We ask this question every time we find ourselves having to accomplish a task set before us. Why am I doing this and why should I care? For many students this is firm question in their minds when they come to school and wonder why they have to sit through class, do homework, or finish a project. In many ways, students today feel unmotivated to excel in school because they can’t find a reason why it would interest them to put so much work into something that only amounts to a letter grade. Its a tough aspect of teaching to deal with as this factor is something the teacher can not directly control, but is integral for making a lesson successful. In order for students to learn, they must put in the effort to pay attention to what the teacher is teaching and actively participate in the lesson to take any information out of it. Thus, getting your students do want to do those things and do a good job at them is very important because no student will be able to learn anything if they do not have the motivation to do so. Even the most well crafted and detailed lessons will completely fail if the students are not at all interested into taking anything from it. It is the teacher’s responsibility to try to make his or her lessons as attention grabbing as possible for their students, but even so they can only hope to that the students willingly pay attention and that can be hard for some students. I really want to delve in to this topic because it is an aspect of teaching that a lot of instructors have trouble with, but those who master motivating their students have a much easier time connecting their students to their lesson and will be wildly more successful in their lessons.

First, as a teacher we must come to understand what our students may be motivated by in order to make our lessons feel fulfilling to them. In an article from the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching call *Motivating Students *highlights the different incentives students are motivated and strategies for addressing them. This also relate back to our textbooks as it goes into intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic motivates are tailored to individual students as it gives them great personal reward. A good example is when a student feels that math really makes sense to them or when a student is genuinely interested in reading novels. A person feels a sense of accomplishment because the activity is fulfilling to them. Teachers help students to build on these motivations so that they find what truly interests them. This could require you as the teacher to get to know your students and this can be quite a slow to accomplish. Extrinsic motivators work by having an outside incentive the student desires and pushes them to work harder in order to obtain it. This could involve a student trying to get exemplary grades in order to get a scholarship or a teacher rewarding her students with no homework for doing well on their exams. They can be quick ways of gaining students attention to a task that you are presenting to them. These motivations don’t last however, as once they are obtained the student no longer feels interested in the lesson. Both motivations have their strengths and weaknesses, but they are worth understanding as a teacher in order to connect what you want out of your students and what students want out of your lessons.

The next step is to craft a lesson that incorporates the motivations of then students and to inspire interest in the material that you are presenting. In class, we talked about backwards design and how it can be used to construct lessons by starting where the lesson ends. In an article by the Tasmanian Department of Education, *Principles of Backwards Design* outlines that you start with the end goal of the lesson, define what evidence that the goal is being achieved and then working out how that it is achieved. It is quite strange, but establishing what you want your students to learn and it relates to them is the foundation for which your lesson is built on. Something to also consider is how you plan on incorporating learner-centered strategies in classes. By getting your students more involved in the concepts and relating them back to the students in a practical way. In an article by the Committee on Academic Programs and Teaching, it details how you can create a learner-centered environment so that students are motivated through the interest that you as the teacher fosters. In understanding how to get your students attention and crafting exciting, interactive can motivate them to perform at their best. Motivation can mean the world in performing a challenge and in school, even more so.

Articles:

https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/motivating-students/

https://www.wku.edu/library/dlps/infolit/documents/designing_lesson_plans_using_backward_design.pdf

http://cet.usc.edu/resources/teaching_learning/docs/LearnerCentered_Resource_final.pdf