How Can I Motivate a Student? November 23, 2018 13:47

At my most recent presentation, I was asked, "How can I make a child do their homework?"

My answer was rather blunt, "One can't make another do anything against their will." The old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink," holds true to children as well. 

So, how do we encourage children to do their homework? I use the same means to motivate students as advertisers employ to motivate people to purchase products, or politicians use to motivate people to vote for them. I help them see what is in it for them. 

There many things teachers have done in the past in their desire to motivate students. Some have been punitive, while others use rewards. Neither is tremendously effective when the fear or the reward is removed. We want students who are intrinsically motivated. Neuroscience Education has accomplished that for my students. 

Neuroscience help to create buy-in for my students.  They begin to see the value of regular practice provided by homework.  Neuroscience explains how the brain makes and retains information. It explains why students make think they will remember concepts, but without practice, they forget.  It has been the single most effective way for students to be encouraged to:

  • Study every night instead of waiting until the last minute
  • Review for tests and quizzes to determine what they didn't know
  • Practice for presentations
  • Ask questions about homework so they are prepared to do every part of it when they get home. Neuroscience explains why questions help the brain find answers and cement concepts. 

I begin the year with a lesson on the different parts of the brain involved in learning and creating memories that will support them with their homework and tests. Once they understand how each part of the brain functions best and how to use each part effectively, students will practice for tests and presentations without any prompting from the teacher. 

I have several ways to share neuroscience with students. Contact me for more information.