“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” – Kobe Bryant
Inspiration strikes when we are mentally stimulated to do or feel something. It is often linked to creative ideas; however, it also plays an important role in student life. Those who are more inspired in their daily lives are more likely to set inspired goals. The basis of these goals is much stronger, making them more likely to be attained successfully. But what actually inspires students and how can we help spark their inspiration?
What Inspires Students?
The Inspiration Scale is a measure of inspiration developed by psychologists. It demonstrates how those who are more inspired are typically more open to new experiences, and tend to be more invested in their work. Research shows that students who scored higher on the Inspiration Scale demonstrated more progress in achieving their goals, when compared to those who felt less inspired.
Many things can be a source of inspiration for students, and they can differ from person to person. Some students may find their inspiration in an English classroom, whilst others may find it reading a book, seeing their peers do well or from their teacher. It is important to find ways to keep students excited about learning by motivating them.
Evidence suggests that being exposed to role models can enhance motivation. Students were exposed to two scientists: Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein. The results found that students felt more motivated after learning about Edison, as his success was associated with effort, as opposed to the inborn talent seen in Einstein. This is possibly because students see his success as more achievable and will begin to believe that they are capable of achieving such great things too. This exposure to a potential role model has now inspired students.
As suggested by popular writer Elizabeth Gilbert in her TED talk, inspiration is not willed – it just happens. We mustn’t try to force students to become inspired, instead we should provide them with different opportunities to spark their inspiration. Here are 4 ways you can help inspire your students:
- Give students the chance to show off what they know. When students are given such opportunities, they often put in more effort and go the extra mile to make their presentation the best it can be. Not only will this help build their confidence, but can also inspire them to develop a deeper understanding of the topic they are researching.
- Bring more energy to the classroom. It is difficult to feel inspired if classes are monotonous and students are only working because they have to, not because they want to. Try different ways to energise your students; maybe take breaks to get up and walk around, or incorporate technology into your teaching. When students are enthusiastic about learning, they will become inspired to work hard.
- Focus on intrinsic motivation. As we know, motivation is key to inspiring students. This type of motivation includes a passion for the subject, or a desire to challenge themselves. Take the time to consider how to motivate students and their inspiration will soon follow.
- Encourage classroom discussions. It is common for everyone, and particularly students, to get into a habit of making decisions based solely on their own point of view. Giving students the chance to discuss topics with their peers will open their eyes up to new and fresh perspectives, whilst enhancing their self-awareness. This can inspire them to try different things that may lead to positive changes in their success.
Being inspired is something many of us desire. We want to feel the spark that keeps us motivated whilst working, and enjoy what we’re doing. Whilst inspiration is not something we can just switch on and off, there are ways we can create more opportunities to be inspired. Students need inspiration as much as anyone, especially given its positive effects on achieving goals. Inspire your students by making learning more exciting and challenging them in ways that will further their personal and academic development.
We have put together free resource six-packs to help support you during lockdown. There is something for everyone: teachers, parents and students. Download them for free here.
We also recommend our free printable goal setting worksheets. They will help students develop and maintain a good routine to promote their learning and well-being during lockdown.