Motivation

What does motivation mean?

Motivation is the reason why someone acts or behaves in a certain way. There are internal things that motivate us, like doing an activity because we enjoy it. There are also external things that motivate us, like being rewarded with praise or prizes. Knowing what motivates kids is a good way to keep them interested and engaged in activities.

Who has motivation challenges?

Kids differ in what motivates them. For example, some kids might be very motivated by the sense of achievement in improving the way they can perform a dance step or routine. They will happily practise dancing for a long time. Some kids might be more motivated by socialising, and will be more interested in talking with other kids rather than practising dance skills. Other kids will be very motivated when tackling a big challenging task like learning a new skill, whereas some kids might be disheartened by challenges like these. Knowing what motivates each child and what they find rewarding is important for dance teachers to understand.

What might be some challenges in the dance class?

Kids who lack motivation might look disinterested or bored. They may not follow through on instructions, and they may need a lot of encouragement to get involved.

If unsure, ask the child

  • If a child isn’t motivated to dance, think about what might motivate them to participate. Ask the child what activities they enjoy most. Ask the child questions like: What do you like about dancing? What dance steps or movement activities do you enjoy the most? Is there anything in dance class that you really don’t like?

Use rewards to motivate

  • Rewards can be used to motivate a child. The most effective rewards will be things that the child thinks are important or that the child enjoys. For example, this could be a block of time doing an activity they love as a reward. Praising a child for good effort can also be rewarding.

Match the dance exercise to the skill level of the child

  • Feeling like you are getting better at something can be very rewarding. In contrast, if a task is always very challenging, it can become disheartening and can reduce self-confidence. Pitch the dance exercises and movement activities at a level that allows the child to experience success, increasing the level of difficulty gradually over time. Success and improvement can act as motivators.

Select appropriate music

  • Use music that students like increases motivation, enjoyment, and commitment. Let students choose music for certain parts of the class, for example, the warm-up.

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