3 Teaching Tips to Motivate High School Students
Contrary to what some teachers may think, teaching High School students can be a rewarding job. Unlike middle school students, high school students can think for themselves and do not take things for granted. They can think much more abstractly and analytically. They question accepted world views, values and beliefs. Their intelligence rises. More differences in learning styles are becoming much more apparent.
So how can you use these behaviors and characteristics to your advantage? Here are a few tips:
1. Teach interesting topics that lend themselves to thought provoking discussions.
Discussions are an effective way to motivate students to think about difficult topics which can arouse emotional, social and moral aspects of education. Students will often open the way to a discussion with a thought-provoking topic, but you can also look for ideas for interesting topics, just by looking through your reader and/or class textbook. Even when a student asks a question or makes a point is an excellent way to deepen a discussion. So be on the lookout.
2. Take a survey of students’ likes, interests and ideas
High school students know a lot about many different things. Why not use their knowledge to your advantage? You can either distribute a questionnaire to help you find out which subjects interest them the most. You can also ask students to take a vote on the top three units from the textbook. This will also give you an indication of what topic “turns them on.”
3. Make your teaching relevant by using a variety of teaching styles
Don’t use the same teaching styles over and over again. This is surely a recipe for boredom and discipline problems. Instead, find unique ways that will get students excited about what you are teaching. In the past, I’ve used brainstorming, problem solving, prediction, discovery techniques, cooperative learning techniques and other kinds of group work. High school students especially, like to talk with their peers. Just make sure you have a content-rich activity that focuses the students on the topic and not on themselves!
Motivating high school students is not an easy task, but it is definitely rewarding when you successfully engaged them in the right way. Are there any other teaching tips you have for motivating your high school learners? Share them in the comment box and I’ll respond to them. For more useful teaching tips, take a look at my new website, Dorit Sasson, The Teachers’ Diversity Coach: www.DoritSasson.com where I give a variety of topics on how to engage diverse students.