Motivation is a key indicator of success in the academic world. Highly motivated students are more likely to engage with the material presented during class, leading them to have a better understanding of course concepts and to be more satisfied with school. According to several studies, students who are more motivated to learn have overall higher achievements and lower drop-out rates. Unfortunately, it is estimated that upwards of 40 percent of high school students are chronically disengaged from school. So, how do we help students become more engaged and motivated? Well, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to solving the problem of low motivation in students. But fortunately, there are several tips and options to help students build academic motivation.
Factors that Influence Student Motivation
Motivation in education is so important, it refers to the student’s general desire to complete academic tasks and become academically successful. Motivation helps to keep students focused on the task at hand, and helps students sustain activities over a long period of time. While there is no general rule for helping students stay motivated, there are some identified factors that have been shown to influence student’s motivation in regard to education. These factors are as follows:
- Class and Curriculum Structure. Structure in the academic environment is essential to the academic success of the students. When there is chaos or disorder in the curriculum’s learning style it creates room for distractions. If students are able to grasp the class structure by the teacher following a distinct and pre-planned curriculum, it provides them with a greater sense of security and understanding, improving overall focus.
- Teacher Behavior and Personality. With young students in particular, teachers can have a great impact on their students’ academic success. If a student has a negative association with their teacher, it can lower their motivation in education. However, on the flip side, positive associations with teachers such as the teacher showing optimism, encouragement, and positive feedback can improve students’ motivation and desire to learn.
- Teaching Methods. Using a variety of teaching methods can be a great way to increase students’ desire to learn. Diversity in learning activities can help keep students engaged and from getting bored. In addition, not all teaching methods work as well for some kids as they do for others, teachers who explore a variety of teaching methods give students the opportunity to learn a new learning style that might work better for them.
- Parental Habits and Involvement. Parents can greatly impact their child’s education and motivation. Reading to or with children helps them to develop stronger literacy skills and reading comprehension which can be a determinant of success later in their academic careers. In addition, parents showing more interest in the material your child is learning can help kids to increase their interest in it themselves. Offering your help or encouragement with homework or studying helps to provide the support and motivation they need to be successful in school.
- Family Issues and Instability. Likewise, to lack of structure and security in school, family issues of lack of security at home can result in poorer performance in the classroom. Family conflicts have been linked to poorer academic performance. On average children who live with both parents receive better grades than children who don’t. Some examples of family conflict include divorce, death of a loved one, frequently moving due to jobs/military, not living or in contact with one or more biological parents, previous involvement with Child Protective Services.
- Peer Relationships. As adolescents grow older, their peers tend to have a significant influence over them. Having unhealthy or difficulty with peer relationships can impact security and academic performance. Hanging with the wrong crowd can increase the likelihood for bad behaviors and increase stress levels. This can take the focus off of education and onto their relationships. Other issues with peers such as bullying, or harassment can be very serious and can have impacts on academics as well as mental health if not monitored properly.
How to Improve Self-Motivation
Motivation is intrinsic, otherwise meaning it comes from our internal desire to achieve or accomplish a task. As a parent, one of the best ways you can motivate your kids is by teaching them about and demonstrating ways to increase self-motivation. The following are tips and tricks designed to help get and keep you motivated.
- Simplify. The first step to getting motivated is determining what we want. When we set goals for ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for achievement. Examining your goals and then delegating or eliminating the extra activities that no longer motivate or inspire you can help you focus your maximum energy on your true goals. Try to combine smaller tasks into one and complete them all together, therefore you give yourself room to complete bigger tasks. Doing less allows you to focus on the things you love, helping increase overall motivation.
- Celebrate your Accomplishments. It is always admirable to be humble about your accomplishments, but in some cases, we may undermine our own accomplishments because we are too focused on the next big step. Being overly focused and overwhelmed with the future can actually cause procrastination and decrease motivation. Focusing on our accomplishments and celebrating our successes can help boost confidence and your desire to achieve.
- Shift mindset from getting to giving. Many of us focus too much on what we are receiving from school, work, relationships, or anything that requires us to put in energy and effort. This can actually be quite taxing and start to wear down motivation if not everything gets the result we desire. Instead, shifting your mindset to what you can give to the outside world, such as studying to become a doctor and help others with their health, will help to keep your motivation lasting. In addition, what we give is more in our own control than what we receive. Shifting to a mindset of giving opens the brain up to new and creative ideas to spread abundance, helping to keep you focused and motivated on the things that matter most to you.
- Increase gratitude. When we express gratitude, we are less fixated on what we lack or what others have. Instead, we focus on all the good in our lives, increasing feelings of abundance and energy. Gratitude helps us become more appreciative, creative, and deepens our level of motivation. A simple way to practice gratitude is by keeping a journal, write out what you have to be grateful for and take a moment to feel that gratitude. Express gratitude for others as well, this may be in your journal, telling them your gratitude aloud, or showing gratitude through small gifts or gestures. This helps to build a lot of inward momentum which is necessary when building motivation.
- Create habits to increase energy. Another great way to stay motivated is to create a stick to habits that you enjoy that help increase your energy levels. Energy is a huge motivator, things that excite us tend to motivate us. Try building in little habits that help give you the energy you need physically and mentally to keep your brain fresh and motivated. Participating in regular exercise has been shown to improve overall energy levels as well as cognition to help with focus. Find other hobbies that give you a creative mental boost as well, this could be reading, painting, playing an instrument, or much more. Find habits that inspire you and keep you well to help with your overall energy and motivation levels.
Alternative Options for Students with Low-Motivation
For some students, alternative education options can be just what they need when it comes to getting back on the right track at school. At Momentum we strive to help young adults reset and relaunch into a healthier more productive adulthood. Our programming offers a variety of academic pathways that support a mindset of growth and potential in our students. The three distinct education tracks Momentum offers include:
- 1) High School Completion. Students at Momentum who have not yet completed high school may be able to do so with our program’s coursework. Our Academic Director will assess your students’ academic records and partner with them in order to develop a plan of study that fits your students remaining requirements to fulfill a high school completion.
- 2) GED and HISET Preparation. Students who are looking to earn their GED or HISET have the option to fully prepare with faculty and staff at Momentum. Our team helps to prepare students to take and be successful in these exams to help them fulfill their educational or career goals.
- 3) College Credit. Momentum offers an integrative collaboration with partners in higher education, allowing students to earn college credit during the programming. Here students are able to receive transferable college course credits while engaging in the healing work of our programming. For many student’s mental health struggles can bring about challenges in academic performance. Students who are struggling to stay focused or motivated in school for mental health reasons may benefit greatly from taking time off of a full-time student schedule to focus on their mental health. Taking only 1-2 courses at a time for credit may give your student the time they need to recharge, while still engaging in the learning environment.
Momentum is Here to Help
Momentum is a wilderness therapy program for young adults ages 18-25 who struggle with their mental health. Our program equips students with the tools they need to overcome challenges, build confidence, and develop their own personal identity to get them on track to be living their best lives. Momentum gives young adults the opportunity they need to get back on track academically, become independent from parents, and live happy, healthy, and successful adult lives.
For more information about our program for young adults at Momentum, please call 877-296-8711 today.