Motivation, Confidence and Examination Performance at school
By Ian Geddes
Being a parent is always stressful. From birth until they hit 50! The years at school can be particularly full of concern. As long as we have exams, young people will often suffer from lapses of confidence and motivation. So what can you do? This two part blog will introduce you to some techniques, skills and approaches that will increase performance, motivation and confidence.
So what motivates you? Consider that for a moment. Research indicates that it varies. It may be the desire to achieve a target. It could be money. Or the good feeling that you get that comes with success. It may be linked to a dream. You may not want to let someone down. Fear of failure. This article is not the place to talk about the limits of success. As a motivation coach and practitioner of NLP, I firmly believe that it is the individual that always sets the boundaries. If you fear failure or believe that you will fail, then inevitable, that is exactly what happens. If you go for a driving test, with negativity, then you will fail. If you always believe that the worst will happens, then inevitably it will happen. For me, having been a teacher, marker, writer of school text books and study skill books and question setter I recognise that success follows those people who know the system, revise and practise. Ask any student what do they need to do to pass their driving test, become better at the guitar or hit the ball further and straighter at golf? Answer? Visualise the experience and practise.
So here are the first 5 of my key steps to increase motivation, confidence and performance.
- The carrot or the stick?
Always the carrot! Your children should learn about the importance of ‘deferred gratification’. Put in the effort now and reap the benefits later. Never compare one son /daughter with another one. So what makes them ‘tick’? Clothes? A game? Travel? Money?
This then can become a motivational drive. Admittedly not necessarily the best incentive but often very effective. We are aiming for ‘self motivation’, but inducements may help.
- A healthy body and a healthy mind!
This starts early in the development of the child. However at stressful times it is even more important to get the balance right. A diet of pickled onion crisps and a gallon of American Cream Soda, will not be enough! Sleep. Exercise. Fluids. A nutritional diet. Social contact with friends. A routine
- Surround them with images of success
Get images of inspirational people. Encourage stories of people who have made the most of their life and motivated others. These can be figures from the past or contemporary figures, whether taken from sport or business or the media. Successful motivational figures can inspire others to follow in their track. Search the web for inspirational quotes or posters or downloads. Let them know that they deserve success.
I really believe that it is important to think through what is in store. What will the future hold for them? How will it feel to pass the exam? How will they feel when they open the letter from the exam board with the results and see the pass? Get your son/ daughter to get to know the system. Imagine walking into the exam room, seeing the paper. Visualise the day.
There have to be limits. Sometimes the distractions can dig deep into the time and focus. It is always possible to gain the benefits from using technology in revision. There are good sites. Revising for exams should always have time built in for socialising, but negotiate and agree on those limits. Have a time limit for screen technology, whether it is the TV, a computer, a console or even a smart phone. Allocate time, separate from revising, for social media networking. Phones should not be a tempting distraction.
I hope that you found these tips and techniques useful. Part 2, will follow.
You may wish to consult book or sites that will provide additional advice. One book I would recommend is ‘How to Pass SQA Exams’. Whilst the SQA bit refers to the Scottish system, all the techniques and skills are generic. I recommend it, because I wrote it!