How can you inspire an unmotivated student

How to motivate students

Last update: 27th September, 2018

As soon as a student enters secondary school, Motivation becomes one of the most important factors when it comes to success in school. In fact, the apathy usually associated with an unmotivated student sometimes involves other behaviors that are difficult to manage in isolation. This is why it is so important to motivate students, especially when they are teenagers and have more and more different interests.

As they develop socially, children internalize values ​​and rules and get used to behaviors. It also means that they develop their own way of thinking, feeling and acting. This is the phase in which rebellion, apathy, lack of perspective, isolation and avoidance represent great dangers. But motivation can help and can be inspired.

What kind of motivation should we encourage?

Motivation is the special ingredient in achieving goals. It is a necessary factor that drives us to action. But traditionally, experts have defined two different types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic motivation is the type of motivation that drives us to do what seems interesting and attractive to us. Our actions give us satisfaction.
  • Extrinsic motivation has to do with achieving goals set by others or avoiding punishment.

An example of extrinsic motivation is when a child does their homework so they don't get in trouble tomorrow - and later can play soccer with their friends. On the other hand, if we can get a student to read because they are interested in what they are learning and thereby fulfilling themselves, then we have intrinsically motivated them. The problem with intrinsic motivation is that it cannot be found in every situation.

This is why internalizing the benefits of commitments is such an important aspect of motivation. It means following norms that initially come from outside and are then adopted. As we can see is intrinsic motivation is the goal of education, and it is initially based on extrinsic motivation.

Academic performance and student motivation

Good and Brophy showed that there is a moderate positive correlation between motivation and performance. In addition, this is a two-way relationship because the two were built on each other. In principle, motivated students have a higher level of performance. This high level, in turn, motivates students to maintain their performance. On the other hand, students with additional problems, such as language challenges, will have to work much harder to achieve their goals. You are motivated by the desire to do better, but the frustration that comes when it doesn't work may be demotivating. It depends on the individual in which direction the scales tilt.

With that in mind, there's a good chance that high-skill students who are happy with their mediocre results are more likely to fail when entering high school than those who have mediocre skills but improve want. One problem is that the former have never internalized the value of an effort.

Inspiring the intrinsic motivation of students

It is worth noting that it is in families with several children, there are usually large differences between the school achievements of these children. One might be much more motivated than another with regard to schoolwork. The gap may widen if the family does not care about motivating the children. Where should a child find intrinsic motivation if they have never been taught it?

For one, we need to make sure they understand what this concept entails. Then it can begin to adjust its way of thinking. We also need to teach him to visualize his goals, make study and success a habit.

Parents need to reflect on their parenting style and learn how to do it self-regulationand let their children make important decisions without falling into helicopter mode.

McClelland's theory of motivation

The American psychologist David McClelland has one Motivation theory for the classroom developed based on these principles:

  • Encourage children to be curious
  • Promote desire for new things
  • Encouragement to personal autonomy
  • Learn to evaluate yourself
  • To take responsibility
  • Involve parents in the development of the child

Other Motivational theories also take into account that a student's self-assessment is influenced by various variables, such as their academic performance and the way they perceive their own efforts and abilities.

McClelland realized that students who are very motivated to achieve something, who make an effort and fight for success, understand their victories as the result of their skills and dedication. They generally have higher self-esteem than unmotivated students. This is further evidence of something we cannot emphasize enough: the importance of encouraging students to intrinsically motivate themselves early on.

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