Schooling Without Motivation

Posted by Eric Wolf on 1/8/2021 2:00:00 PM

Many teens and pre-teens, such as the students at Classical Academy, have found it difficult to stay motivated during virtual learning and the pandemic. Between economic issues, lack of social interactions, and an increase in distractions in the learning environment, many students are less motivated to succeed in their classes.


But all hope is not lost! We still have the majority of the school year remaining to get back the motivation to attend and succeed in the classroom. Here are some tips to help from psyhcolgist Lisa Damour in a New York Times Article.


1. Understand the Two Basic Types of Motivation

Intrinsic motivation takes over when we have a deep and genuine interest in a task or topic and derive satisfaction from the work or learning itself.

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, gets us to work by putting the outcome — like a paycheck or a good grade — in mind.

While Intrinsic Motiviation is preferred in most settings (It is linked to higher levels of academic achievement and greater psychological well-being), it is not always attainable.

2. Encourage Intrinsic Motivation

In practice, Instrinsic Motivation means that young people should be given as much say over their learning as possible, such as giving them options for how to solve problems, approach unfamiliar topics or practice new skills. This can also involve, whenever possible, letting tweens and teenagers decide the order in which they tackle their assignments, how they want to prepare for tests or where they feel they study most effectively, even if that means that their papers carpet their bedroom floors.

3. Know when to use Extrinsic Motivation

Teens and parents can think together about strategies to help face down the many homework assignments students can get on a daily basis. Think about what would help them succeed. Would it help to have a parent work quietly nearby in silent solidarity? Would the teenager like to study in 25-minute intervals followed by five-minute breaks to stretch, snack or check social media? Might the promise of a new video game or clothing article encourage them to study just a bit harder?

Adults should be ready to stand back and admire the fantastic solutions that young people land upon themselves. Some adolescents buckle down with the help of a YouTube study buddy, others hold out the carrot of a video game or run once the work is done.


Overall, there are many ways to increase motivation amongst students, you just have to find the one that works best for you and your child.