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Motivation in the Classroom?To motivate? is defined as ?to give (somebody) a reason to do something or to be a reason for something.? See: http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/motivate. To take this definition a step further and apply it to the classroom setting, the importance of motivation in the classroom is giving students a reason or desire to learn. Thus, effective learning depends on the teacher?s ability to maintain the interest that brought students to the class in the first place. See: http://www2.honolulu.Hawaii.edu/facdev /guidebk/teachtip/motiv.htm. Motivation is therefore a key a to any productive class and establishing and maintaining motivation must be explored to fully understand and to properly apply it in a classroom setting. How does a teacher establish and maintain motivation in the classroom? Sadly, there is no exact formula for doing so and each student?s motivation is influence by a variety of factors. General interest in the subject matter, desire to achieve, self esteem, self confidence, patience and a perception of the subject?s usefulness are all factors that influence a student?s motivation coming into a class. Id. So what can we, as teachers, do to alter or improve the motivation level students arrive in class with? There are various suggestions, and again, it is important to note that no one method is all encompassing or applicable to each and every student. All situations will be varied and it is critical as teachers that we are able to realize and relate to students as individuals and to assess the particular needs of each. According to research performed over the last 30 plus years, teachers can do any and all of the following to encourage students to become self-motivated and independent learners. See: http://www.netc.org/focus/challenges/student.php. ? Engage students in setting learning goals: Make sure goals are challenging and achievable. This results in students taking ownership of the learning process. Additionally, it allows the teacher to assess the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the class. ? Make real world connections: This allows the students to find personal meaning in what they are learning and maintains their focus as they apply their new knowledge in a way that interests and concerns them. ? Give students individual and positive feedback: Don?t single out or criticize students. Giving positive feedback early in the class also shows the student that they are capable learners and improves their self-esteem and confidence. ? Encourage collaboration instead of competition. Keep the environment a positive learning experience where common goals inspire the group to work together. ? As a teacher, always remain well organized, enthusiastic and with a genuine interest in the progress of the class. This shows the students that their time and learning is important to the teacher and will make them want to achieve as well. These are just a few of many factors. The key component for the teacher in nurturing motivation in the classroom is to be sensitive and aware of each and every student and their needs and concerns. It is critical to remember that every student comes from a unique point of view and place in life and will react differently in any given situation. For teachers, maintaining a positive, enthusiastic atmosphere free from criticism is the ground floor from which any class should rise. From this start, motivation should be established and maintained by applying the general guidelines reviewed above as well as applying the common sense, instincts and sensitivities of each individual teacher.