General Tips
Motivate your kid and see what will change
Category : General Tips
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Fostering motivation—a childs desire and drive to succeed—is a universal challenge for teachers and parents. A “well-motivated child” is a pleasure to teach. His hand shoots into the air during class discussions. He can’t wait for that science lab, writing workshop, or even formal test. In fact, hell cheerfully take on one challenge after another, handle setbacks, and keep moving forward, even if results aren’t perfect.

Unfortunately, research indicates that he can also be pretty rare. In a recent survey by the National Education Association, for example, teachers said that in general, approximately 60% of their students were “disengaged” or “unmotivated.” In practical terms, that’s a lot of demoralized kids, with plenty of frustrated teachers and parents looking on. So let’s say you want to help your child join the ranks of those eager beavers who just cant get enough time in class. To help kids we must be willing to understand what drives them—as well as what drives us. If we’re different, we must be ready to bridge those gaps.


  1. Gregariousness: These folks adore social interaction and love to be in a lively crowd. Gregarious folks love to be connected to others, and hate to feel cast out in any way. When they’re comfortable, they’re friendly and may be great at both joining and leading.
  2. Autonomy: In this case, the chance to work independently is a dream come true. A trip to a library study carrel is a treat, as is the chance to solve a problem alone in an office.
  3. Status: It’s important to know where you stand, and to feel that you have maintained a strong, positive reputation. Criticism can feel crushing.
  4. Inquisitiveness: The need to know is a deep and powerful drive. When you’re curious about something, it’s a gift to be allowed to explore it without being restrained.
  5. Aggression: This sounds negative, but don’t be fooled. People with strong positive aggression are good competitors, as well as passionate fighters for justice. They want their views to be heard and respected.
  6. Power: Again, beware bad connotations. As a motivating force, “power” is a drive for influence, responsibility, and authority.  Its an especially natural and important part of adolescence…when its managed right.
  7. Recognition: Many people adore being seen and appreciated for their gifts and accomplishments, and will respond to public encouragement.
  8. Affiliation: These folks adore feeling connected to institutions and groups bigger than themselves. Sports kid , for example, owns a world-class collection of sport team tees and hats, and loves wearing them at any opportunity. He is deeply motivated by affiliation.

If youre like most people, you’ll notice that while most drives apply in some way, one or two will really stand out. So when you are figuring out how to help a child feel motivated, try working with these drives. 

Whats most important, is to remember that we adults can make all the difference in motivating kids. Special needs students need extra sensitivity, but the strategies that work for them,“work for everybody.”  “Somebody actually described it as `Radical.’ Well, I think it does work, and it really is a departure from the same old-same old. And in the end, I think its about really good human relations. That’s always a good thing.”