Motivation – Key to School Success

Annapoorni Balan, Principal, CREDENCE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL – Beed 

Motivation has several effects on students’ learning and behavior. First, motivation directs behavior toward particular goals. … Motivation will increase students’ time on task and is also an important factor affecting their learning and achievement. Motivation enhances cognitive processing.

Motivation is key to school success.  When the child turns to teachers, parents, and peers to discover the “why” of learning. Motivation is often defined as a need or drive that energizes behavior toward a goal.

As the new school year begins the most common problem that teachers and parents face is lack of student motivation. Motivation can either come from within the student (intrinsic) or from outside (extrinsic). A child who is intrinsically motivated performs a task because of the joy that comes from learning new materials. A child who performs in school to gain parent approval, grades, or rewards is externally motivated. While research shows that those children with internal motivation may achieve greater success, teachers and parents often find that many children seek external reinforces. Parents who ask questions that lead to more questions for a child are more successful in developing intrinsic motivation. For example, a parent that gives a child a special toy as a “reward” for reading a lesson about how an airplane works and for completing the related homework that requires answers to questions about the parts of an airplane will stimulate less motivation than the parent who helps a child discover how planes work by building a balsam plane and letting the child practice flying it. This parent can ask what changes the plane’s flight pattern. The child can then experiment, discover and generate new questions and new discoveries.

EMPOWERING EACH LEARNER FOR THE 21st CENTURY

Motivation, as parents and teachers know, often varies depending on the setting, the people involved, the task and the situation. A child with a learning disability may be a very reluctant reader who resists reading a science assignment or writing the homework assignment but eagerly absorb all the teacher shows about vaporization of water in a science class. The key for each learner is to find that which motivates.

How can the parents be helpful?

Parents are central to student motivation. The beginning of a new school year is very important. Children with LD and ADHD often struggle with change. Parents can help get the year off to a good start.

a) Provide a warm, accepting home environment.

b) Give clear directions and feedback.

c) Create a model for success

d) Build on the student’s strengths

e) Relate schoolwork to the student’s interests

f) Help build a family structure that fosters consistent work towards the goal.

g) Help the student to have some control over how and when he learns.

h) Emphasize the child’s progress rather than his or her performance in comparison to the other students in the class or family.

i) Remember to reinforce the behavior you want.

j) Use reinforcers wisely. Recall that intrinsic motivation works best. Follow a child’s interests, when possible, rather than spending time building elaborate reward systems.

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