6 Teaching Strategies that will motivate learners

What teaching strategies are you applying in your classroom to motivate your students to learn? This is one question teachers need to answer.

Another question that baffles most teachers and they struggle to find the answer is; why are some students willing to learn while others show no zeal whatsoever?

Teachers probably have been pondering over this question for a long time. They seek for the solution by studying teaching strategies and factors that encourage and motivate students to learn.

Zoltán Dörnyei a professor of Psycholinguistic at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom once said without sufficient motivation, even individuals with the most remarkable abilities cannot accomplish long-term goals.

I am of the same school of thought but, how do teachers nurture motivation in their classrooms and help students learn?

Let us define motivation before we talk about the teaching strategies teachers can apply that will assist learners to learn.

According to Oxford dictionary, motivation is defined as a desire or willingness to do something.


When planning a lesson to initiate learning, intrinsic motivation is an important factor. This is a characteristic an individual possess that helps them act on any activity for the pure joy that accompanies such activity without any external motives.

When teachers prepare teaching strategies, they should understand that students who possess intrinsic motivation are motivated by the joy of putting in the time and effort.

They value hard work just to gain mastery of any topic. When they gain competence it gives them joy.

The benefits that accrue to those who possess this quality are;
• Autonomy
• Fulfillment of long-term goals
• Competence
• Self-confidence


Extrinsic motivation is the characteristics an individual possesses that help them participate in an activity not for the joy of it but in order to achieve an external goal.

Teachers should prepare teaching strategies with the knowledge that students who possess extrinsic motivation are motivated to learn because they will receive praises, reward, boost their ego or avoid the punishment of some sort.

This type of motivation is short-term oriented because when those factors that encourage the student to learn are taken away, the student may be de-motivated and could discontinue learning.

Often time’s students are motivated to learn because they want to satisfy an external pressure. These external pressures might be in the form of receiving an award, pleasing their parents or satisfying their ego.

The key question for teachers at this juncture is to find teaching strategies that will assist students to learn with joy without external pressure.

In this post, I will share with you teaching strategies teachers can apply to facilitate and reinforce motivation in learners.

Let’s hit the ground running.

Teaching strategies that will motivate learners to learn include:

1. Putting prior knowledge to use

Connecting learning with something the learner already knows makes learning more meaningful and motivating.

2. Explain how the learning is relevant to student

Students who think that learning is relevant in their lives will appreciate each lesson.

If teaching strategies will help motivate learners, teachers should narrate how the topic is important to the students by:

  • Helping the students understand how they can transfer what they are learning to future topics and into other aspects of their everyday life.
  • Explaining to the students how the topic relates to their goals

3. Providing examples

This is important for student’s success. When teachers teach students and provide ample examples, it provokes critical thinking in learning and helps the students succeed in learning.

4. Students using their own words in learning

Asking the students to explain the topic you are teaching to other students in their own words is one teaching strategy that is useful in motivating students.

This can take place in the form of class presentation.

5. Using pictures and drawings

Research has proved that the brain processes images or pictures faster. Teaching with pictures, images and drawing will motivate learners to succeed in learning.

6. Maximizing collaborating learning

Making students learn in smaller groups on a project is a great way of motivating students to learn.

It generally helps students connect and feel they can contribute to their learning.

Making them learn in groups of three’s is a good starting point.


Math teachers can factor in these teaching strategies in their lesson plan to motivate their students to learn math.

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