How to Maintain Motivation for Your Child in Term 4
Have you ever wondered why we do the things we do?
Specifically, what motivates us and how can we learn to channel motivation when it’s lacking?
Mastering motivation is incredibly important, especially when it comes to the last few parts of the year. Nearing Term 4, students seem to be the most demotivated and complacent that they ever will be in the school year.
I’m here to tell you not only why you need to make them snap out of that complacency, but also give you a few useful tips on how.
What is Motivation?
Before we chat about Term 4, and why it’s important to stay motivated for the last 6 to 8 weeks of the school year, I’d like to chat about some key factors concerning motivation.
On the surface, it is easy to visualise motivation. It is the spark that fuels our energy to achieve beyond expected; the quiet voice that urges us to get up on those cold winter mornings to exercise; and the drive behind the consistent effort that we put into our life goals.
In order to understand the nature of motivation, however, psychologists have proposed a more definitive structure suggesting that to better understand motivation, we can break it down into two categories:
1) motivation from external sources (extrinsic), and
2) motivation from internal sources (intrinsic).
The main debate regarding these two categories of motivating factors poses the following question: which form, intrinsic or extrinsic, is the most effective for driving consistent, constructive behaviour?
Sources of Motivation for Students
In recent years, some interesting research regarding this debate has arisen. Psychologists have recently reported that offering excessive external rewards for an already internally rewarding behaviour can lead to a loss of intrinsic motivation; a phenomenon known as the over-justification effect.
For example, showering your child in gifts – when they are already satisfied with their personal improvement – may be detrimental.
This is not to say that external rewards are not important, however. They are certainly beneficial in some situations. For example, incentives can induce participation, encourage the acquisition of new skills, and can be a source of reinforcing feedback, subsequently enhancing confidence.
When it comes to education, in order to engage consistent interest and commitment to learning, a student must feel like they are serving a purpose and are proud of themselves and their efforts.
According to the renowned humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, the feeling of personal achievement, often deemed self-actualisation, is the greatest need and point of achievement for human beings. This indicates that perhaps external rewards will never provide the same gratification as self-actualisation. And yes, you guessed it – self-actualisation is achieved through intrinsic motivating factors.
What is Intrinsic Motivation?
Put simply, intrinsic motivation refers to the desire to behave in ways that will personally satisfy one’s feelings of autonomy, purpose, confidence and success. In fact, an interesting study by Kusurkar (2011) found that the following six concepts were most effective for cultivating and providing a source of intrinsic motivation in students:
1) engage in learning that interests you,
2) choose topics you enjoy,
3) actively participate in discussions regardless of whether or not you know the answers,
4) request structured guidance from teachers and parents,
5) derive clear feedback for improvement, and
6) ensure you have a strong emotional support network.
If you find that one of these factors is missing in your students’ life, it is of paramount importance that you help them take a step out towards it! Doing these things continually will greatly increase personal drive and hunger to achieve, without any need of extrinsic reward.
How to Improve Your Child’s End-of-School-Year Motivation
Now that we’ve discussed what motivation is, we’re in the perfect position to discuss what I’ve heard students call “The Bludge Term” – Term 4.
As Term 4 approaches, it’s crucial for a child’s support network to help maintain motivation and finishing strong. Here are some essential motivation tips for students during this critical period.
1. Set Clear and Attainable Goals
Collaborate with your child to establish clear, specific, and achievable goals for the semester. Break down large goals into smaller milestones, allowing your child to track their progress and feel a sense of accomplishment along the way.
2. Celebrate Achievements
Recognise and celebrate your child’s accomplishments, both big and small. Highlight their hard work and efforts, reinforcing their motivation and boosting their confidence. This may be going out to dinner after a big exam, or just brining them to get ice cream after a long night of studying.
3. Provide Support and Guidance
After finding out what inspires your child to learn, offer your support where you can, identifying their strengths and areas for improvement. You can help them by providing constructive feedback and strategies to help them overcome challenges to staying motivated.
4. Encourage Reflection and Self-Assessment
Provide opportunities for your child to reflect on their progress. Encourage self-assessment and self-reflection to foster autonomy and ownership over their own learning journey. Having these conversations allows your child to reflect, but also gives them a space to feel proud and share with you.
By implementing these strategies, you can really help your child maintain motivation during their final semester. In order to do their best, it is important that students feel inspired to stay focused, work diligently, and achieve their academic goals.
Leverage the Power of Tutoring
Tutors can provide personalised guidance, on-on-one support, and tailored strategies to help provide motivation for your child and help them overcome challenges. By working closely with tutors, students gain an extra level of support and encouragement, fostering a sense of accountability and confidence in their academic abilities.
If you feel like your child could use extra support with an academic motivation boost, contact A Team Tuition and discover how our tutors can help.