While some strategies for motivating students apply to one age or grade more than another, others are useful across the spectrum, including praise and encouragement, displaying excitement, sharing control, relating school work to outside life and recording improvement. Motivational methods for older students that rely on financial contributions from donors include planning ideal field trips and contributing to college funds.
Students' enthusiasm increases when they feel that teachers recognize and value their work. Provide genuine praise that extends beyond "good job" and acknowledges students for their individual talents. Send positive notes home for parents to read, display student work throughout the classroom and hold occasional award ceremonies in the classroom or school to acknowledge contributions that students make. Expect that students do well and convey those expectations verbally. Students often perform to teacher expectations, so set the bar high.
Always connect work in the classroom to outside life. Emphasize how the material is important in the larger scope of the world, particularly how content is useful in different careers. When students recognize the relevancy, they are much more apt to be engaged.
Appeal to a variety of learning styles with teaching, from structuring class around discussions, games and performances to using charts, outdoor exploration and music. Create a welcoming, stimulating learning environment through the effective placement of student work, posters or motivational quotations.