by Kevin Burns
Inspiration Motivation – Children`s Brains are still Developing
“It`s scientifically proven that kids lose IQ as the mature through the early stages. His brain is being rewired. My advice is to tell him you are there for him no matter what. Life is not only about grades. Is he a good kid ? Praise from dad is priceless.”
Inspiration Motivation – Why should children study hard at school?
Let me start off by saying that if my son were to: want to be a fireman or policeman, want to work with his hands, or do some other manual labor type job and enjoy that. I would be okay with that. I feel we are on this earth to be happy, to be ecstatic if possible, and most importantly: to learn.
Everyone is different, and some get immense joy from making a temple roof (like my father in law, from raising children, like my wife, or from teaching – me.) We all are inspired in different ways. I just want my children and my students to pursue what makes them happy.
I did say to my eldest son that if he was pursuing a goal of being a designer, an engineer or a film maker, he would need to study very hard. I felt relaxed after saying this, as I put the ball back in my son`s court, giving him the freedom to choose his future. It is his choice afterall.
This article was inspired by my son`s decision to see how he would do on his latest Japanese junior high school exams if he didn`t study.
Of course he didn`t do very well at all!
Then I asked myself, and any passerby or friend who would listen:
How do I motivate him?
This may seem an odd question for a career English teacher in Japan, but it has been a problem that has challenged me off an on throughout my career. Just how to motivate students?
With my own children I have often opted for the carrot and stick approach. However, as they get older, this approach seems less effective. It worked well in the elementary school years. Less so in their junior high years.
Inspiration Motivation – Some Answers from my Brain Trust
Here are some of the answers I received from other teachers about how to motivate my own children, and how to motivate students in general, enjoy!
“Motivation can be tough. Ask him how important are good grades to him and how confident he is in getting good grades. If it’s not important: ask him what you can do to help him figure out it’s importance. If he’s not confident ask him what you can do to bolster his confidence. Since he’s a kid, he won’t have many ideas, but it’s important to let him come up with strategies, instead of you suggesting them. Have him look on the computer, make a study strategy on his own etc. Break it down into smaller achievable goals instead of giant ones that are too huge to succeed at.”
Inspiration Motivation – Carrot and Stick Approach
“The problem with the carrot/stick model is that it requires a constant reward model, or the behaviour actually drops to below pre-implementation levels. Plus the stick part often involves a lot of fear mongering, a model that students are often over-inundated with, so often lacks impact. Alternatively, the fear may overwhelm a young immature person leaving them unable to act. Not say that the carrot/stick model won’t work here, but just something to consider.”
Inspiration Motivation – Me:
I`ll probably end up doing a combination of things. I tend to be a carrot and stick guy with my own kids. But would like them to see the potential benefits of study. Tough to know that when you are an immature 15 year old. Tough being a Dad, and a Dad of a Japanese at that. Makes it even tougher. My kids are Japanese so I am always coping with the cultural aspect as well.
“Goal setting and celebrations of success. a.k.a positive reinforcement.”
“Move to Canada. He’ll be top of the class.”
“Has he got a five-year plan? “I dream, I plan, I can!” Keep talking. Let him know he’s your son and that you will always love him — pass or fail — but that’s it’s his life (and your support and encouragement).”
Inspiration Motivation – Do grades really matter?
“I was never a motivated learner until well after high school. Maybe talk with him about what sort of things he wants to eventually do? Ultimately grades aren’t that big a deal in the overall scheme of things. If he’s happy an well-adjusted, I wouldn’t be too worried.”
“Tough one … I’ve seen my fair share of kids lose interest in their studies ( or all too often spend way more time on their athletics, social life and/or computer). Often I’ve run into them not long after graduation and their story is pretty similar – paying a fortune and working their butts off to get into program X, which they could have gotten into after high school if only they had … Of course, they usually end up doing pretty well for themselves. My advice to students is usually “find something you really like, get really good at it, then find someone who will pay you to do it.”
Inspiration Motivation – Teachers need to connect the classroom to the Real World
“I could posit that perhaps there is a disconnect between what he is being forced to study in the classroom and what he perceives the real world to be. Studying hard can help you do great things, and you rarely can do great things, (with the exception of sports and art) without study. Schools and teachers (me included) often do a poor job of linking what’s done in the class to the real world. If people can really see how their studies can link to great things in the world, they’d be motivated. Right now, what sorts of people are needed in Tohoku? People with REAL skills: engineers, doctors, nurses . . . With skills you CAN change the world.”
“Is he usually a good student? Maybe he is under too much pressure at that school. My daughter failed three academic courses in grade 10 because of lack of motivation. She went into an alternative program with 20 students in the class and it worked for her.”
Inspiration Motivation – The BIG Picture is Important
Always keep the big picture in mind. My son had learning disabilities and couldn’t read or write in grade 2. He graduated from high school. Is a very good hairstylistat a popular salon in Montreal and he just got an interview to write articles for a magazine. That was after he submitted some of his writing. He is also working on a novel. He is a good writer. In grade 2 we were all suffering over his disability. Who knew??”
I am lucky to have some very intelligent friends around me. I`m sure you are blessed with people like this too. All you have to do is ask, and help will arrive.
Inspiration Motivation – To be Inspired or In Spirit
Ultimately inspiration comes from God or a higher power. It comes from what you are meant to do. I think our role as parents and teachers, is to help our students find their inspiration, and therefore their motivation, so that they can do what they are meant to do on earth.