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Boosting Student Motivation from Within: Tips to Foster Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroo

Updated: Jul 15

This is the age old question - how can you motivate students and maintain classroom expectations without physical rewards or token systems? How can I get my students to make choices, manage their noise and always put 100% effort into their learning?

I can't claim to hold the magic solution, I can share insights, tips, and resources that can nudge you in the right direction.

Intrinsic motivation

Before we delve into strategies, let's first clarify what intrinsic motivation is. This form of motivation stems from an internal desire to engage in an activity because it brings satisfaction and personal joy, rather than being driven by external rewards or influences. In essence, intrinsically motivated students learn because they genuinely love learning. It's this powerful, self-fueled drive that we aim to nurture and cultivate in our classrooms.

Incorporating intrinsic motivation into your teaching practice involves understanding your students, acknowledging their achievements, and fostering a culture that values learning for its own sake. Let's explore how these principles can be put into action to create an environment that promotes and sustains intrinsic motivation.

Fostering a Sense of Pride

An example of the Proud Program from Sherbert Learning

Initiating conversations around intrinsic motivation can be a great starting point. Specifically, using the word 'proud' can effectively convey this concept, especially for younger students. Here are some prompts:

  • Discuss instances that make students feel proud.

  • Predict situations that might instill pride during the academic year.

  • Brainstorm areas beyond academics where students might feel a sense of pride.

The goal is to respect, recognize, and incorporate these feelings of pride into the classroom environment.

Celebrating and keeping track

Another step towards nurturing intrinsic motivation involves celebrating students' achievements and aiding their self-recognition of progress. This can be facilitated through explicit learning goals and visible tracking systems.

One method I've found successful is providing 'Proud' notes for students to place in their books whenever they're exceptionally satisfied with their work. Not only does this help students highlight their achievements, but it also allows you as a teacher to quickly acknowledge their efforts—easily fostering intrinsic motivation.

Sample of student work and example I'm proud slips from the Proud Program from Sherbert Learning

In addition, I use a learning journal, which serves as a record of students' learning progress. More about this will be shared in an upcoming blog post, but a free version can be found HERE.

Example learning goals from the Sherbert Learning: Learning Journals

A few adjustments and a focus on the positives already happening in students' lives can be instrumental in promoting intrinsic motivation. Encourage them to take pride in their accomplishments and set achievable learning goals. Witness the transformation as they light up with the thrill of personal achievement—it's truly worth the effort!


The Proud Program from Sherbert Learning

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