Researchers examined 150 studies on student motivation and found that … “teachers and parents influence motivation… by satisfying three psychological needs.” These are “competency, belonging and autonomy.”The first need is for a sense of competency. Students often don’t believe that they can understand a new subject or master a new skill. However, when teachers can inspire students to believe in their own capabilities, these students frequently succeed.
Teachers and tutors can build a sense of competence in students by exhibiting concern and demonstrating interest. This is most effectively done by listening individually to students as they talk about what currently fascinates them (sports, books, movies, social media) as well as their future goals and dreams.
Researchers also found that external rewards or threats of punishment did not work nearly as well.
I invite you to read the whole Hechinger Report article for more on competency, as well as a discussion of belonging and autonomy.