5 Tips to Motivate Reluctant Students (Guest Post)

Every class is a mixed bag – some kids are naturally talented while others get to the top through hard work and effort; some are innately enthusiastic while the rest need a little nudge to get them going; and some are lazy even though they have brains, while others cannot be more than mediocre no matter how much they try.

To put it simply, academia is not for everyone, but since schooling is necessary to lay down a strong foundation for later life, some students have to be motivated to do what they’re reluctant to do, yet what must be done. As a teacher who has your students’ best interests at heart, here’s what you can do to help them find motivation:

  1. Help them identify what they can get out of it – if they’re reluctant to work on improving their grades, impress upon them the fact that grades are important if they want admission to the college and degree of their choice. This kind of motivation works for students who are ambitious and talented but a bit too lazy to work towards achieving their goals.
  2. Explain why it is necessary – most students question the wisdom of homework and other school-related tasks in and outside the classroom. The best way to motivate them to get these tasks done is to explain to them why they’re necessary in the larger scheme of things. When they understand why, it’s easier for them to get down to the task and do it willingly.
  3. Provide incentives – I don’t mean you must bribe them, just that the thought of a reward, no matter how small it is, helps push them towards their goal. If they’re reluctant to attend extra lessons (which they need in order to improve their grades), the promise of just four classes as opposed to five could work wonders in improving their attitude towards these classes and motivating them to attend whole-heartedly.
  4. Use the threat of punishment – the jurors are still out on the efficacy of this method of motivation, but the threat of punishment does help in certain kinds of situations. The punishment could be self-inflicted, like failure in an exam – telling your students that the test ahead is going to be very tough and that unless they study hard, they’re likely to fail, is a surefire way of getting them to start preparing immediately.
  5. Show them the shortcuts – there’s nothing like the easy way out when it comes to doing things. So when you show your students how to take a shortcut to success when they’re reluctant to do something, you provide them with the motivation to tackle the job without hesitancy. Their minds are now programmed to look at the task as “easy”, and this makes them want to attempt and succeed at it.

Motivation has to come from within, so when you’re attempting to motivate students who are reluctant to do what must be done, you must be able to tap something inside them and make them want to do it rather than force them into doing it. Willingness and acceptance of the task are aspects that play a significant role in the success of motivation.


This guest post is contributed by Mark Davies, he writes on the topic of Masters Degree Online. He welcomes your comments at his email id: markdavies247(@)gmail(.)com.

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One response to “5 Tips to Motivate Reluctant Students (Guest Post)”

  1. Hi Mark,

    I have been reading a book called "Boys Drift" that deals with the lack of motivation that is affecting this new generation. I have noticed this myself for quite some time now. I hope your tips will be able to help out teachers everywhere.

    Thanks for an excellent guest post.