Boosting Student Motivation

Motivation is a very important factor in students’ lives. If the child isn’t motivated, they wouldn’t show enthusiasm in learning or the willingness to work hard, no matter the type of school or resources that they have. They may have the best books, the best classes, and go to the best schools, but if the child lacks the motivation to learn, they wouldn’t reach any of the academic goals they have set.

Teachers, and in cases such as this, home tutors, also play important roles in supporting student motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic. When children engage in home tuition, they also have their tutors to supply and support them, not just teach them. With that being said, it is easier said than done. As each student learns differently, each student also is motivated differently. It may take a lot of time and effort to create an environment for them to feel completely excited about learning, willing to work hard, and drive to push themselves to succeed.

Still, it isn’t impossible. This is why we have gathered the following strategies and tips to help you motivate and inspire your student so they can reach their full potential.

1. Instill their sense of control

While the tutor factor is important in keeping students on track and motivated in what they do, it also helps if the tutor encourages the student to have some control over what happens during the lesson and gives them choices. This can be one of the most effective methods to keep them interested. Children will look into adults to steer them in the right direction but as they grow older, this wouldn’t always be the case. As an example, tutors can have the student select the type of activity they can work on after a lesson. This will give them a stronger sense of control and encourage them to do more and participate more in the lesson because their opinions are also taken into consideration.

2. Specify learning goals

Many people are motivated by their goals. The same can be said for students. If there are no specific goals they can look into, it can also be difficult for them to finish tasks or behave in a way just because they don’t have a clear objective. In order for them to keep their motivation, they need to know and understand what they are working towards on and what is expected of them. Set clear learning goals with the student at the very beginning of tuition. This will also help in assessing whether they have improved in the duration of home tuition or if they need more time or adjustment. As such, you can also set the rules and expectations you have for them so that they will also have the reference on how they should behave. Additionally, reaching their goals will also make the student feel good about themselves and will add to their motivation to do better.

3. Establish a safe environment

Positive reinforcements are considerably better at motivating students. This doesn’t mean that students should not be aware that their actions have consequences but students will be more likely to stay motivated when they are in an approachable and supportive environment. If they are threatened for their actions, they would not be motivated to do better and improve themselves but to avoid the sanctions that could be placed upon them. This can be especially draining and will not help in developing their motivation. Reinforcing and encouraging them to utilize their talents and skills is better than laying out the penalties they are going to get when they can’t finish or do certain tasks.

4. Switch up the surroundings

Home tuition generally happens in the student’s home. For some, this can be a better structure than in the confines of the classroom. However, for others, it’s not much different from sitting at a desk all day. With this, it can get repetitive for them and thus, cause them to lose motivation. One good way for them to rekindle their motivation for the subject they are studying is to allow them to leave the desk and move around. This means that there are also several ways for the student to learn while they are moving. For example, if the tutor is teaching them about a certain historical event, they can take the lesson to the museum and show the student the different artifacts pertaining to that event. For Biology, tutors can take their students on a walk in the park while pointing out the life cycle of plants around them. Because the brain thrives on novelty, a new environment may be exactly what they need to help them stay motivated in learning.

5. Use varied activities

It isn’t just the surroundings that can become repetitive. Activities within lessons can also become so and when this happens, it can also cause students to lack the enthusiasm to learn or work. As such, as not all students learn the same, tutors have to understand what ticks their students in order to provide them with the best learning experience that fits their learning style. With this, change up the activities as well. It shouldn’t all be research for a certain subject. You can incorporate games and other materials for the student to help spark their interest. If the student is interested, they will be engaged more and thus, will pay more attention.

6. Make use of healthy competition

Competition isn’t really necessary in home tuition as all the lessons are directed to a single student. unlike in the classroom, they have to vie for the attention of their teacher as well as for the place on top. However, healthy competition against one’s self can also be used as a way to boost student motivation. Encourage the student to compete with their past self or the scores they have already achieved. You can both compare how they did in the present versus how they did in the past and show them the development the student has gone through. This will help them see that they are indeed developing and will boost their motivation to go further even more.

7. Provide rewards when necessary

Everyone enjoys rewards and giving your student the opportunity to earn one is a good way for them to stay motivated. Aside from the goal they are working on, they will also see the reward at the end of their tunnel. Speak with their parents about the best way to go about this and plan ahead. A reward may turn into a bribe when thrown out carelessly. Also, consider your student’s personality. One student may be enthusiastic about something while the other may be apathetic about it.

8. Praise when praise is due

A positive approach is also a better path to take when motivating students. Adults still also yearn for praises and recognition for their hard work and the same can be said for students. Tutors may give out all the rewards they want but by praising their students for their hard work, they may be taking it a step further to help them stay motivated. However, do not overdo praises as it may become patronizing instead of encouraging after a long while. It’s great to receive praises when it is due so tutors can praise the student when they have shown their excellent work in their lessons.

9. Encourage self-awareness

Some students struggle to see their strengths when they are hounded by all their weaknesses. They may see more of their flaws when they are struggling in school and while it’s important to become aware of them, they should also be reminded of their strengths. Encourage the student to examine themselves and not just point out their shortcomings but also their strengths as a way to motivate them. If they are just aware of their flaws, this may turn into self-loathing. Have them write down their strengths and things they can improve on. They can then be made aware to use their strengths to develop their skills further while also helping them get past their struggles and issues. It will also help them in setting their own ambitions and goals.

10. Demonstrate the want to learn

Excitement can become infectious. When the tutor shows their excitement for a certain topic or lesson, chances are they may also share this with their student. Students will also be more inclined to listen to an enthusiastic teacher and will be more interested in learning when they see their tutor also interested in the topic. If the tutor is enthusiastic about teaching, the student can see this as well.

11. Get to know your student better

It takes more than learning your student’s name to actually get to know them. Students must believe that their tutors are also genuinely interested and concerned with them and their achievements. When students see that their tutors are making the effort to get to know them better, they will also feel more valued, seen, and will feel safe in the home tuition environment. They will also strive to work harder for the praises and positive comments they’ll be getting from someone who knows and respects them.

12. Guide them in discovering their innate motivation

While it’s really enjoyable to see students who are inspired in doing what they do, they must also be able to develop their motivation at the end of the day. They can be motivated for different reasons but in the end, tutors should also assist their students in discovering their reasons for performing better and working harder in class. These reasons can be deeply rooted inside of them and tutors can help in making them aware of these reasons whether it’s because they find the subject intriguing, or because they want to enroll in a top university, or because they simply enjoy learning.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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