Growing Motivated: How we can develop and encourage motivation in our teens with Mark Enser

“Studying’s boring. I’ve already done enough. The test’s not for ages. The teacher told us it wasn’t important. What’s the point, I’m rubbish anyway?” I could go on with the list of typical student reactions to the prospect of revision. Not only have I heard them from my own children and other students, but I know for a fact I churned a few of these out to my parents all those years ago. But is this as easy to dismiss as a stereotypical teen response or is there something that we can do to help overcome this roadblock and help our children reach their goals?

This week we’re looking at what it takes to be motivated.

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Nathan McGurl, Founder of The Study Buddy, is joined by Mark Enser. Mark is head of geography and research lead at Heathfield Community College in East Sussex. He is a frequent columnist with the Times Educational Supplement, an author and, as well as regularly blogging along with his wife Zoe Enser (who you may remember from our previous episode on generative learning) – he is an avid twitterer.

It is not uncommon for our students to procrastinate and delay when it comes to studying. Many experience a real drop in energy and motivation at the thought of having to revise. It is a chore, perhaps even a necessary evil. At the moment it is a particular issue for year 11 and 13 students who should have been sitting their exams. They may feel especially disengaged with low enthusiasm for any future studying. At it’s a similar story for years 10 and 12 who face exams next year and are questioning whether they need to bother.

In this episode, we explore the importance of being motivated to study. Mark talks about whether students can feign motivation enough to be effective and what we parents of teens might do to foster motivation. As we think ahead to the summer holidays, we also consider should students completely switch off or maintain a level of study?

Importantly, Mark talks about 3 conditions for motivation: Seeing the value, Expectations, Cost (to self). A really useful topic for all of us!