Episode 43 5 ways to increase student motivation to learn

In this episode, Dan provides 5 easy ways to increase student motivation in your classroom..

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Show notes

Setting Expectations

  • Setting high expectations is the beginning.
  • If you expect more and expect better it makes you as the teacher become motivational. You do more to help and guide and students respond to this… It motivates them to achieve for you!
  • Eg
    • Expecting students to structure their paragraphs correctly and plan their essays results in more students doing this. It also results in you reminding them more setting time aside to help them get this done, teaching it to them explicitly all resulting in greater student motivation to get this done and this results in greater revelation of their understanding.

Prior Success

  • Hattie and Yates cover this well in their book “Visible Learning and the science of how we learn” which is a book I highly recommend.
  • The idea here applies to situations that students begin to find difficult and frustrating or maybe even just as you introduce content. 
  • At this point you remind the student of a similar time when they had similar new content or were similarly stuck and frustrated, but overcame it and successfully learnt something new or created a fantastic product.
  • eg)
    • Struggling to get started with a story, or long essay. Remind them of the last time they had a similar issue and ask them how they overcome this issue to produce something last time.


  • By connecting things to the real world you are providing meaning to the learning for your students. 
  • Providing meaning and showing them how what they are learning applies to real life you increase their motivation and help them to want to learn.
  • E.g.
    • Having students create food plans for their family for a week or 2 that is both healthy and within their own budget.

Success path

  • Make sure they know where they are going, and what it looks like when they get there.
  • Learning goals, success criteria and examples all improves student motivation as they can see where they are going.

Start with Why?

  • What is the point?
  • If students don’t know why they are learning something why would they bother learning it
  • Often connecting your learning goals with authenticity will help to provide the why, but without it the how and the what are no good.
  • It is about persuasion and to persuade you must address the why!

Have fun

  • Make the learn it fun! 
  • If something is boring it reduces motivation and learning.
  • Biggest negative effect size from Hattie.
  • So, find ways to make it a game, or something to make what they are doing and how they are doing it fun.

Leave a comment below and tell me how you have increased your students' motivation to learn


  1. Kate Bruce

    Started with ‘WHY’ today with a very challenging class and it was great! The students really understood the purpose of learning the content and made great connections. Thanks Dan

    1. Daniel Jackson Post author

      That is fantastic Kate. I’m so glad that this small change was so helpful. I love hearing these kinds of stories.🙂

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