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How Do I Motivate My Child To Do Well In School

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    Do you find it difficult to get your son or daughter motivated to do well in school? Here are some ideas that might help. First, make sure they know the importance of their grades and how it will affect them down the road.

    If you're not successful, there's no way to go forward with life goals. Help them set attainable goals for themselves and then give them support when things don't seem possible because this is where parents come in!

    What is the best way to motivate your child to do well in school? You may not be surprised by this answer, but it starts with you. If you want your child to perform well in school, then you need to show him that education is important.

    One way of doing this is by setting an example for him and getting a good education yourself. Another thing that helps students succeed academically is having their parents involved in their studies; checking homework, attending parent-teacher conferences, etc.

    These are just some tips on how to motivate your son or daughter into being successful at something they may not have previously been interested in: going to school and doing well there!

    I Don’t Like School: Inspiring the Uninspired Student

    Every teacher, every year, has at least one student who utters those heartbreaking words: “I just don’t like school.” These words are uttered by the student who says they “just want to be left alone” and who is resigned to get through their education with as little effort and bother as possible. But what are they really saying to you? Here, we’ll offer practical advice for reading between the lines of student apathy to inspire uninspired learners.

    Translating “I Don’t Like School”

    When you hear “I don’t like school,” it’s easy for teachers to feel hurt or defensive. Educators put in a lot of work to make lessons engaging and challenging, so it’s natural to see a student’s complaints as an assault on your work and efforts. However, it’s important to not simply write off these words as the immature complaints of a disenchanted kid.

    In fact, these words are a cry for help. They’re a loud and clear declaration that the school system is not serving the student the way it should. Somewhere along the line, the system failed this student. It may be perpetually under-serving them.

    Many kids — and even ourselves as learners — can accept and succeed within the education system’s compliance-based and data-based structure and get through it without resistance. However, others cannot, and over time, they can come to see school as a chore, as confining, confusing, and pointless.

    “At some level of their consciousness, everyone who has ever been to school knows that it is a prison. But people rationalize it by saying (not usually in these words) that children need this particular kind of prison and may even like it if the prison is run well,” says Peter Gray, psychologist and author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.

    Anyone who knows anything about children and who allows himself or herself to think honestly should be able to see through this rationalization. Children, like all human beings, crave freedom. They hate to have their freedom restricted.”

    The confines of school can truly stifle learning for many students who, year after year, enter classrooms to be unserved or even rejected. “I hate school” really means “school hasn’t worked for me”, and, as teachers, we can do a lot to reshape this narrative.

    Hear the Student, Value the Learner

    One important thing to remember is that the student who hates school doesn’t necessarily hate learning or you. On the contrary, children and humans generally want to learn but may struggle or feel out of place or rejected in the school setting.

    “One of the most important things for educators — both seasoned veterans and those who are new to the job — to understand is that students don’t hate education. On the contrary, learning and discovering new things is a natural part of the human experience and, indeed, it’s something that appeals to all of us on a base level,” according to Wabisabi Learning.

    “Many of them don’t even hate school as an idea — what they’re responding negatively to is the rigid structure that school makes them adhere to… They don’t dislike what they’re learning. They dislike how they’re being made to learn it.” The experiences students have in school shape their attitude, buy-in, and relationships with adults.

    Hear your students and value them as learners. If they’re not successful in school or display apathy for it, consider the experiences they’ve had within the system and their impact. What messages have they received? How might they have internalized these messages? How might they feel walking into school each day?

    Making Connections

    If the learner isn’t going to the learning, we must bring the learning to the learner. We’ve all heard it: Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like or respect. Relationships are the social-emotional bridge between students and learning.

    “The research is clear: humans are literally “hard-wired” with the desire and need to connect,” according to Tara Brown, author of Different Cultures—Common Ground: 85 Proven Strategies to Connect in the Classroom and the AMLE, The Association for Middle-Level Education. “We are social beings who thrive on healthy relationships. And yet, the importance of positive relationships in our schools is often overlooked.”

    Relationship-building with students — especially the ornery ones — is not fluff, it’s mandatory. Apathetic students are distrustful of the institution of education and therefore need you to work extra hard to forge a connection of trust. And through that trust, you can rebuild their relationship with learning.

    “While many teachers may not think they have the time to spend building relationships, I suggest that we don’t have the time not to. Relationships and instruction are not an either-or proposition but are rather an incredible combination. Research tells us this combination will increase engagement, motivation, test scores, and grade point averages while decreasing absenteeism, dropout rates, and discipline issues.”

    Give Them a Few Wins

    Nothing inspires success like success. When a previously underperforming student sees some good grades, kind comments, or positive feedback, this may light a fire that can start to undo years of disillusionment. Give your struggling student something accessible and doable and celebrate their success. Gradually increase the challenge level and watch them. Provide supports where necessary and leverage your relationship to cheer them on.

    Activate That Prior Knowledge

    Students are not empty vessels. Every student knows stuff, and we can activate that knowledge to make students feel empowered, smart, and curious to know more. Whatever the new subject matter, find a way to access what students already know about the topic. Even your most apathetic student has a lot you can expand on. Maybe it’s an interest (which you can surface by getting to know them), a skill they have, or simply some background knowledge. Surface it, celebrate it, and expand on it.

    Undoing Apathy Doesn’t Happen Overnight

    As an educator, just know that undoing the damage can take a while. Students won’t magically come alive and become eager to learn overnight. It takes time and consistent effort, which can be hard with a full classroom. Just remember that you have the power to move the needle with students whose education experience was lacking — and that’s pretty profound.

    What Motivates Students To Learn?

    Teachers and parents recognize the power of motivation in enhancing learning outcomes and helping students to achieve their best at school. For example, a motivated student might do his or her homework without being asked to, go above and beyond the requirements of assignments and participate in classroom discussions without being prompted.

    More importantly, he or she may be more able to view a poor exam result as a learning opportunity instead of as an academic failure. So what motivates students to learn, and how can we encourage them?

    Students may be motivated by their interest in a topic, their prior success in a specific subject, a desire to please parents or teachers or simply by their own drive to succeed. However, motivation works best when children also have a healthy self-image, are confident in their abilities and know-how to take a step-by-step approach to problem-solving.

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    Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Motivation

    There are two main types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsically motivated individuals learn because of a desire that comes from within. Extrinsic motivation is when an outside force is involved in encouraging students to learn.

    Whereas adults are more autonomous and can make decisions about what they want to study, children are often forced to learn whatever is in the school curriculum. This can mean they are not always intrinsically motivated to master a specific subject and may rely on extrinsic motivation, including rewards or negative consequences based on performance.

    However, there are ways to help foster more intrinsic motivation in kids. See below for a list of ideas for teachers and learn more in our posts on the importance of motivation and motivating kids to read.

    One Step At A Time

    Feeling overwhelmed at school is a common sentiment among students that can cause them to lose motivation, no matter how passionate they are about a topic. In addition, while adults tend to be good at seeing the big picture and breaking a task down into logical steps, this skill may not be as intuitive for younger learners.

    Teachers can help by doing some of the work for students and structuring assignments in a step-by-step manner.

    Revisiting yesterday’s task, introducing today’s lesson and briefly mentioning tomorrow’s, helps kids develop strong planning skills and be more self-efficacious in their learning. It’s also a good way to motivate students to focus on one thing at a time, so they don’t feel overwhelmed.

    Let Students Choose

    To the extent that it is possible, allow students some say in what and how they learn.

    When you are in control of your learning, you are more invested in the outcome. Many teachers have a set school curriculum they must cover, but there is usually a way to customize lesson content by providing examples and/or anecdotes that both reinforce learning and are of particular interest to students.

    It can also be useful to introduce children to a variety of learning styles as they may discover they are more successful taking a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic approach. This is particularly true for students who struggle with specific learning difficulties.

    Success fosters motivation to learn, so the more accommodating teachers can be, the better.

    Praise Effort Over Result

    Whether or not a learner is particularly successful in a task, remind them that trying their hardest is what counts and praise their efforts. This helps individuals build healthy self-esteem, so students maintain a positive view of themselves, regardless of their school marks.

    Children with healthy self-esteem are often more confident in the classroom and more willing to take on new challenges. In addition, they may find it easier to embrace their successes and see their failures as performance issues which are separate from their self-worth. Learn more about helping students build self-confidence.

    In addition, when teachers concentrate on honing a student’s approach to problem-solving and developing their skills vs. completing a particular task successfully, they help students see the big picture and take a more healthy approach to learning. Education is a lifelong pursuit, and it’s easier to remain motivated to learn when you understand this.

    Focus Attention Through Engagement

    Some children have trouble paying attention at school. This may be due to a learning difficulty such as ADHD or events at home that are causing emotional distress and/or distraction. Unfortunately, telling a student to pay attention is often the least effective way to engage them in the task at hand.

    Instead, try freewriting assignments or group activities that ask learners to brainstorm personal connections to the material before they begin a lesson. This will make it easier for them to engage with the content and form lasting memories.

    You may also ask students to get up from their desks and move around the room or perform some physical task to engage both their minds and bodies in the upcoming lesson.

    A multi-sensory approach, such as the one taken by the Touch-type Read and Spell Course, is another great way to do this. It involves seeing, hearing and typing, adding a tactile element to literacy skills development as students use muscle memory in their hands to help with mastering skills such as spelling.

    Review Progress And Set Realistic Goals

    Defining learning milestones based on what an individual has already achieved sets them up for success and helps to ensure motivation to learn remains strong. It can also make a huge difference in attitude and expectations when teachers, parents and learners sit down together to review past work, chart student progress and set goals for the future.

    Having kids keep a journal or folder where they store all of their work makes it easier to do this. It’s also useful to set regular check-in sessions and ask learners how they feel about their progress. In this way, they are involved in the decision-making from the beginning.

    Remember, no two students will be exactly alike in their approach to learning. Therefore, if a student is falling behind his or her peers or failing to make adequate progress, it might be useful to bring in a private tutor who can work one-on-one with the individual and provide the needed direct support.

    Self-directed Learning And Motivation

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    In self-directed learning, students take an active vs. passive role in managing their time and assessing their own progress. This encourages intrinsic motivation, as there is no outside pressure to perform or meet deadlines.

    Students set the pace and decide how much material to cover in each session. A self-directed approach set within the general guidelines of a structured course can be extremely motivating, particularly for students with learning difficulties who often benefit from over-learning.

    That’s because it gives individuals the chance to repeat lessons as many times as is needed without the stigma of taking longer than their peers.

    While it is not always possible to follow a self-direct approach in a classroom context, it may be easier to achieve outside of regular school hours. Some districts offer access to self-directed courses, including touch-typing programs like TTRS.

    How To Encourage Children To Get Good Grades

    All parents want their children to do well in school. Find tips on how to help kids get better grades and whether or not a reward system is a good idea.

    All parents want their children to do well in school. Whether our own school experiences were positive, neutral, or negative, we want our children to succeed in school and life and often are willing to do anything to support that goal. A question many parents wonder about, though, is how much support we should give our children to earn good grades. Do we help with homework? Do we encourage good grades with rewards?

    How To Help Kids Get Better Grades

    Have high but realistic expectations. We should always hold high but realistic expectations for our children. Let your kids know that you think they are smart and capable and provide assistance as needed with homework and projects.

    But don't go overboard with your expectations. Having high expectations is important, but having too high expectations can put unnecessary pressure on your child, and that is not usually helpful.

    Provide homework help. Creating homework space and offering help is a good thing. Sometimes all that is needed with homework help is to listen while your child thinks through a project. Showing your interest in and of itself is helpful.

    You can also ask open-ended questions (like "What do you think?") to help the process along but not give the answers. Asking open-ended questions works even after your child's homework content exceeds what you remember from school.

    Encouragement overpraise. There has been a lot of discussions recently about praise vs. encouragement. Praise ("good job" and "well done") is less helpful than descriptive phrases that offer encouragement ("These last few months you have been really consistent about doing your homework each night, and it shows in these good grades.").

    Specific encouragement as part of positive parenting is helpful because you are telling your child exactly what he did that was beneficial. He is more likely to remember your specific encouragement than a generic "good job."

    Refrain from rewards if your child is intrinsically motivated. Most of us want our children to be intrinsically motivated - in other words, we want our children to want to earn good grades and to work without verbal recognition or tangible rewards.

    By the time they start school, many children are intrinsically motivated, and our job is to help them maintain this quality. A powerful way to encourage a child's motivation is for parents to model working towards a goal, whether it be cleaning the kitchen or completing a challenging project at work.

    If a child is intrinsically motivated and he or she is offered tangible rewards for good grades, that child will likely come to rely on the rewards and may, in the future, only get good grades if a reward is present. So rewards are not needed if your child is intrinsically motivated and may even have a negative outcome.

    Tips On Offering Tangible Rewards For Good Grades

    Offering tangible rewards (like money, a toy, new boots, etc.) tend to make your child dependent on the reward to achieve good grades in the future. Your positive words can mean more. However, if you are already offering rewards or are trying to build your child's motivation, here are a few things to consider:

    • You might try saying that this reward is only for this one time so that you don't set a precedent for all good grades in the future. Of course, your child may still say, "but last time, I got..." but you know you are being true to your agreement.
    • Be specific about your expectations when it comes to rewarding good grades. For example, "If you get three A's, you will get..."
    • You must follow through on what you agreed to. If your child doesn't earn the grades agreed to, she doesn't get the reward.
    • Children may compare their reward to their friend's reward ("I only got $1, but Emily's mother gave her $5 for good grades."). Be prepared with a response such as, "Different families make different choices about rewards for good grades."
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    An alternative to tangible rewards for good grades is that your child could earn time with you to do an activity of your child's choice. Often this is the best reward possible. The challenge here is that earning good grades shouldn't be the only time your child gets individual time to do a special activity with you. Instead, this should happen on an ongoing basis.

    So how do you decide what is best when it comes to encouraging good grades and doing well in school? A few things to remember are:

    • If your child is intrinsically motivated already, rewards are unnecessary and may even negatively impact.
    • Save tangible rewards only if needed or for special circumstances, and be clear that this is a one-time practice to bring their grades up.
    • Consider offering special time with you as an alternative to a tangible reward.
    • Consistently offer encouragement for your child's efforts. This should happen regularly.

    Each family has to decide what works best for them with reward systems. Your decisions may be different than your neighbours and others in your extended family. Taking time to think through how you want to handle this area will be important in the event that questions from your child or others arise.

    It is difficult to get interested in doing anything that you deem pointless. Some parents try to motivate their kids by telling them that it is important to study hard and get good grades so that they will eventually be successful. ... Thus, they may not able to recognise the importance of studying.

    While as a parent it's important to make sure your child's homework is completed, it's important to not force your child to do it. Instead, focus on making study time a positive experience so your child can build self-motivation to get it completed on time.

    These kids have little interest in most activities and no sense of curiosity about the world. They are rather passive and enjoy activities that require little effort. They expect to be entertained or be given things to keep them busy and happy.

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