Teachers and parents are continually faced with the challenge of how to motive their children. Sometimes a highly bright and able child will appear to have genuine difficulty in remembering facts – but will immediately be able to commit equally difficult facts about something of real interest.
We know that we are all supposed to demonstrate primary motivation – that is the motivation for hunger and thirst and so on. So, for example, if we are hungry we have the ability to learn very quickly how to do something. But the problem is that as a child gets older and more sophisticated is it more difficult to work out what is driving the motivation.
If your child sits down to do a difficult exercise because he or she wants to please you and earn even more security and love then this is very different motivation to completing an Eleven Plus exercise for the reward of a trip to the cinema.
We hope that some children will want to do well because of affection for their teacher or tutor. Other children will be driven by a need for the heady feeling of success.
But there is always that unknown factor when we are dealing with some children – that is that sort of counter motivation – where the child just does not appear to reach his or her potential. However hard a teacher or parent will try, the child will appear to put up a barrier. In spite of this some parents will attempt to run their whole Eleven Plus adventure with full praise and lots of affection.
The phrase the `headless chicken’ comes to mind. In the case of chicken the nerves will keep the body going long after the head has been chopped off. With some children and adults there could be symptoms of being disorganised and ineffective. At a low level this could manifest itself by simply delaying any attempt to start work. Further down the scale the child may attempt to pick a fight or argue about something both inconsequential and with limited relevance.