It won’t be a secret that more and more students do not want to read and write. One of the reasons may be that students simply do not see any point in it. It can cause them some problems in the future. But making them read and write won’t do any good either.
Larry Ferlazzo, an education blogger and a teacher, in his book “Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies to Help Students Thrive in School and Beyond”, explains how a teacher can motivate their students easily, without any harm.
People won’t do something they do not want to. A situation with students is even more complicated. When adults already know what they want in their lives and how to achieve it, youngsters don’t understand why they have to do anything.
If you want a students read and write, first of all, they should want to do it as well. Without any desire, they won’t even start. As for the reading part, a teacher should encourage their students to choose what those would like to read, what they may find interesting and joyful. In other words, something that can bring them pleasure.
How often do you do something you are not good at? Not often, we guess. Or perhaps never. Therefore, you should not make students do what they are not good enough at. A student may perform well at first, but in a while, they can lose interest.
For this case, teachers should watch students’ progress all the time so that they can see whether the effectiveness rises—or at least stays the same—or drops. It is better to compare a student’s results on performance at the beginning of a year and or at the end. A student should know that too to reflect on their progress.
Students can be motivated to write when they use writing as a way of communication, connection with teachers, family and friends, and getting feedback from them. If you want them to read more, they would be glad to discuss with a teacher or peers what they are reading at the moment. It usually evokes greater interest in reading.
As it was mentioned at the beginning of the article, students may not understand why they need to read and write. In this case, a teacher should explain how respective skills can be helpful in the future. However, teacher should mind that constant accentuation on that can be harmful to a student if they are not interested in a subject.
Given that the high percentage of young people do not like reading—and also English lessons—a teacher should emphasize the importance of literacy in achieving goals in the future.
Extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation is connected with what students feel when they read and write. It can be enjoyment, for example (people always try to motivate children to read for their pleasure). However, it may not work. You should pay attention to extrinsic motivation, which is about the importance of such skills. Students cannot want to do something for joy. It has to have some value in their lives.
There are two questions that students can ask a teacher: “Why are we learning it?” and “How are we going to use it?” In fact, if we hear them rarely, we can feel relieved everything is going well. But in case a student still asks one, there is no problem to explain all those things of autonomy, relatedness, and relevance. On the other hand, if those questions appear more and more often, it might be a sign to provide intrinsic motivation.