How can pupils stay motivated at home?

By School House

4 years ago

Top tips for young people to help stay motivated during school closures, by Andy Johnson, Deputy Head Academic at St Dunstan’s College

stay motivated
As schools have largely closed their doors to pupils, parents will have a job on their hands to keep them motivated in these unique and uncertain times
  1. Do what you can to ensure your physical environment supports you – think about what should be present to enable study, including necessary technology, and also what should be absent, including unnecessary technology.
  2. Actively schedule periods of study time every day when you will not work from a screen, however big or small that screen is.
  3. Do what you can to keep a regular and familiar routine – from getting up, through the timings and lesson subjects of your normal school day, and into the evenings and homework timetables.
  4. Don’t spend all day in pyjamas! Have a professional mindset – dress, sit, speak and write in your ‘school’ tone and register. Then enjoy changing mindset at the end of the school day!
  5. Celebrate achievements! Remind yourself what you have achieved regularly – the end of each day, the end of the week, the end term, etc. It’s important to celebrate what has been achieved!
  6. Keep a balance in your life. Outside of that school day routine, put your existing hobbies and interests into the diary to ensure you keep them, and then build homework and study around them. This may also be the perfect opportunity to try something new.
  7. Agree a personal and motivating set of rules, expectations, and targets – including rewards and sanctions – with your parents from the start. Provide them with the first draft and negotiate from there.
  8. Remember that your parents will be anxious for your best interests and that’s probably why they are interfering when they do. So remind them of those rules and expectations you all agreed before a situation of tension arose.
  9. Be outward looking and choose to help somebody else at least once every day – a fellow student, a family member, a friend or member of your community. The wider world still values and needs you.
  10. Reflect on the ‘constants’ – the things you cannot influence, like what will happen with public examinations – and ‘variables’ – the things you can, like whether or not you spend the next 30 minutes on social media or doing maths. Make a decision as far as is possible not to spend emotional energy on the constants. Actively choose to influence the variables to your advantage.
  11. Talk to people every day, whether you are feeling great or not, or on top of things or not. It might just be that the person you speak to really needs to speak with you. 
  12. Eating, sleeping and regular exercise are important!
  13. It’s a marathon not a sprint, for you and for those around you, so think about the expectations you have of yourself and others about when things get done and how you ask for what you need. Invest positively and for the long term in the relationships you will be living every day.
Andy Johnson, Deputy Head Academic at St Dunstan’s College

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