This post is part of a series written by Paper's tutors. Each post takes you behind the screen, uncovering their perspectives and expertise. This week, Tutor Mariela describes 7 easy ways to keep students engaged and motivated while learning.

What is the best way to help students engage in their learning, especially in online environments?  Educators have all struggled with certain subjects at one time or another, and we can understand how easy it is to become distracted or demotivated.

Overall, it's crucial to keep in mind who the student is on the other side of the screen. By identifying their unique needs, you can adapt your tutoring or teaching approach to ensure they stay motivated.

As a Paper tutor, my role is to foster a positive learning environment for students to succeed. I've seen firsthand how much these 7 tips can help:

1. Ask students questions that are specific to their needs and how they feel about the subject matter.

Tutors can get to the root of the issue the student is facing. Asking general questions that seem unrelated to the task at hand can lead the student to become disengaged and unmotivated.

2. Send them words of encouragement and praise when they get the answer right.

The same goes if you see they are on the right track! Doing this can help make students feel like they are making progress, and that you are invested in the session.

3. It's also important to ensure you're answering students' questions promptly, even if it's to tell them you need time to respond.

Long pauses can make them feel like you have abandoned them in the middle of a session.

4. If you have not received a response from a student within a certain amount of type, check-in and ask them how they are progressing.

If you have been working with a student for an extended period and fear they may be becoming unmotivated or frustrated, remind them they are doing a great job of sorting through a difficult topic. Also, try to incorporate more basic knowledge and easier questions to answer, so they feel those small wins!

5. The biggest challenge to staying motivated when struggling with a topic is feeling like you have been working long and hard without much success.

Encourage students to work through the discomfort by reminding them how rewarding it will be when they finally get to the solution.

6. Keep in mind all students are different, and so are all their learning styles.

While some students may stay engaged easily and be motivated to finish assignments quickly, others may need more help. Keep this in mind when you first start a session with a student so you can take the right approach from the very beginning of the session.

7. Some students need to work at their own pace.

I have found walking through the first couple of exercises with them to ensure they have the right idea is helpful. Once you feel like the student has a hang of the process, encourage the student to try a couple on their own and check back with you when they are done. This process ensures you're not just giving away answers but also gives students the chance to check back in with you if they are unsure of anything or have gaps in their understanding.

— Mariela, PAPER Tutor

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About PAPER

Founded in 2014, Paper is an Educational Support System (ESS) providing students with 24/7 live help & essay review, and teachers with real-time feedback and intervention tools. Paper partners with districts across North America to close the achievement gap and support educational equity.