Recently, Jesus Zeus Salas presented as a motivational speaker at the Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Centers Extravaganza Day. Below, Jesus Salas shares some of his tips for how teachers, parents, and mentors can better inspire and motivate their students to use education to achieve greatness.
Make Lessons Meaningful
One of the most common questions that teachers hear is why do I have to learn this? Making education relevant to students lives and individual sense of curiosity is crucial to ensuring that they will be engaged in the classroom. Tie lessons into students personal goals, focus on local manifestations of broader concepts, and find out what students are interested in learning about.
Students are under enough pressure to fit in socially, understand their position in their family, and figure out how to navigate the world at large. Taking some of the pressure off of students at school can turn the classroom from a source of stress into a refuge, and one of the best ways to do that is to be a source of praise rather than criticism. Focus on what students are doing well and encourage them to do more of it.
Give Students Responsibility
When students feel like valued members of a learning environment, they tend to be more invested. By doling out responsibilities to students, such as keeping bookshelves tidy, running a message to another teacher, or helping younger students, you can help them feel like part of a community.
Empower students to succeed by giving them plenty of opportunities to succeed at the things in which they excel. Empower them to make their own decisions by handing over some classroom control to them (survey them about when they want to take breaks, what topics interest them, what types of learning activities they prefer). Empower them to grow personally by acting as a role model and by fostering a sense of respect in the classroom.
Learn What Students Care About
A laid-back student who is passionate about music is unlikely to respond to messages about using education as a way to succeed in business. Get to know each individual student, and tailor messages towards their individual values. Not only will this show that you are invested in students lives, it will also allow you to inspire them in ways that will stick.
For more information on what motivates students to succeed, take a look at the following online resources: