Memory Medic

How to improve everyday memory.

Improving Motivation to Learn

Advice to students and parents.

When it comes to improving learning and memory, motivation is way ahead of whatever is in second place. From my own experience and from observing hundreds of students, it is clear to me that people will learn when they WANT to learn. Even in the face of bad textbooks, bad schools, bad teachers, … whatever, motivated students will learn. If people with few learning resources, like Booker T. Washington or Abe Lincoln could do it in their day, our kids can certainly do it with all the information available in the millions of books in public libraries and web sites on the Internet.

One of my blog readers called my attention to a recent post on NannyPro.com web site, entitled “24 Blogs Filled with Ideas on How to Motivate Your Kids to Finish the School Year Strong.” As author Michelle points out, motivation of students in school commonly falls in the Spring sinkhole of Spring break and end-of-year doldrums.

Advice to parents includes specific ways to set goals, tips for getting kids to do homework, and ideas for pumping up motivation. Michelle’s blog has links to other useful sites. Those I checked that looked promising to me included one on “21 Simple Ideas to Improve Student Motivation.” Another helpful site is titled “Reward Effort Before Test Day.” Other site topics you might want to check out include:

  • “Homework That Motivates”
  • “Lighting A Fire: Motivating Boys To Succeed”
  • “The Secret of Setting Successful Goals”
  • “Top Tips: Getting kids to do their homework”

Michelle also lists some ideas for schools to do. Parents ought to take a look at these and make suggestions that could be appropriate for their local school.

If you haven’t gotten your child a copy of my “Better Grades, Less Effort” you have denied them of a possible school-life-changing opportunity. It may be the best $2.99 you ever spent.

William Klemm, D.V.M., Ph.D., is a Professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University.

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