Have you ever snuck into your teenager’s room before bed only to find a pile of neglected textbooks and an untouched assignment?

For most parents, it’s a scene that’s all too familiar. What’s worse is that nagging worry that tugs at you.

Why? It’s because deep down, you already know what’s causing the slow progress of your child: motivation – or rather, your child’s lack of it.

When students lack motivation, they struggle to grasp why they should invest hard work and effort in high school. Connecting the dots between today’s assignments and their long-term goals can feel unworldly, like navigating a maze blindfolded. The challenge lies in helping them see the value of setting aside short-term pleasures, like another round of Snapchat or going out with friends, to focus on firstly recognising and then reaping the benefits of putting in the hours to study and work on assignments or projects. Short-circuiting the impulsivity of teenage brains is no easy feat but it is a vital part of creating self-regulating behaviours required to succeed beyond the sometimes emotionally driven passages of teenage-hood and adolescence.

But that’s why Kalibrate-Ed is here. We want to help your child build lasting motivation, not just because it boosts your child’s chances for higher marks and better academic performance but because it makes the biggest difference to their chances of success — in the real world and in life after school.

Demotivation Misconceptions

People often think that motivation is an emotion, and that is reflected in their language.

“I’m not feeling motivated.”

But motivation is actually a lot more objective and tangible than most people think. If you take a look at the origins of the word, you’ll see that motivation refers to the reason or thing that ‘moves us’ to undertake certain actions or behaviours.

And yet, we heard this from a lot of struggling students. That sparked us to undertake a study specifically into exactly what students meant. And it turns out that for many students, it was less of an emotion—and more a myriad of things blurring anxiety, resentment, anger, frustration, overwhelm, sadness, apathy, fear of missing out and so many other things. That’s what they were actually feeling. But they didn’t have a way to articulate this, let alone a tool to revive those ‘good feelings’ associated with being motivated.

That’s why at Kalibrate-Ed we teach young people how to build motivation as a PROCESS, and not as an emotion. Cultivating, building, and sustaining effective levels of consistent motivation is a life-long skill. We teach them about the drains, activators, inhibitors and amplifiers of motivation, and how to rewire the circuits so they don’t have periodic blackouts or run on emergency power. As with all skills and muscles, the younger you acquire and develop these skills, the more reliable and stronger they’ll be in the challenges that come.

‘Feelings’ of motivation isn’t something you can just flip turn on and off. When young people rely on ‘feelings of motivation’, they’re at the mercy of hormones, things that happen during the day, even what they did (or didn’t) have for lunch—and this makes for a dangerous cocktail as far as study productivity, mental health and learning are concerned.

But once a young person has built a process or machine for maintaining and amplifying motivation, they’ll have full control over when they need a bit of a boost or how they can use it to re-energise themselves.

Girl looking at her phone

There are different types of motivation based on what drives it. Extrinsic motivation comes from a reward or consequence system, like scores, trophies, or simply avoiding punishment for children. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation comes from internal satisfaction, like personal enjoyment, curiosity, and passion for subjects.

Whether it’s entering their university of choice or having a passion for mathematics or literature, student motivation is crucial to your child’s learning experience. Without enough motivation, students resist engaging in learning activities. According to a study by the University of Melbourne, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are essential for successful learning. Specifically, intrinsic motivation is positively linked to persistence, creativity, and problem-solving.

But the aftereffects of motivation do not stop in school. The long-term impact of cultivating student motivation makes it critical to your child’s success. A 2018 Australian Council for Educational Research study found that motivation is important in shaping future-oriented expectations and intentions in students. It also helps them promote a mindset to identify long-term career goals and future endeavours.

Building Motivation with Kalibrate-Ed

Developing your child’s motivation as early as possible will give them more chances to succeed. As parents, you play a significant role in anticipating their needs and monitoring their resources to ensure their motivation burns bright.

Boy writing on a notebook with a woman beside him

But how can parents initiate the process of rebuilding children’s motivation?

1. Encourage student autonomy: We want them to have a say in their academic journey. When children feel a sense of control over their learning, they’re more likely to be engaged and motivated.

2. Set goals and choose subjects of interest: What are their dreams and passions? Motivation follows naturally when they feel a personal connection to what they’re learning.

3. Connect academics to real-world relevance: Whether it’s algebra or history, we want your child to connect between academic topics and everyday life to spark their curiosity and motivation.

4. Discuss potential career paths: Engage in open conversations about possible career paths. Show your teen how various subjects are stepping stones to their future profession. Discuss the importance of these subjects in those career paths.

5. Use tailored learning resources: Each child has a unique learning profile. Some may thrive with visual aids, while others excel in hands-on activities. When the learning experience matches their style, motivation soars.

6. Balance autonomy with guidance: While autonomy is crucial, guidance from parents and education strategists is equally important. Even if they don’t say it, they need someone to support them and point them in the right direction.

At Kalibrate-Ed, we work with students to create a Motivation Catalyst, an ignition point for them to replenish their low motivation and find their spark. It’s a tailored, nuanced process of building and maintaining motivation by aligning their passions, aspirations, and strengths so they’re fuelled to power through assignments and learning.

Our goal is to lend a hand in preparing your child for their academic journey. We want them to be ready so that when the Lynchpin Event arrives, and they assess their motivation levels, they’re all set.

Let us help you reignite their spark and fire them up for their future. If this is something you want to explore for your child, book a free discovery call today: https://calendly.com/kalibrate-ed/lets-chat.