How to motivate students for lifelong learning

It’s a well-known fact that students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to be engaged in the classroom, find meaning in their work, and are more resilient. Motivation is what drives us forward in life, yet many find it to be a puzzle since there isn’t one single factor to explain motivation.

We are all motivated to grow and develop. Students are naturally curious and inclined to learn about their environment. That is intrinsic motivation.

At the same time, many classroom practices still focus only on external rewards such as grades, badges, and praise. That is extrinsic motivation.

While both are important and need to coexist, the first makes students lifelong learners, in which the activity itself is enough. In order words, they find joy in learning. Teachers can guide students in developing intrinsic motivation, although the status quo still pushes for external rewards despite the evidence that it doesn’t work in the long run. For example, giving students money for every book they read is just as ineffective as chastising them for not reading.

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