Ever wish your students were more motivated? If you’re like most of us, you have tried an array of rewards and punishments to motivate kids. There’s only one problem: it doesn’t work. At least it doesn't work well enough. People (yes, even students) aren’t motivated from the outside so rewards and punishments only work to a point. We are internally motivated. That’s why it's essential to engage and inspire students to be motivated to succeed in school (and life.)

If you’re ready to move beyond the reward/punishment model and embrace a whole new way to understand motivation, I encourage you to come back regularly. It’s time to challenge the status quo and create schools and classrooms based on what really motivates behavior.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Homework Is A Constant Fight. What Can I Do Better?"

A parent from New Jersey recently asked, "Bob, homework is a constant fight with me and my 12-year old. She spends more time complaining and screaming than doing the homework. I keep telling her she needs good grades and she should be doing better. What can I do better?"

Here's what I answered: "First, rest assured that your story is typical. Homework struggles are the norm, especially when kids approach adolescence. More than anything, they want to assert their independence and fiercely resist control, even if they intuitively understand it’s “for their own good.” Rather than telling your daughter she needs good grades, needs to do better, etc - all logical comments, by the way – I suggest asking her what she wants for herself. What kind of future does she want? Does she want to be a success? Will doing well in school help her get what she wants? Will completing homework – even if it’s tedious and boring – help her achieve her goals? Don’t be surprised if she rolls her eyes and says, “Whatever,” boredom punctuating her terse comment. That’s typical. Resist the temptation to lecture her about her disrespectful attitude, a new offense compounding her failure to approach homework with joy, enthusiasm, and a song in her heart!

"Despite the rolled eyes and dismissive “whatever,” kids want to be successful. By inviting your daughter to explore how doing homework allows her to more easily get what she wants, you minimize the power struggle, arguing, and stress you are both experiencing. Most importantly, make sure to maintain a positive relationship with your daughter."

Note: This was originally published by Funderstanding. The newsletter is free and includes interesting, useful ideas for both educators and parents. I encourage you to subscribe.

As always, if you enjoyed this and found it useful, please send the link to your friends. Thanks.

Bob Sullo

For information about books by Bob Sullo and to schedule a keynote, workshop, or series for your school, agency, or parent group visit www.internalmotivation.net

Don't forget to get your copy of the revised edition of The Inspiring Teacher: Making A Positive Difference In Students' Lives.