How to Inspire Students to Do Better?

Here’s a funny little quip I ran across recently that made me think in terms of how I teach my students.

“There is no such thing as an attention span. People have infinite attention as long as you are entertaining them!”

I know several students might say I’m too entertaining on occasion… 🙂 But, in general, I have to wonder – if a student is bored, is it a reflection of my teaching style? One of my goals this year is for each student to leave their lesson feeling excited and empowered for the coming week of practice. This is much easier said than done! My logic, however, is that a frustrated, nagging criticism of lack of practice or progress is not very motivating, whereas, genuine praise and encouragement will inspire the student to do better and to meet the expectations set forth. Of course, those students who are practicing and progressing are easy to praise and encourage, but what about those who are slacking off?

How to balance the two aspects of demanding more effort while maintaining an encouraging attitude? I wish I knew! How do you let a student know if you don’t think they’re accomplishing what they should be without crushing their spirit and their desire to learn?

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