As we get ready for a wonderful holiday season, we should take some time during the days off from school to talk to the children about how to stay motivated when work gets hard or when goals are not readily attainable.
First, help your child see that everyone needs to be motivated to succeed. Discuss what is hard for you and how you work through this by setting goals that are attainable. All students, no matter their age, sometimes lose sight of the fact that motivation is important not only for their academic work, but also for their personal goals.
Second, ask your student to set a few personal and academic goals for the next few months. We all know that when we make resolutions for the New Year, many of us break them after a short period of time. Therefore, we want to make sure that the children set short and reachable goals. As we know, a full year is too long a time to wait to see progress.
Third, write the goals down or put them in a document and then break down the goals into at least 5-8 small tasks. Set dates for completion of each task. Remember to check in with the student at the same time twice a week to see how he or she is progressing. If the student is stuck, then help him or her to move past the block. Don’t forget to praise the student for any positive results that you see; a little encouragement goes a very long way.
For younger students, a reinforcement chart can help keep them motivated. And don’t forget, the older students might not want a chart, but positive reinforcement is important for them too!
Instituting a system of behavior modification – the awarding and withholding of privileges and rewards – can encourage students to do their best.
Psychological research has proven that behavior that is reinforced tends to be repeated. Unacknowledged behavior tends to diminish or disappear. The principles of behavior modification are simply a formal method that observes behavior and seeks to shape it in positive ways.
The reward does not have to be expensive or edible in order to be effective. Here are some suggestions for helping students stay on track for academic success.
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