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Motivation is probably the most important factor that educators can target in order to improve learning. Numerous cross-disciplinary theories have been postulated to explain motivation. While each of these theories has some truth, no single theory seems to adequately explain all human motivation. The fact is that human beings in general and students in particular are complex creatures with complex needs and desires. With regard to students, very little if any learning can occur unless students are motivated on a consistent basis. The five key ingredients impacting student motivation are: student, teacher, content, method/process, and environment. The focus of this article is to provide the educator with suggestions from each of the five key ingredient areas that can be used to motivate his or her students. What is the best way to motivate students? The short answer is that all of the strategies enumerated in this paper can be used…as often as possible. Educators could start just by choosing and trying three new possibilities for enriching student motivation. Or, more importantly, educators could watch themselves and their own behaviors to become self-aware of new understandings about motivation.



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