How to Motivate Students’ Interest in Higher Education

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Dr. Ionel Coltea

How to Motivate Students’ Interest in Higher Education

Teachers must know how to motivate students’ interest in higher education, and there are many ways to do so. Students are motivated in two different ways: intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsic motivation is focused on the content of the course and extrinsic motivation is driven by grades and specific outcomes. Intrinsic motivation is typically higher in students who are interested in pursuing an education, regardless of the field of study.

One way to increase student motivation is to clarify the meaning of the subject and ensure all students have a sense of worth. When students feel like they are being judged unfairly or not given the proper recognition, they may lose their motivation. Make sure all students feel valued and included in the classroom by providing specific feedback and fostering competition. By providing a sense of competition, students will be more motivated to achieve their academic goals.

Another way to increase interest is to structure learning activities in a way that evokes positive feelings. Dewey believed that educational activities should awaken individual needs, and Berlyne determined that students respond best to visual stimuli that vary in complexity and arousal. By altering the visual environment of an educational task, students increased their attention and arousal and showed an interest in the subject. This study has been the basis for many educational interventions.

To motivate students to pursue higher education, teachers must first identify what the students are interested in. Then, they must leverage those interests to spur interest in a new subject. Educators have an instinctive way of designing courses based on interests. Nevertheless, it is often difficult to cater to a large, heterogeneous group of students without prior research on what motivates their students. So, what educators should do is to use this understanding to develop innovative educational methods.

Role models can help students develop an appreciation for the subject. Studies show that students who identify with a role model are more likely to find the subject matter interesting. For instance, female students were more likely to cite the teacher as a positive influence on their lives than male students. However, this type of role model can be an ideal student, invited guest speaker, or other peers. If the student doesn’t have a role model, they can emulate a role model who shares their interests.

Teachers can encourage students’ interests by identifying specific triggers that increase interest. These triggers are useful in promoting interest in STEM subjects. For example, if they are able to persuade their parents of the benefits of STEM subjects, they might be more likely to take these elective courses. In addition, this type of motivational strategy can encourage at-risk and struggling students to pursue higher education.

Teachers can help students gain confidence by providing positive feedback and guiding them to improve their work. By showing them what they can improve, teachers can also motivate students by highlighting their contributions to a class or assignment. It is also important for teachers to give feedback and acknowledge the effort of their students publicly. If possible, teachers should give their students the names of those who contributed to their work. This way, students will feel proud of themselves.

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