Left unchecked, challenges such as learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, behavior disorders, and executive functioning deficits can cause children to develop the idea that they are not capable of success in school, precipitating a downward spiral of poor self-esteem and – eventually – school failure.
So how do we avoid this outcome and motivate children to learn?
One way, is to employ a little empathy.
According to the Finnish First Steps study currently ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Turku, empathetic teachers enhance children’s motivation and academic skills, such as reading, writing and arithmetic skills and create a positive atmosphere that safeguards and increases children’s motivation for learning (Siekkinen et al., 2015).
“We are currently studying to what extent the teacher-pupil relationship in the upper comprehensive school, i.e. in grades 7-9, can be linked to Finland’s excellent reading scores in the Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA,” explains Martti Siekkinen of the University of Eastern Finland (Siekkinen, 2015).
Siekkinen goes on to say that the first years of the lower comprehensive school, i.e. grades 1-3, are a critical period during which the child needs to have a safe relationship with his or her teacher. The teacher’s empathetic attitude not only protects children’s image of themselves as learners, but also against social exclusion by their fellow pupils (Siekkinen et al., 2015).
Previous research has also shown that the interaction between the teacher and the pupil is more important for learning outcomes than structural factors such as educational materials and class sizes. Furthermore, earlier studies have found the teacher-pupil interaction to be a significant factor during the early school years – and one that plays an important role in later years, when the academic challenges become greater and the protective teacher-pupil interaction can be less intensive.
While empathy is just one way to motivate children to learn, laying the groundwork for a child’s attitude toward learning is an indispensable process with effects that ripple outward – and surpass present outcomes.
Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:
Motivating Children to Learn is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides strategies and activities to help children overcome their academic and social challenges.
This course describes the various challenges that can sidetrack children in their developmental and educational processes, leaving them with a sense of discouragement and helplessness. Such challenges include learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, behavior disorders, and executive functioning deficits. Left unchecked, these difficulties can cause children to develop the idea that they are not capable of success in school, precipitating a downward spiral of poor self-esteem and – eventually – school failure.
The good news is that much better outcomes can result when parents, teachers, and therapists engage children in strategies and activities that help them overcome their discouragement and develop their innate intelligence and strengths, resulting in a growth mindset and a love of learning. Detailed in this course are multiple strategies and techniques that can lead to these positive outcomes. Course #40-44 | 2018 | 77 pages | 25 posttest questions
Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!
Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).
Target Audience: Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapist (MFTs), Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), School Psychologists, and Teachers