Many factors affect the motivation of a student to learn, including attitude and personal and familial educational background. I believe that all students want to learn, but some don't know that they want to learn, especially in school. A student's or their family's past experiences with school affects their desire to be educated; poor, discouraging or uncaring educational experiences negatively affect their attitude toward being taught formally, as a positive school history would positively influence their motivation to learn. Some students feel that they are poor students or not good learners, and require extra support to demonstrate that they can learn well.

Establishing a well ordered environment where the student feels safe, cared for, and supported is a good way to begin the process of motivation. In this safe place, the teacher should maintain positive expectations for all students, setting each student up for success, providing the environment and assistance to help the student to get there. Each success should help build confidence, and with confidence can come hope of repeated success, which is an intrinsic motivation. Finding out about each student, starting a lesson with a question to raise interest and curiosity, making the learning relevant to each student, caring and supporting, and explicitly teaching the basic, underlying skills should all work together to establish motivation in a classroom.

Along with successes, students need to feel safe and comfortable to speak, try, and make mistakes in order to learn. I encourage all of my students to try their best and to participate in everything; mistakes are excellent teaching devices, often pushing learning further; I let my students know that I embrace these mistakes.

In my teaching, I use positive reinforcement constantly and consistently, preferring to let my students know when they are doing the right thing and making good choices. I am not opposed to the use of extrinsic rewards, but I believe that each student has something that will motivate him or her intrinsically; if the teacher can successfully reach it. If I am unable to intrinsically motivate a student, then extrinsic rewards can be appropriate, but I think that they should be gradually removed to be replaced by intrinsic motivation. Allowing the student to take pride in his or her accomplishments is among the best motivators. I have used sticker charts to encourage positive behavior and work, and a Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) strategy called Super Scientist awards that allow students to identify and put words to positive behavior in other students, giving paper awards for those behaviors. Super Scientist awards imprint positive expectations, help students to understand how these behaviors look in practice, and reinforce what is being learned as the lesson information is printed on the award.