Are you worried about your older speech students and their motivation? I will share with you how I keep my students motivated!
Older speech students can be tough! They might have been getting speech for many many years or they are just well aware of what their peers might think. It helps to understand their lack of motivation before tackling this problem. I will share with you how I deal with the various reasons!
Been receiving speech for so many years
If this is the reason, you can't blame them for being tired of it. Think of why they are still receiving the service. What areas are they still struggling with which is requiring them to continue. Help them understand this. Show them their goals. Show them the progress they have made so far over the years. Show them where they need to be in order to not need speech anymore. I find my students stop asking “why am I here?” or “I don't need this anymore” if they see it visually why they are there. Consider displaying “I can” statements that reflect the curriculum. Show them that what you are working on with help them in their classrooms. Help them see the correlation.
Worried about what their peers will think
Make your speech room warm and inviting. Make it fun and engaging. Make them realize they can have fun, feel comfortable, and get the help they need in your room. When my students see their friends asking to come into my room too, it makes them feel proud to come! How do you get your room to be that warm and inviting? Find out what they are motivated with. Use that as reinforcers or even as part of your activities.
Don't understand why they are there
Help them understand. Show them their goals. I have made my students write down their testing accommodations and goals on index cards to keep in their planners. This way they can be advocates for themselves and reminded of what they need to work on. Have your students write their own personal goals. Help them determine the steps they need in order to achieve those goals.
They are embarrassed or frustrated to be struggling
It can be tough. All day long, they are surrounded by classmates that may or may not be understanding the academic curriculum. They may be aware they are below reading level. They may know that they do not have their multiplication tables memorized. They don't want to feel this way but don't know what to do to fix it. Help them realize that by coming to speech, you can help them feel less embarrassed and frustrated. Help them understand that their speech and language weaknesses could be causing them the struggles in the other areas. Show them how working on their speech and language goals will help them in all aspects of education. Show them that everyone has things they are not good at. I show my students that I cannot kick a soccer ball (since that is something many of them excel in). I show them that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. If I practiced more at my soccer skills, I might get better and one day be able to score a goal (probably not, but they don't need to know that).
Check out my Facebook Live video on this topic:
How do you motivate your students? What has worked best for you? Let me know! Comment below!