What is motivation?

“Motivation consists of internal processes and external incentives which spur us on to satisfy some needs” (Child, 2007)

As a Madrassah teacher, you will undoubtedly encounter pupils with varying degrees of motivation. Some pupils are keen to complete work and ask questions and learn with or without your input. Other pupils might need the offer of rewards or the threat of a punishment.


  • Fostering pupils’ motivation towards learning makes both teaching and learning enjoyable.
  • Be positive and have enthusiasm about what you are teaching. This will Insha’Allah transfer to your pupils.

Types of Motivation

In the Madrassah, it is useful to know the types of motivation to help foster the right type in your pupils.

There are two separate categories that will be used for motivation.

  • Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic
  • Positive vs. Negative
  • Extrinsic Motivation – doing something to achieve a ‘reward.’
  • Intrinsic Motivation – doing something because the pupil wants to.

This quadrant below describes the 4 types of motivation in a business context.


In an Islamic context the motivation and intention behind doing a good deed could be extrinsic or intrinsic.

An example is shown below for Salat-prayer.

  • Intrinsic positive motivation is the ideal type we want to foster in our pupils and also aim for ourselves. Children should be encouraged to do good deeds to please Allah alone.
Type of motivation Type of motivation
Extrinsic Intrinsic
Positive Pray all of your 5 prayers and you will be given some sweets. I want to pray all of my 5 daily prayers. (Pleasing Allah.)
Negative If you don’t pray all of your prayers you won’t get ice cream. I really don’t want to pray.

Motivating Madrassah Pupils

As Madrassah teachers, we want our pupils to enjoy their work, be motivated and do good deeds for the sake of Allah. This page will give you practical tips on how to increase pupil motivation.

Key Points:

Fostering creativity and allowing pupils to take some responsibility for their learning increases motivation

How you can use this:

Write down 2 ideas for:

  • Things you can do to please Allah.
  • How you can prepare for Ramadhan.
  • How you can help your neighbours.
  • Summarise these ideas with your pupils.

Let them choose one idea to try themselves at home or school. Give them a chance to give feedback at the next lesson.


  • Set pupils tasks which they view as challenging, but achievable.
  • Parents play a vital role in increasing academic and spiritual motivation, so involve them in this role. You could invite them to an assembly or send newsletters highlighting the things they could do to motivate their children.
  • Allow the pupils to learn from each other in the Madrassah classroom. (e.g. sharing ideas, discussions and group work)
  • Give lots of praise when you see good effort, ideally in the ratio of 4:1 – Praise: Criticism – to create a positive learning climate.
  • Set a task as a project and give them choices of titles: (e.g. a project on one of Allah’s names)
  • Give pupils regular feedback on how they are developing (e.g. “your Qur’an reading has improved, you are pronouncing your ghunnas well.”)