As Year 12 students have now completed their Trial HSC examinations and they are now moving into a time of revision and study for the real HSC exams, many students are demonstrating a desire to increase their study habits in order to achieve the highest possible outcome.
The question is, however, how do students develop this desire to study, learn and achieve earlier on in Secondary school? What drives this desire and what can students do to reignite this desire if it has been lost.
As students progress throughout Secondary school, they can sometimes lose their desire to learn, and I often hear parents asking ‘What is it that causes this?’ and ‘How can I get my child to love learning?’. The cause of this can be due to a number of factors including, social, family, medical and emotional issues.
A child’s personality can play a big part in regard to their willingness to learn, as well as their attitude towards school and education in general, though most students who are ‘good learners’ were not born good learners, but rather they made the decision at some point to become a ‘good learner’. Research has proven that any student who has the right attitude and motivation can become a good learner. Below are 12 tips which have been proven to motivate and assist children toward a desire to learn.
- Develop an atmosphere of reading – Make it fun, not frustrating. Have a family reading time of 20 minutes per day (novels, posters, newspapers, magazines electronic articles etc).
- Put your child in the driver’s seat as much as possible – As children grow older, they need to take control of their own education. Young people must be given opportunities to choose subjects, topics of study and even extra-curricular activities.
- Open and sincere communication – It is healthy for your child to have an opinion about what is going on with their education. Listening to your child is important, and not disagreeing straightaway is even more important.
- Focus on your child’s interests – Talk about topics that fascinate your child and set challenges for them in regard to these.
- Introduce and encourage different types of learning styles – There isn’t a right or wrong style, though most students will have a dominant style. Help your child explore a variety of learning styles in order to determine their preference. Different styles include: Visual, Auditory, Verbal, Physical, Logical (Maths), Social and Solitary.
- Share your enthusiasm for learning – Enthusiasm rubs off! If your child sees you enthusiastic about learning, then they are likely to become enthusiastic about learning too. Subtlety is the key here!
- Make learning fun through game based learning – Games provide a fun and engaging way for young people to learn. They also assists greatly with motivation. Students usually try harder at games as opposed to regular coursework due to the nature of competition.
- Focus on what they are learning, not their performance – Be sure to ask about what your child has learnt when they come home from school, not how they went in that Maths test! While performance is important, focusing on the experience rather than the test will communicate you are more concerned about your child as opposed to their performance.
- Help your child stay organised – Disorganisation among school children is common and this can lead to a student feeling overwhelmed. The feeling of being overwhelmed can lead to worry and anxiousness, consequently taking the focus off learning.
- Recognise and celebrate achievements - It is important to celebrate your child’s achievements, no matter how small they are. Set goals for your child to achieve and reward them when they finish that difficult assignment or essay. Staying positive is important when trying to maintain motivation towards goals such as these.
- Focus on strengths – It is important to find something your child is good at, as this aids emotional and academic development and progress. Often parents focus on a child’s weakness, which can cause discouragement, distress and a lack of desire to learn.
- Make every day a learning day – In your everyday life, ask questions and help your child to make connections. Help them to categorise, classify and to think critically about what they see or experience.
Growing a desire to learn will take time and patience and will only come about with complete partnership from home, school and of course the student. Take the time to try these strategies out with your child and to begin growing a desire to learn that will provide a solid foundation for a life full of learning.
Director of Studies
Information adapted from https://www.educationcorner.com/motivating-your-child-to-learn.html