There are children who really enjoy learning and look forward to going to school. These students are generally motivated to succeed in school because they find the challenge and workload manageable and rewarding. There are however many students who are not motivated to study and complete their school work. These students require additional encouragement from parents and teachers.
As a teacher, I have come to realize that the best way to motivate students is through encouragement and a positive attitude. Consequences and punishments such as the threat of taking away a reward or fun activity rarely motivate a child, especially in the long run. We should ultimately encourage learning and growth rather than numbers and grades. Achieving a certain standard according to the curriculum is important and necessary, but if it is the only thing we focus on, children quickly forget the joys of learning.
Positive Reinforcements are essentially rewards that can help to motivate students. Structure the reinforcement based on something they enjoy doing. See the example scenario below:
Suzie is a 10 year old fifth grade student. She really enjoys playing on the computer in her spare time. She usually completes her homework when she gets home from school but finds it difficult to focus on her daily math exercises which should take 15-20 minutes to complete. Her positive reinforcement would be: If she can complete her math exercises to the best of her ability within 30 minutes, she will be rewarded with an extra 15 minutes of daily computer time for that evening. As the ultimate goal is for her to complete the exercises in 15-20 minutes, gradually decrease the allotted time until she is able to complete her homework within this timeframe.
Another way to structure reinforcements, which I often do in the classroom, is to establish a points system. Each time a student finishes their task, they are rewarded with a point. This can be done with stickers on a chart so that children can track their achievements. Once they obtain 10 stickers they receive a prize or reward. If you click on the image above, you will get an enlarged version that you can feel free to print off and use at home.
Positive Reinforcements work for many reasons. Mainly, we want to avoid any negativity when dealing with a child who lacks motivation. Showing our own frustration towards their lack of motivation will not encourage them. It should always be about the child’s happiness and goals, not ours as teachers and parents. We want them to feel proud of what they have achieved and we can do this by encouraging them in their growth as learners!
What is your favourite way to motivate your child? Share your experiences with me. And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog via the commentluv feature here on the site.
Until next time,