How do I motivate students who don’t want to do anything at all?
— B., Utah
If you ever solve this, you’ll be up for a Nobel Prize!
There is no sure-fire method that will motivate every student. So, use several methods. You can engage students’ interest in the content you are teaching by having them suggest their own ideas to investigate. For instance, a student who is interested in basketball could wonder how a ball’s pressure affects how high it bounces, which would be conducive to an experiment.
Flexibility in how some assignments are completed allows students to demonstrate their strengths and their knowledge. A rapper or musician could summarize a lesson in a music video. An artist might want to create a graphic novel. Look up multiple intelligences and universal design for learning for more ideas.
Bring in some speakers who can act as role-models, particularly school alumni if possible. Ask your speaker to talk about their challenges and how they got to where they are now. Likely, education would have been the key to their success. This may have more impact than you might expect.
Good luck, and please let me know if you ever find the right answer!
Hope this helps!