The Fundamentals of Online Classroom Motivation
Motivating a group of students for a productive school day can be challenging. The challenge gets even trickier in an online learning environment, where teachers are not present with students face-to-face. If you’re a parent considering making the switch to virtual school, you may wonder how online teachers keep students engaged. With frequent communication, interactive activities, and collaborative work, online learning can be made enjoyable and exciting while still remaining informative!
Building Intrinsic Student Motivation
Experienced virtual school teachers apply three basic classroom engagement strategies to their instruction to create a motivational online learning environment: Make instruction fun, provide a safe way to respond, and help students succeed. As you read through these various motivational examples, consider how you might implement them in your student’s online school experience at home.
Make Instruction Fun
Some students might describe school with one word—boring. Teachers attempt to avoid monotony by mixing fun and creativity into lessons whenever possible. Here are some interactive techniques they use to make learning fun:
- Play games—When games are incorporated into the lesson, students become more enthusiastic and might not even realize that they are gaining knowledge at the same time!
- Work in teams and let students interact—“Breakout rooms” stimulate conversation, leadership, and interaction between students. Students often learn as much from their classmates as they do with their teachers.
- Include music—This helps to make the atmosphere less tense and more inviting.
- Have students write on the whiteboard—Even if students are not in a traditional classroom setting, they can still experience the pleasure of writing and displaying their work on the board.
Provide a Safe Way to Respond
Teachers strive to create a welcoming and safe online environment where students can feel free to express their ideas and needs without being judged. The more comfortable the student feels in class or in the home classroom, the more productive and engaged he or she will be. Here are some online tools that teachers use to provide students with a safe way to respond:
- Anonymity—Sometimes it’s easier for students to share their thoughts when they can do so anonymously. It eases the pressure and any feelings of embarrassment.
- Use of poll pods—Asking students how they feel about specific topics in the online classroom shows them that their opinion matters and often boosts class participation.
- Private chat—Students don’t want to feel like just another name on the roster. Talking to the student one-on-one not only gives teachers the opportunity to assist the individual, but also helps to establish a relationship between the two.
- Use of interactive icons—These serve to display encouragement and support even when teachers can’t give verbal approval.
Help Students Succeed
It is incredibly rewarding for teachers to witness their students succeed! They know firsthand how gratified a student feels when he or she grasps a challenging concept or subject, or does well on an assignment. Here are a few ways teachers help students succeed:
- Frequently communicate and check for understanding—Students appreciate when teachers check in with them often to make sure that they understand a concept before moving on to the next. Regular encouraging emails help to reinforce a supportive learning environment. Teachers also use message boards to stay in contact with students. Boards include various sections for different topics, such as project assistance and extra credit.
- Review vocabulary—Expanding a student’s vocabulary is greatly beneficial for his or her future. Consistently repeating and reviewing the words improves memorization.
- Encourage student participation—Online classroom sessions are one of the resources teachers use to engage students with the material. It is a good opportunity for them to connect with their classmates in real time at the same time.
- Access prior knowledge—Getting a sense of what the student already knows, as well as his or her strong and weak areas, helps teachers better personalize lessons.
Online learning can be motivating, interactive, and fun through active creativity and encouragement. What are some ways you motivate your student at home? Share with us.