Tidbit # 28-Rekindling motivation for learning among teens

October 31, 2023

Imagine a scenario: Your pre-teen, who has always been an eager learner, has all of a sudden decided that school assignments are uncool. They no longer find joy in the tasks they once embraced and have started to see them as dull and beneath their capabilities. As a parent, teacher, or caregiver, you may be wondering how to motivate and rekindle their enthusiasm for learning. If you’ve ever wondered how to motivate a pre-teen or teenager to get good grades, here are some strategies to help show us how to inspire and engage pre-teen and teenage students who’ve become disenchanted with assignments.

Motivating pre-teens and teens who feel that school assignments are beneath them can be challenging, but it’s essential to help them find value in their educational tasks. Here are some strategies to motivate and engage these students:

1. **Open Communication:**

  – Start by having an open and non-judgmental conversation with the student. Ask them about their feelings and reasons for thinking assignments are beneath them.

2. **Set Clear Expectations:**

  – Explain the importance of assignments in the learning process. Help them understand how assignments contribute to their academic growth and future success.

3. **Connect to Real-World Relevance:**

  – Show how the skills and knowledge gained through assignments are applicable to their future careers, personal lives, and the world around them.

4. **Emphasize Growth Mindset:**

  – Teach students about the concept of a growth mindset, where they understand that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and practice. Encourage them to see assignments as opportunities for growth.

5. **Provide Autonomy:**

  – Give students some control over their assignments when possible. Allow them to choose topics or projects that align with their interests. This can increase motivation.

6. **Celebrate Achievements:**

  – Recognize and celebrate their successes, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost their confidence and motivation.

7. **Highlight the Big Picture:**

  – Help students see how assignments fit into the larger curriculum and their academic journey. Show them how each piece of the puzzle contributes to their overall understanding and skills. It can be challenging to engage pre-teen and teenage students, so try to consider how your lessons will help them outside the classroom.

8. **Peer Role Models:**

  – Share stories of other students who have excelled by embracing assignments and learning opportunities. Peer examples can be motivating.

9. **Engage with Technology:**

  – Utilize technology and multimedia to make assignments more engaging. Incorporate videos, interactive platforms, or educational apps to enhance learning.

10. **Real-Life Applications:**

   – Whenever possible, connect assignments to real-life situations. Show students how the skills they are developing through assignments can be applied to everyday life.

11. **Build a Supportive Environment:**

   – Create a classroom or learning environment where students feel safe to take risks, make mistakes, and ask questions. This can encourage a more positive attitude toward assignments.

12. **Teacher-Student Relationship:**

   – Develop a positive relationship with students. When teenage students feel respected and valued by their educators, they are more likely to engage in assignments with enthusiasm.

13. **Praise Effort, Not Just Results:**

   – Recognize and praise the effort students put into their assignments, even if the final result is not perfect. Encourage a strong work ethic.

14. **Offer Extracurricular Activities:**

   – Encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities, clubs, or organizations that align with their interests. These can provide a sense of purpose and connection to learning.

15. **Self-Reflection:**

   – Encourage students to reflect on their learning experiences. Ask them to think about what they have gained from each assignment and how it contributes to their personal growth.

16. **Involve Parents and Caregivers:**

   – Keep parents or caregivers informed and enlist their support in fostering a positive attitude towards assignments.

17. **Provide Constructive Feedback:**

   – Offer feedback that focuses on areas for improvement and encourages growth, rather than just assigning grades.

Remember that each student is unique, and it may take time to shift their mindset. Be patient, flexible, and persistent in your efforts to help pre-teens and teens appreciate the value of their school assignments.

If you’re looking for a nurturing and stimulating environment for your gifted student, consider Scholars Academy for the Gifted. Our program is designed to inspire a love for learning and foster the potential of each student. Visit our website to learn more about how we can provide a tailored education that challenges and engages your child’s unique abilities. Together, we can unlock the full spectrum of their talents and help them reach their highest potential. Enroll with us today to give your gifted student the education they deserve.

Dr. Laura Lowder

Director & Curriculum Coordinator

K-12 AIG, K-12 Reading Specialist, Dyslexia Structured Reading Therapist (in progress)

National Board Teaching Licensure

Scholars Academy for the Gifted & Artistically Elite

Professor of Education, Pfeiffer University

Mom of 5 highly-gifted, twice-exceptional children, 4 who are thriving at SA4theGifted & 1 who is thriving at UNC-Chapel Hill