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I had to train myself to stop telling my kids to “try harder” at school. This was ineffective and completely overlooked what was really happening. Yes, sometimes kids are unmotivated and choose to not try. Not everyone is motivated in the same way. However there can be obstacles to understanding and learning. The obstacles seem very real to the kid and it’s my job to help them articulate what is challenging or confusing.
So I learned to ask curious questions. Here’s my free worksheet on practicing asking curious questions.
I try not to judge or accuse. I honestly want to understand what is difficult for them. I tell them we are going to figure it out together so that they know I am in it with them. The discussions we have are enlightening for me because I get to see the learning challenges from my kid’s perspective.
Sometimes they say that the information being presented in class (or during online learning) was overwhelming and confusing. So I ask more questions. Did the presentation have too many words on the page? Was the pace too fast? Were classmates talking and being distracting? Was the concept easier to understand when they were at the teacher’s table one-on-one or in a small group?
Working together to find solutions needs this strong foundation of trust and open communication.
Once we can recognize actual effort and separate it from the need for support then we can begin to talk about Motivation.