Heathdale flower 04th August 2022


We all struggle with motivation at times, and we realise that it can be a roadblock for students in their studies. How can we partner with you to encourage positive motivation in your children?

Heathdale flower

Motivation is a funny thing, isn't it? Assessments, programs and activities at school all give information about how we can enhance cognitive skills, but they do not take into account the potentially critical influence of student's motivation.

Just as I find it hard on a Saturday morning to be motivated to do the housework, sometimes children are not motivated at school to do their work. Sometimes my children just don't want to do their homework, practice music or play sport. They are tired or find something else more interesting. So how can we partner with you to keep improving our student’s motivation?

Firstly, why is motivation important?

When students understand success is because of their ability and effort, they remain more positively motivated. Time has given many debates over the concept of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and it has been found that when students motivation is more intrinsic, they engage more deeply in learning activities. However, this does not mean extrinsic motivation is a bad thing, as students can be simultaneously motivated by the extrinsic and intrinsic.

- Intrinsic motivation is defined as the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than for some separable consequence. When intrinsically motivated, a person is moved to act for the fun or challenge entailed rather than because of external products, pressures, or rewards.

- Extrinsic motivation is defined as a motivation to participate in an activity based on meeting an external goal, garnering praise and approval, winning a competition, or receiving an award or payment.

When a child believes they can succeed, their motivation is increased. Social motivations to behave well and be engaged in the classroom also are associated with achievement. There is increasing evidence that motivation affects all social and academic functioning.

Motivation unfortunately has been shown to decline as children get older. Over the years children can lose confidence as they receive feedback or compare themselves to others. Curiosity and excitement can be replaced with the sense that school is a workplace if activities do not have meaning. This can happen especially during Year 5-6.

If motivation is important, can we influence it? Yes, we can - this can of course be positively or negatively! Positive motivations are:

1. If children believe they can succeed they are more motivated - lack of self-belief usually equates to lack of success.

2. If children develop positive incremental achievement goals, they are more motivated

3. If children value learning they are more motivated

4. If children relate well to teachers and peers, they are more motivated

Positive motivation an be increased with what we say, do, or give:

1. Feedback helps children to understand why they have succeeded or where to grow

2. Emphasising the importance of hard work and persistence are keys to success

3. Provision of tasks that are challenging and meaningful increase intrinsic motivation - even down to chores at home

4. Doing things together fosters a positive environment - having a homework buddy after school can be helpful

5. Talk about the value of school and school/homework - children's attitudes are powerfully influenced by your own, we want children to feel they belong here

6. Provide choices where children have some autonomy over the learning processes

Personally, when I have put these tips to practise, the results seem exponential. Our greatest desire is to help our students develop their God-given potential, and our motivation to do this comes from desiring to do God's work and watch your children grow. Partnering together in encouraging student motivation sets them up well for their later education, especially those times it is really hard to get teenagers out of bed!