Motivating Students to Learn and Achieve in Art

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					                                             S t u d e n t - Te a c h e r               Survival                  Guide

                                             Motivating Students
                                               to Learn and Achieve in Art
                                                Motivate (v) – to provide with an incentive; to move to action; to impel

Pam Stephens

            s a teacher candidate, the    2. Help students develop a sense of
            act of motivating your stu-   competency.                                 Checklist	of	Student	Motivators
            dents to learn and achieve    Students of all ages feel capable and
            in art might seem to be a     more confident in their learning when       • Praise for a job well done.
daunting chore. Perhaps you are asking    they are provided opportunities to tri-
yourself how you, as a novice educa-                                                  • Good phone calls or notes home.
                                          umph over challenging assignments.
tor, can go about setting the stage       Provide coursework that prompts             • Display student work.
for quality art learning that leads to    students to think deeply about their        • Attend events with students.
student achievement. While there is       beliefs or actions. For instance, stu-
no singular or simple answer to that                                                  • Say “thank you” often.
                                          dents of all ages are capable of contem-
query, this article provides three key    plating who can be an artist or what        • Laugh when the occasion calls
conditions to contemplate as you          can be an art. Further, make sure that        for it.
develop your teaching strategy. Keep      assignments stretch imaginations.
in mind that students who are intrinsi-                                               • Greet students by name, not only
                                          Instead of giving rigid instructions,         in the artroom but elsewhere.
cally motivated to learn are more apt     give flexible parameters that encourage
to achieve and produce higher quality     varied and unique solutions.                • Let students know that you love
work. Extrinsic rewards such as candy,                                                  what you do.
parties, or other treats are short-term   3. Help each student feel a vital part      • Model that learning is a life-long
approaches that rarely contribute to      of the learning environment.                  endeavor. Remember that gaps
learning and achievement.                 Use an active listening approach.             in your own knowledge are
                                          Always clarify that you understand            opportunities to learn with your
1. Help students become active partici-   what a student asks or responds. Ask:         students.
pants in their own learning.              “Do I understand correctly…?” to
Allow students to have input into set-    make sure that you correctly compre-
ting classroom policies, procedures,      hend the conversation. Avoid sarcasm
goals, and activities. Students who set   in all responses to student inquiries
guidelines are more likely to live by     or comments. Be clear in approval and
                                                                                     Photo: Student teacher Shelly Scott actively
them. Here are two examples. First-       disapproval of student actions. Disci-
                                                                                     listens and provides feedback about a stu-
grade students who set rules about        pline in private; praise in public.        dent’s artwork.
acceptable limits for talking in class
usually become self-enforcers. High       Reference                                  Dr. Pam Stephens is a SchoolArts advisory
school students who are provided          American Heritage Dictionary of            board member and she coordinates the art
opportunities to select whether to          the English Language. Fourth Ed.,        education program at Northern Arizona
work alone or in a group are more apt       2000. Retrieved from www.bartleby.       University, Flagstaff. Send questions or com-
to stay on task.                            com/61/                                  ments to

WEB	 SchoolArts   March 2007