and to what extend: some students may have a strong preference for external motivation, others only a slight one, they may have a non-preference for it (in which case it’s really not a good idea to offer them external rewards), or they may be flexible in this area (in other words, a combination of internal and external motivation would work well). 

Check out your students' Learning Styles. You will also get a free group profile for your class, with a summary of how many of your students are internally and externally motivated.

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