10 Inspiring Ways to Motivate Reluctant Learners

There are many reasons kids don’t enjoy school. Sometimes it’s due to learning problems or because the work is too easy, but sometimes it’s just because they haven’t developed the persistence and discipline needed to apply themselves.

There’s a consensus that students’ attention spans have suffered in the digital era, and this view is supported by some research. Learning, in contrast to social media and gaming, requires sustained effort and attention with no immediate gratification.

When children are bored with schoolwork, the first impulse of parents and teachers is to offer rewards and try to make learning as fun as possible. These strategies have a definite part to play in increasing motivation but relying too heavily on them can hinder students from developing inner motivation and discipline.

To motivate your reluctant learner and help them develop the skills needed for academic success:

  1. Acknowledge effort, not just results. Don’t save your approval for good grades. Change focus by asking what your child learned instead of what mark they got for a test. When you see your student trying hard on a task, offer encouragement and support.
  2. Let kids make mistakes. Many parents like to step in and fix mistakes in their child’s homework, but this is counterproductive. Making errors is a vital part of the learning process. You want your child to take ownership of their learning, and this includes mistakes. The satisfaction of doing things on their own and working problems out themselves helps develop motivation.
  3. Create an atmosphere of learning. You can encourage kids to love education by creating an atmosphere of learning in your home. Reading together, watching educational shows and having discussions about what you’ve learned will stimulate kids and make them eager to know more.
  4. Explore your child’s interests. Find out what your child is passionate about and use this to encourage them to read and think. If they like dinosaurs, for example, find books on this subject and take them to exhibitions and museums.
  5. Explain why education is important. When kids understand why they are learning about a subject they will be more motivated. Try to relate the subject to real life and engage their emotions through stories and by talking about your own experiences.
  6. Take breaks. Kids become bored and stressed when forced to concentrate for extended periods. When they are studying or doing homework, it’s important to take breaks at regular intervals.
  7. Give choices. Having choices is very empowering for children. You can give younger kids a feeling of control by letting them set their own study schedule based on when they prefer to do homework.
  8. Find a study group or tutor. Students who enjoy interacting with others and who learn by discussing ideas and concepts will be motivated by taking part in a study group or working with a tutor.
  9. Set goals. Setting realistic goals gives kids something to work towards and allows them to experience the inner rewards that come from striving and applying themselves to reach a goal. 
  10. Organisation. Sometimes kids are unmotivated because they are overwhelmed. Helping them to organise their schoolwork and prioritise tasks can do a lot to help students enjoy learning.

These tips will inspire even the most reluctant learners!

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