Why children don’t want to learn?

I don’t think I would surprise anyone if I wrote that this is the most common complaint that psychologists hear from both parents and teachers. Along with it, consultations bring in grumpy, irritated, or downright frustrated children who ramble on about “not interested”, “sick of it” or “can’t do it”… Parents see the causes of their problems “in the teachers and school” and teachers, respectively, “in the parents and family”. The result is a classic blame game that does not help children’s desire to learn.

Let’s try to figure out what causes us to study for pleasure. What makes us not just pick up books, but dive into them, stick to them, and get stuck? Not just to solve problems, but to experiment enthusiastically with actions and operations? Not to sit through a class, but to catch every word, to try it on?

There are many explanations and theories. There are those centered on stimulating cognitive interests or creativity, building good relationships with teachers, analyzing situations of success and failure, developing special ways of thinking and children’s attitudes to activities, etc. Last year I had the opportunity to write a research paper on the topic “Stimulating cognitive interests in childhood”, so I want to share some interesting facts I’ve got during writing.

To tell the truth, I’d never cope with this task without the greatest paper writing service. WritingAPaper can deal with any type of “write my paper” request. I thought that everything was gone by the time I contacted the paper writer. Fortunately, he reassured me that my work could be done in 2 days. That was a really proofread research paper and all my requests were taken into account. Feel free to contact the paper writing service Reddit to find more feedback from customers. So my advice for you is to write down this website in your notes. Now, as I’ve said I share with you some interesting facts from my research paper.

Why do children go to school?

First, in each case, I suggest trying to understand the purpose for which a child goes to school, which it holds there the most: friends, learning, a chance to show intelligence and excellence, being a leader, appreciating teachers and peers, a chance to please parents or, conversely, to avoid criticism…

It is also important to understand what discourages, and distracts from school – futile attempts to please classmates, too sharp criticism from parents or teachers, inability to have and therefore boast of cool toys, being overweight, clumsy glasses or other things that make a child feel ridiculed, humiliated or aggressive in their side.

It’s a good idea to construct some kind of ranking of children’s motives, everything that has gathered for and against the school. 

The interesting thing is that children’s desires to go / not to go to school often have a very indirect connection to learning itself, and the “stinky sandwiches” of a neighbor can hurt academic performance as much as anything else.

So, the first thing to do is to try to find out the content and significance of what attracts or distracts a child from school. This is the so-called broad target field, which is worth paying attention to during the first approach. Of course, the situation is unique in any case, and some things can be solved simply “here and now”.

Who needs learning?

Secondly, let’s look at learning itself as an activity. Of course, learning by acquiring new knowledge and skills and developing different competencies is an important and necessary thing. The only question is: for whom?

And this is the question I propose to consider whenever a child loses his or her motivation for learning. What of the things that schools and teachers require a child to do during school hours, which the child needs? – Solving mathematical problems? Learning fiction texts by heart? Spell English words correctly? Is it to sit quietly in class without being able to discuss anything with your neighbor? Solve speed examples? Prove theorems on the blackboard?

I lead to the fact that until the need for activity (any activity, learning activity even more) becomes tangible and obvious to a child, sooner or later we will come across anti-motivation – a persistent unwillingness to carry out this activity.

In the beginning may help some external stimuli – marks, praise, criticism (the desire to avoid it), competitive situations (the desire to win)… First instead of learning motivation may work other things on which the desire to go to school – communication with friends, tasty lunches, the opportunity to tease the duty officer, or walking with a new hairstyle. But over time – and unfortunately, we see this quite often, with each school month, semester, and year – the motivation to learn comes and goes, sometimes to zero.

The enchanted circle of anti-motivation

In each case, we are talking about the development of persistent anti-motivational cycles – repetitive patterns of thinking, emotional experiences, and reactions that become entrenched in the nervous system and become behavioral patterns.

If we try to picture this vicious circle of children’s anti-motivation in a generalized way, it would look something like this. The teacher’s or parent’s demand to do something in class or at home (write a dictation, learn a poem, memorize a trigonometric formula…) triggers everything. This requirement provokes in the child’s mind a whole crowd of thoughts anti-motivators (“I’m fed up, they push me again”, “I can’t do it, I’m not clever”, “it’s boring, not interesting” …). Then these thoughts provoke feelings anti-motivators (longing, boredom, irritation, anger, shame…).

In this emotional state, the child does everything chaotic, procrastinates, suffers… This behavior leads to growing dissatisfaction with the adult, demands grow stronger, they become more severe, and there are reproaches and resentments, which reinforce the anti-motivating thoughts – the circle closes up.

Everyone has these cycles, regardless of age. All they differ in is content. The content of the annoying activity (remember what you don’t want to do the most), the content of the thoughts that come into your head (try to catch exactly what comes into your head when that annoying activity needs doing), the content of the emotional response (what is the typical way of emotional response for you in response to anti-motivational thoughts and the content of behavior (what you do or do not do in the corresponding emotional state).

That is why, thirdly, it is important to understand what anti-motivational thoughts are experienced by each child, what feelings these thoughts provoke in him or her, and what behavior he or she is pushed into. Understanding the content of the opinions is the key to breaking the vicious circle of anti-motivation.

If the child is not confident in himself and his abilities – support him, remind him of the time when he succeeded in everything, tell him how to do it faster and better, give him hints, praise him for his progress, be close to him and be a support. You can even advice him the best essay writing service to help him with his papers. If it is thoughts of other people, their pressure, or devaluation – demonstrate that this is not the case, give more time, say something good and personal, and emphasize how much you appreciate the child and their efforts. If a pupil finds the task boring or meaningless – help him to find something interesting in it, and show him how and where he can apply his knowledge and skills.

All of the above is done, often without noticing it, by those teachers, whom children consider to be excellent. They keep anti-motivational circles from forming or breaking them by stopping the flow of unkind thoughts. They help to develop what is called intrinsic motivation, which is not based on demand, coercion, encouragement, blackmail (or other external stimuli), but on an actualized need to learn – an inner desire to learn, to assimilate, to train.