Proven Strategies to Motivate Math Learners

Everyone can agree that math doesn’t form the best or favorite subject for most students in school. As such, it becomes essential to improve the perception and love for math as it forms a critical pillar in almost every sector of the world economy presently. But how can you accomplish this in the current student setup?

Motivation plays a key role to embrace and love math for most students in high school. It can prove intrinsic or extrinsic, but what matters entails teachers focusing on those who lack interest in math as they would equally do on motivated students. Extrinsic motivation arises from a desire to succeed based on factors outside a learner’s control. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation comes about by the desire of students to perform a task, outperform other students, or impressing others. 

So how can you motivate students to love maths?

Effective Strategies for Motivating Learners in Math

  • Focus on a void within a student’s knowledge. You have to reveal a knowledge gap within a learner’s understanding to spur them into learning more. For example, reveal a gap in comprehension when it comes to a subject, by presenting the more familiar aspects in the form of an exercise. Thereafter, give out the more complicated or unfamiliar aspects of the subject, to promote motivation.
  • Illustrate a sequence of achievements. You can have your students appreciate concepts designed in a logical order.  
  • Discover the configuration. Creating a situation that can allow learners to unearth a pattern often proves motivating. It’s because they find pleasure in discovering and owning such an idea. 
  • Give out a challenge. Most students tend to react enthusiastically to intellectual challenges. It becomes, therefore, essential to challenge them with a real problem that can result in a meaningful lesson.   
  • Tempt the class using the “gee-whiz” math outcome. You can use diverse examples to demonstrate the counterintuitive nature of the math realm. A sample entails the birthday challenge to motivate students on a probability concept.
  • Point out the significance of a subject. It can prove wise to introduce an aspect of practicality in your subject to increase motivation. For instance, in a geometry lesson, use a real plate in calculating diameters, etc. 
  • Employ the use of recreational math such as games, puzzles, paradoxes, etc. However, pick objects or devices that prove simple to enable motivation. As such, the technique can allow learners to finish the recreation effortlessly. 
  • Narrate an appropriate story. It can entail a narration about a historical event or an artificial situation. However, you have to take care and not rush the storytelling aspect to ensure maximum motivation.
  • Try and get students to get involved in math curiosity justifications. It’s an effective technique in trying to motivate the learner about math. For instance, a fact where the total of a number’s digits becomes divisible by nine, the initial number also proves divisible by nine.


It’s always crucial for a math instructor to understand what the learner’s basic motives entail when it comes to learning math. Understanding this can make it easy to toy around the motivation in maximizing engagement and enhancing how effective the teaching process becomes.


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