New year, new school term — and a brand-new list of resolutions!  

With so many things to factor into your success ‘game plan,’ it can be a little overwhelming to list down all the changes your child can implement to achieve their wins and goals. So how do you know which areas to focus on to help your child stay motivated and engaged with their learning this year, so they don’t burn out before Term 1 is even out?  

Working with students, parents, teachers, and schools for over 15 years, we’ve repeatedly seen three key areas that power a successful student trajectory in a year — engagement, future direction, and better results. The weight of each area is different for each family. Still, all these manifests from 99% of the families we work with, and educators identify these areas in about 85% of any student cohort.  

The key is to get more of the critical elements right and early for better chances of your child hitting more wins, and the goal is to build a culture of winning.   

It’s not always about adding more to your child’s plate or creating big, hairy and audacious goals (which some of you may know as BHAG) just to ensure your child hits all key areas. You often hear people saying ‘Shoot for the moon and land on the stars’ and while stretch goals and challenging limiting beliefs absolutely have their place in helping students overcome and achieve, it can be counter-productive to set goals that are unachievable or unrealistic based on available data of your child’s abilities or performance. It’d be like rigging a race.  

The real outcomes are a result of deliberate, intentional choices. It’s about creating a pattern of small, consistent wins that creates lifelong habits and retrains your child’s thinking. But it takes time to retrain the brain, especially with teenagers. If your child is experiencing issues with being disengaged or disinterested in anything school-related, it’s particularly important to focus on this aspect first.

Disengagement is Destructive

According to a 2023 report by the South Australian Government, only 43% of students feel engaged and care about their learning tasks, leaving 57% of the majority disengaged in Years 4 – 12. We saw the same trend last year and how our students burned out faster. So, we nerds at Kalibrate-Ed got curious and did some of our own research. What we observed was that the burnout curve in the general population students peaked earlier than it had in previous years, about 15–20%.   

When students are disengaged, they’re less likely to say no to activities that are more enjoyable but are definitely distracting and counterproductive to their focus on studies. It can be anything from watching countless YouTube videos to endless tick-talking to avoid studying. Not being engaged with what they’re learning or not being able to connect ‘why’ they are learning concepts makes it so much harder for children to choose to stay focused and productive with their time—because that’s what it is at the end of the day: a choice. 

Maybe your child is constantly picking up their phone to look at something they shouldn’t, or maybe they just push things out until it’s 11 pm the night before. Being disorganised or putting things off, especially when multiple assignments are due tends to really rear its head to become a red hot issue during the end of the term. But at that point, there’s not a lot anyone can do to change things. 

Behavioural Change Before Academic Change.   

Having worked with kindy kids through to teenagers and post-graduate university students—there’s one thing we can say with absolute certainty.  

And that is, when it comes to affecting real, lasting change there has first got to be behavioural change before you’ll see academic change.  

The shift in mindset, motivation and ownership is absolutely crucial to learning success. Think of it as the engine that would empower you to push through when the going gets rough and give them ease in getting through with less resistance.   

At Kalibrate-Ed, we have a whole suite of resources to help students achieve this kind of change. Some of our best weapons include: 

1. Personalised and Structured Study: Think of your child’s study regimen as a fine balance between what ignites your child’s spark and the friction they encounter from their learning pain points. With a unique study program that resonates with their strengths and addresses where they can improve, their resilience to learning challenges can increase while their resistance to study decreases. This gives them more power and momentum to get through their challenges — whether that’s disorganisation or distraction. But give them someone else’s learning strategy and it’s like running a marathon wearing the wrong shoes.   

Based on a 2022 study, personalised learning programs lead to increased student engagement, improved motivation, and higher levels of academic achievement. Students were able to turn disengagement or other destructive elements into something more helpful, like taking on a huge amount of content and committing to being focused all term.

2. Assessment Tracker: Think less of a planner and more of a progress tracker. With this in place, you can monitor if your child is on track, behind their assignments, or even ahead! 

But instead of just keeping track of deadlines, the tool also measures the outcomes that students achieve and the effort that they put in, which reduces disappointment and mismatched results. It helps eliminate overwhelm in our students, especially those who struggle with procrastination or anxiety. It’s like a standardised yardstick that essentially helps them prioritise tasks in front of them.  

3. Procrastination Focaliser: When it comes to procrastination, we can never be there with our children all the time to make sure they’re focused on what they should be. But there’s plenty we can do to identify, refocus and re-engage students who do fall off track. This method helps them self-regulate and address their distractions so they can step back when they find themselves caught in destructive activities. 

It’s completely different for each student, but those who have adapted this reduced their procrastination by up to 20% in the first three weeks. Imagine if your child was 20% more productive and what they could achieve over the remainder of the term!  

Our Goal  

Working on your child’s engagement can open doors to so many great outcomes. With more awareness of their deadlines and competing priorities, they become more motivated and focused because revision becomes more engaging and therefore less effort. This is backed by a 2023 study from the International Journal of Educational Research which found that students enjoy learning even more when they are more involved. With effective study habits and exam preparation comes greater confidence in exams, which in turn compounds when they receive marks rewarding them for their efforts. Being able to celebrate these wins can completely reset the family dynamic, taking topics around school and time management from tense to an occasion to celebrate.  

You might be thinking that it all just sounds like a dream, but this is a reality for so many of our parents and students. The simple truth is that if you can get your child to be fully engaged with their learning, then all else will follow.   

If you want to learn more about the changes your child could make for a better year than 2023, we’re hosting a FREE community event to help your child achieve more in the next school year without risking burnout.    

Join us in ‘The School Year Kick-Off: 2024’ on Wednesday, 17 January 2024! Limited seats only — sign up today and reserve your spot here: