4 Steps for Encouraging Self-Motivated Learning

After more than a year of being under work from home arrangements, many have started returning to the office starting from this Monday. Some parents may feel relieved in having a brief respite from constantly monitoring their child at home.

However, some parents may also be wondering if their child will be able to continue studying independently by themselves. Although some children have taken well to home-based learning, others may still require their parents’ supervision and help.

Fortunately, it is possible to encourage your child to be more self-motivated in their learning. Following home-based learning last year, there is a foundation for independent learning that is set in place for parents to follow up on. Plus, prompting your child to learn by themselves with minimal supervision will be helpful in easing your stress of managing your parenting duties.

Here are 4 steps you can take to encourage self-motivated learning in your child:

1. Identify their strengths and weaknesses

Sit down with your child and have a discussion with them about their own strengths and weaknesses. Some children may require more help or coaching in some subjects, or they may face difficulty trying to grasp certain topics or concepts in particular.

Have them list down the topics that they are uncertain of, and the learning goals that they want to achieve. For those who are unsure of their weaknesses, have a look through their past assessments to find out what they often make careless mistakes on.

2. Discuss how the learning goals will be achieved

Once you and your child have identified what needs to be worked on, it is time to develop a plan that allows your child to tackle them effectively.

If your child needs help for specific concepts, it’s worth consulting guide books for step-by-step walkthroughs to help enhance their understanding. Some children may simply need more practice on a certain topic and may require more intensive assessments.

For children who are weaker on some subjects, they may need a combination of the above and a tutor who can help them in their learning.

3. Set a timeline for each learning goal

Not all children learn at the same pace, much like how Rome wasn’t built in a day. Begin by setting a timeline for each learning goal, and check-in with your child at frequent intervals to observe their progress. Encourage them to discover and overcome challenges by themselves as much as possible.

At each check-in, note if your child requires further support with their learning, or if they have other weak points that are slowing down their revision. For example, they may tend to procrastinate or find themselves easily distracted.

4. Provide feedback, reward and encourage your child to be self-reflective

At the end of each timeline, review the materials with your child. Discuss with your child if they need more help with the topic or concept. Provide feedback on the ways that they can improve for the next learning goal, and on their weak points that you have observed previously. Remember to reward your child for achieving their learning goals or if they have learnt how to tackle questions that they couldn’t before.

It’s OK if your child makes some mistakes along the way. The key thing to look out for is to see if your child understands and grasps the concept or topic, and if they understand how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Get them to view mistakes and failure as a point for improvement, rather than as setbacks.

From here, get your child to set their own goals. Ask them to estimate how long they’ll need to achieve each learning goal and if they are ready to proceed to the next one. This encourages them to be more disciplined in their studies over time.

Why Encourage Self-Motivated Learning?

The idea of self-motivated learning is to encourage a growth mindset in your child. This exercise allows them to be more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, and to work towards independently improving themselves. In addition, you can further enrich their learning through educational magazines and toys to help them expand their knowledge and interests outside of the classroom, and to help them pick up new interests such as coding

Encouraging self-motivated learning also teaches your child to overcome the setbacks that they will face in their learning. Often, children can become demotivated when they are unable to grasp something as quickly as their peers, or if they often make careless mistakes. By getting them to review their work on a routine basis, they are able to quickly identify which areas they need help in. This is so that they won’t feel as stressed if they have to catch up later. Most importantly, as a parent, you’ll be able to address your child’s learning early on, and hopefully avoid some of the last-minute stresses of exam revision with them!