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Terrific Teaching Tips, Issue #035-- January 2013 Ezine
January 01, 2013

I hope you had a well deserved rest and a great holiday with your family and friends. Believe you me, this second term will seem to go by much faster than the first term. Before you know it, your March/winter break will be here.

There is a lot to do in the next several months and you have to motivate yourself as well as your students. So this newsletter is all about the "Qualities of an Effective Motivator" and what to keep in mind while you are teaching in your classroom.

Without doubt your attitude about yourself affects student motivation. It takes a mature person with a good self-concept to handle a classroom filled with 30 or so different personalities, ethnic backgrounds, different academic levels, etc.

If you look down on yourself, your profession or the school environment, you will set the stage for failure rather than success in motivating your students to learn. Remember, you must act as the learning leader continously.

This may be hard to take, but PERFECTION is NOT what you want in yourself, your students or your classroom. We live in an imperfect world. Your imperfect students come from imperfect homes. We as teachers are imperfect as well. If you don't keep that in mind, our motivational approach and the specifications we take may have little chance to succeed. Remember, strive for excellence not perfection.

Remember, it's hard to motivate students if they are feeling anxious, nervous and do not comprehend what you are saying/teaching. Therefore, you need to get them relaxed before you can give out directions or explanations. Here are some signs that you may notice and then you need to stop and provide reaffirmation and assurances before they continue on their task.

They may experience rapid breathing, short breaths, rubbing the back of their neck or head, hand wringing, sighing or covering their mouth. These are all signs of anxiety, nervousness and frustration, not reluctance or apathy.

Make adjustments designed to give confidence, repeat instructions (individual counselling may be necessary) and you'll be a better motivator.

If students are hesitant about risk taking, motivating students can definitely be effective. Here are a few facts to keep in mind:

1. Students/people are more fearful of immediate risks rather than future ones.

2. The more people know about the risks the less fearful they are.

3. People are less concerned about familiar risks than the unknown. For example true or false questions rather than essay questions.

Remember these when attempting attemting to motivate your students.

"Talking" about school work is known to stimulate better work. Most teachers talk openly, freely and often encourage student discussion about academic work. Here's how you cn promote that:

1. Change the physical setup of your room and the decor. Please read my pages about classroom layout and classroom seating arrangements.

2. Encourage conversation about academic work by making paired assignments, groups (3-4)projects, reporting in front of the class (speeches), and initiating open discussion.

3. Link classroom work with real life experiences - you can do that with so many different subjects.

The more you promote talking about school work, the more you will motivate your students.

Don't forget that the telephone is a valuable device for motivating students. Writing notes in their agenda/planner are very effective. But, you may be amazed at the response you will get from your students and/or parents. Just remember, not to use your home phone line. The telephone is quick, personal, easy and positively effective as a motivator.

The last thing I want to mention as an effective motivator is a tried and true method which I found tremendously motivating.

Try to have a private conversation with each one of your students. Finding out their interests, likes and dislikes, etc. at the beginning is a fabulous motivating tactic.

If you have time, do this during the year and especially at the end of the year. Remind your students that next year is a new beginning and a new opportunity. We start fresh each year and it is never too late to learn.

Hopefully, I have given you a few suggestions and you can use some of these motivating techniques with your students.

"Motivation is a phenominal tool. Handle it with pride and love."

Over my years of teaching, I have mentored numerous new and inexperienced teachers. Even now, I mentor student teachers that I evaluate when they practice teach duirng their school placements.

Until now I have responded to many questions from my readers via email. I am now adding a more personal touch for those of you who wish to speak with me directly. For only $49 U.S. during a one month span, I will provide one hour or two half hour sessions where we can either meet in person (locally in Toronto), speak over the phone (Canada or U.S.A) or use SKYPE to discuss any issues you want to bring up.

If you are interested in me being your mentoring consultant please use the contact me form on my website. On the form please indicate what you wish to discuss and provide me with your contact info and we can arrange a meeting time.

Happy New Year everyone!!! Enjoy January 2013!!!

Happy trails,


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