We’ve all been there. Some days you’re highly motivated. Other days the thought of learning something new seems like an awful lot of work! How do we show our kids and students that school — and learning in general — really matters?
First, set high expectations. This lets kids know that you believe in them. If you expect success and give them a strong sense that you have confidence in their ability to do well, in time, they will believe these things about themselves.
Second, build strong relationships. Your kids and students should know, first and foremost, that you care about them and understand what they are going through. Not every day is a walk in the park, and sometimes first acknowledging and validating personal hurdles clears the way for learning to take place.
Keep it real! Any time lessons can come from real-life experiences, they are more likely to make an impact and to stick with them long term. If your child is struggling with fractions or other math concepts, get them cooking in the kitchen, or go to the grocery store with your list and a calculator. Even with abstract concepts that beg the question, “When am I ever going to need to know this?,” we can find connections to real life or real careers where people actually DO need to know those skills. Look for relevant ways to integrate education into life, and kids will become naturally curious and more ready to learn.
Lastly, modernize! Technology is the future, and it speaks to our kids’ generation more than a textbook. Online organizational tools can motivate kids to keep track of their projects and homework. Websites where you can write and publish short stories or books may turn a reluctant writer into an engaged one. Math drill games, as opposed to flash cards, may be just what your kid needs to get their facts committed to memory. The uses are endless, but balance is also necessary. Monitor technology usage — the content and the amount — to make sure that kids aren’t exceeding recommended amounts of screen time.
Every child is different and may require their own formula for motivation and success. But, they are well worth the effort it takes to find out what turns apathy into interest.