How to Raise Learner's Motivation during Covid time

Priyanka Nath, PGT (English) Rampur Higher Secondary School

As the whole world is witnessing the wrath of a pandemic which has altered the state of developed and developing countries as a whole, an important section of our society is suffering silently with the fear of an uncertain future. They are not other than the students who are the precious gems of our nation. They bear the responsibility of nation building task. In their solder lies the heavy duty of strengthening the foundation of our country. So, it becomes a matter of concern when we come to the point of how to keep them motivated during the course of this pandemic situation. A teacher has to play a multifaceted role in this time as he would have to carry on the regular academic courses on distance mode and also to keep track of the mental state of his or her students.

Undoubtedly the person to person communication between the students and teachers is most suitable for the teaching learning process. But as the situation has commanded us in a different way, we are likely to take up the modes provided by digital technology. The teacher community also has to stand up to the challenging task of not only transitioning and adapting to online modes of instruction but also multi-tasking through learning new technology, advising, having online office hours, attending official meetings, responding to students who would request Zoom meetings outside of office hours, and much more. Everyone came together with one underlying motive—students' benefit. Now, as we look forward, we need to make decisions based on a long-term perspective. Student motivation will be a major concern, This article delves into approaches for constructive student engagement that can help raise student motivation.

Teaching is based on the "Boomerang principle," which implies what one gives, one gets in return. We can understand it in a way that when we put more effort on keeping the students engaged constructively, there's more chance of students being reciprocated, involved and progressive. And this does not end here. Continuous student involvement and engagement adds fuel to teacher motivation. In order to live and practice this Boomerang principle, there has to be mutual trust, mutual admiration, and mutual motivation.

Students get motivated when they know their voices are being heard and there is a process for student feedback.Student feedback on various topics like the progress of course, course content, associated tasks, online aids used, etc., should be considered at regular intervals, and their suggestions, if feasible, should be incorporated. This will keep students motivated and involved in the course.

Motivation is infectious. Motivation begets motivation. A positive flow of energy from the teacher is definitely going to be caught on by the students and vice versa. During these challenging times, it becomes even more necessary to diligently select online, in-person, or hybrid tasks that are out of the box and motivate students.

Designing tasks that are challenging for accomplished students while not overwhelming other students is always a tough job. Teachers not only have to select tasks judiciously but also need to be aware of the middle-path theory. Designing anything below this will serve as a demotivating factor for students who are above grade level. Designing anything above this will be too challenging and again serve as a demotivating factor for students who are below or near average grade level. This is where technology and visual tools come into play. Bundling up tasks with online technology aids will help students below the grade level to keep them motivated. Providing an option to obtain extra credit on performing additional challenging tasks will keep students above the grade level motivated. Enabling extra credit for going beyond the task, bundled with precise feedback, will also work in a two-thronged way as it will also address the first implication. Extra credit will act as a motivator for students above the grade level to accept challenging tasks, whereas students below the grade level will be motivated to complete the task or follow feedback for improvement.

Students should understand the value attached with what they are learning and where it will be applied in their future lives to keep them motivated. Instead of teachers telling students the importance of each underlying topic, it would be beneficial if students are directed to find out through directed readings and experiential learning the relevance and future application of each topic. During these challenging times when unemployment is on the rise, students should be asked to list and find out more about their 'dream jobs' Following this, teachers could ask students to discuss how the current course topics will be applied in the workplace of their 'dream jobs', and how the current course topics might be part of their future employment interview process.

The current pandemic scenario where teachers must deal with pandemic learning modes, student motivation is of paramount importance. Therefore, by adopting the above mentioned ways we can bring out the best outcome of the teaching learning process.

References:

  1. Pintrich, P. R. (2003). A motivational science perspective on the role of student motivation in learning and teaching contexts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 (4), 667-686.
  2. Weimer, Maryellen (2018). Five Keys to Motivating Students. The Teaching Professor (ISSN 2578-9899).