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Is the best motivator… motivation?


Can you believe that we’re only about 100 days from the start of exam period?

This means that now is the perfect time to explore how can we best help students develop and maintain their motivation. This is a tricky and important question, as motivation can dwindle and change over time.

It is important for your students to build up their motivation so that they are ready to perform to the best of their ability. So, what can your students do to stay on track? We’ve looked at recent research, and it seems that motivation works in a way that may surprise you…

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What the research says

A fascinating study investigated whether answering surveys about motivation throughout the school semester will make a difference in how motivated students feel at the end of the semester. In other words, does being aware of their own motivation levels actually make your students more motivated?

The results found that the students who completed these motivation surveys reported fewer negative emotions toward assignments and needed less time to complete these assignments as the semester went on. Students who completed a larger number of surveys also rated subject tasks as more valuable and had higher expectations for their own academic achievement.

Overall, this shows that students were more motivated, productive and positive when they consistently kept track of their motivation levels. So, how can you use this effect to boost your students’ drive as exams approach?

How to use motivation levels tracking as a motivational tool

There’s more to students assessing their motivation levels than simply writing down their inner thoughts: it’s what they do with these thoughts that matters. So, here are the areas your students should focus on if they want to reap the full benefits of this strategy…

Self-reflection

When tracking their motivation levels, it is good to also prompt self-reflection. This is where they acknowledge their thoughts and feelings and evaluate how to improve going forward.

Doing this allow your students to learn about their strengths and weaknesses. This helps identify positive changes they can make to better themselves and what already works that they need to keep up.

For example, if your students self-reflect and find that they have little motivation to practice their science flashcards, they could ask a friend or parent to help test them instead. With more practice, they should see an improvement in their academic achievement. Then, as your students become more successful, they’ll feel more motivated to keep on studying.

This helps your students remember why they want to achieve what they’re working towards. Then, they’ll see the value in the tasks that will help them get to where they want to be.

Self-management

Self-management is the ability to manage emotions, which plays an essential role in whether your students feel motivated to study or not. When they take the time to acknowledge and understand their emotions, they can reduce the impact that negative feelings have on their motivation.

In the research mentioned above, students had fewer negative emotions attached to their learning when they reflected on their motivation levels. It is likely that writing down how they felt about a topic made them more aware of how these feelings were influencing their motivation, from which they could identify and correct any habits that made them feel worse. This could explain why they had fewer negative emotions at the end of the semester.

A simple and effective way for your students to regularly track their emotions is by keeping a diary. It gives them the opportunity to write their feelings down freely, including why they might have a negative outlook on studying. They can then make changes that will help them adopt a more positive approach to learning and monitor which changes are most effective for improving their well-being. After all, if they feel good about studying, they’ll want to keep doing it!

Final thought

Sustaining motivation isn’t always easy – but when students take time out to acknowledge how motivated they currently feel, this can keep them going in the right direction.

It might feel overwhelming for them to try and change their whole routine when they already feel under pressure to study. So, encouraging them to incorporate self-reflection and self-management into their current schedule means that they can have a clearer view of their goals, feel more motivated to accomplish them, and feel better about achieving the grade that they’re working towards.

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