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5 ways to keep children motivated to learn
MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2015 12:08 PM

Everybody knows how frustrating it can be to feel like you aren't catching onto a difficult concept or learning something as quickly as others. For some children, that feeling of frustration can easily lead to apathy and discouragement in their learning. But keeping students motivated to learn is extremely important. After all, anything children are taught in school is meant just as much to prepare them for their future college and careers as it is to help them get good grades and score well on the Common Core State Standards tests. If children are becoming discouraged with their learning, these tools may help you amp up their motivation again:

1. Use hands-on learning
Every child has a different learning style, and for some children, kinetic and visual lessons can make a huge difference in how well they understand a concept. Try to change the way you're teaching different subjects by incorporating visual, auditory and especially hands-on lessons to reach every student in a classroom. Hands-on learning in particular helps students relate concepts to themselves and their environment, which can make complex ideas a lot easier to understand.

2. Get everyone involved
Group activities like teamwork and competition get every student involved in a lesson at once. Often, when students are part of a team, they don't feel as singled out if they don't understand something fully. Plus, when students work together they have fun, stay active and teach each other. Play games, hold group discussions or challenge students in other ways, and make sure everyone is participating.

3. Set reachable goals
The State Standards are designed to help schools and parents create lesson plans that every child can realistically learn. Setting unreasonably high expectations may be a beneficial challenge for some students, but it's a sure way to make others feel frustrated. Set short-term, attainable goals for children so that nobody becomes overwhelmed. 

4. Give them a choice
Whenever possible, let students decide what they want to learn about or how they want to learn something. Giving students a choice in readings or designing projects that allow them to pick their own topics, for instance, are two great ways to keep everyone motivated to learn. Encourage students to delve into topics they're interested in to keep them excited.

5. Celebrate victories
Constructive criticism may be necessary for helping children learn from their mistakes, but using encouragement and celebrating successes are important for keeping them motivated. Something as simple as praise for improvement or a high grade can make a huge difference.