Motivating all students can be a challenge. This post focuses on the issues and strategies to help support those pupils who need us as teachers to meet them where they are at and help them find their way to motivation.
How can parents help
- Provide a warm, accepting home environment.
- Give clear directions and feedback.
- Create a model for success
- Build on the student’s strengths
- Relate schoolwork to the student’s interests
- Help build a family structure that fosters consistent work towards the goal.
- Help the student to have some control over how and when he learns.
- Emphasize the child’s progress rather than his or her performance in comparison to the other students in the class or family.
- Remember to reinforce the behavior you want.
- Use reinforcers wisely. Recall that intrinsic motivation works best. Follow a child’s interests, when possible, rather than spending time building elaborate reward systems Source
Motivation — Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence – U.S. Department of Education
What the Research Says: Students who believe that they have the ability to complete a particular academic task (self-efficacy) do better and have higher levels of motivation (Jacobs et al., 2002). Yet students often sabotage their academic performance by engaging in negative self-talk about their abilities and by making faulty attributions to explain poor academic performance (Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2002). Source
Reasons for Lack of Motivation Stipek
Why Students Are Not Motivated to Learn
Why Intelligent People Fail
- Present activities not seen as related to important goals.
- Do not have (or believe one does not have) the ability to do present activities or obtain future goals.
- Distractibility and lack of concentration
- Spreading oneself too thin or too thick
- Inability or unwillingness to see the forest for the trees
- Lack of balance between critical, analytic thinking and creative, synthetic thinking
- Using the wrong abilities
- Feelings/emotions about present activities are generally negative.
- Satisfaction of achieving goals seems in distant future.
- Personal problems interfere with present activities.
- Misattribution of blame
- Fear of failure
- Excessive self-pity
- Excessive dependency
- Wallowing in personal difficulties
- Too little or too much self-confidence
- Do not have a written list of important goals that define success personally.
- Believe that present goals or activities are wrong for individual.
- Important goals conflict with present activities.
- Failure to initiate
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of perservance and perseveration
- Inability to complete tasks and to follow through
- Lack of impulse control
- Inability to translate thought into action
- Lack of product orientation
- Inability to delay gratification
- Extrinsic incentives are low.
- Sternberg, R. (1994). In search of the human mind (395-396). New York: Harcourt Brace.
- Stipek, D. (1988). Motivation to learn: From theory to practice. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
“Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.” Miller and Rollnick (2012)
“When we think of failure; Failure will be ours. If we remain undecided; Nothing will ever change. All we need to do is want to achieve something great and then simply do it. Never think of failure, for what we think, will come about.” ~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi