5 Elements Needed to Build Motivation, Resilience, and Career Readiness in your Students

Teachers are the key to student learning success. Teachers face many challenges every day not the least of which is keeping their students engaged and motivated. Motivating students is not an easy task.  Researchers have found motivation is influenced by some psychological and behavioral factors, both in and outside the classroom. To compound the challenge, strategies and methods for teaching motivation in traditional teacher education programs are limited.

The National Council on Teacher Quality’s December 2013 report entitled Training Our Future Teachers, mentions only 43% of the 213 programs they analyzed had training instruction devoted to motivation. Yet, motivation does matter; it contributes to a student’s academic and behavior success. Several of the suggestions for building motivation in the classroom are evoked by the research presented in Motivation Matters: How New Research Can Help Teachers Boost Student Engagement. This report was published in July 2015 by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 

There are many definitions of resilience and career-readiness. The College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS Center), located at the American Institutes for Research, published a report in September 2014 entitled, Overview: State Definitions of College and Career Readiness. The CCRS Center found definitions of college and career readiness existed in 36 states and the District of Columbia.  Surprisingly, the overwhelming majority (33 out of 37) used a combined definition of college and career readiness. The CCRS Center’s analysis found six actionable skill categories included in the definitions with 21 states including four of the six categories. One of the six categories was called grit/resilience/perseverance.

The American Psychological Association has a brochure called The Road to Resilience. In their brochure, they state, “Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.” The brochure also mentions one of the primary elements that help to develop and strengthen a person’s resilience is having relationships both within and outside the family “…that create love and trust, provide role models and offer encouragement and reassurance…” 

So what specifically can a great teacher do to build motivation, resilience, and career-readiness in their students?

Encourage a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset can be taught by teachers and learned by students. For more background and information about the concept of a growth mindset, see The Glossary of Education Reform. Here are Ten Ways Teachers Can Instill a Growth Mindset in Students.

Help Students Develop Self-Confidence

Students with healthy levels of self-confidence believe they can learn and are generally more engaged with their teachers and peers. Suggestions for activities and techniques to help your students develop self-confidence can be found here: How to Build a Student’s Self Confidence.

Be a Great Role Model

A great teacher can certainly be a terrific role model for extending encouragement and reassurance to their students. To be a great role model, it is important for a teacher to demonstrate confidence, stay positive, and display an optimistic outlook. Given the combined everyday challenges of life and working as a teacher, this is certainly easier said than done.  

Help Students Deal with Crises

Discussion of current events with students does not have to be limited to history class. Sadly, there are many potentially distressing events in the world today that can and should be talked about in class, even if it is a math or art class. Teachers can help their students to reflect and respond to current events and to help them envision a better future.

Help Students to Become Responsible for Their Own Success

There are a variety of ways teachers can help their students to become more responsible for their own success. One particularly helpful blog can be found here: 10 WAYS TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR LEARNING…

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