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Key Ideas (1 page)
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Key Ideas
1. To try your best to learn at school, you need to believe that there is a benefit to you that
you consider important.
2. The best way to tell if you are motivated is by the amount of effort that you put forth
(not by the grades you get).
3. School success is best measured by your personal progress, not by whether you are
doing better or worse than other students.
4. If you try your best and see that you are making progress, you are likely to experience
the positive feelings of pride and mastery.
5. Even if you are not as good as other students at a school task, effort and assistance from
a teacher are often sufficient to help you improve.
6. Noticing the things that you do, or stop doing, that help you make progress is important in order to feel proud of your efforts.
7. Feedback is almost always necessary in order to correct errors and make progress.
Feedback is only helpful, however, if you hear the feedback accurately.
8. You need to be sure that you are hearing feedback accurately when you are upset and,
likewise, be sure at these times that your explanations for why you may not have done
well fits the facts.
9. If you feel helpless and hopeless, set a short-term goal that is fair—that is, a goal that
you can achieve if you try hard. Pay special attention to how your effort affects the
amount of progress that you make. Be sure to take credit for any progress you earn by
your effort.
10. If you feel discouraged, try to challenge your “down thoughts,” and problem solve—
for example, try to find someone who can show you a new strategy.
11. Anxious feelings interfere with motivation. Try to be aware of your anxiety signals and,
once you identify them, use a relaxation technique, self-talk, and/or problem solving
to reduce the anxiety that you are feeling.
12. Often when someone feels anxious about how well they can do in carrying out a school
task, they try to avoid doing it. If you have the urge to avoid schoolwork, try to figure
out what you are afraid of, set a reasonable goal, have courage, and, try, focusing on
how much effort you are putting out. Compliment yourself on your courage. It is hard
to try in the presence of anxiety.
13. Ask for help, especially when you have been trying and are still unsure how to do the
14. You need to pay attention in order to improve. It is easier to pay attention if you
organize your study space and eliminate potential distractions. Create a routine, and
regularly check to see if you are on track.
From Enhancing Academic Motivation: An Intervention Program for Young Adolescents.
Copyright © 2006 by Norman Brier. Research Press (800-519-2707; www.researchpress.com)