How to motivate children's learning

When it comes to writing a Chinese composition, parents often complain: 'My child does not like writing.' 'My child does not know how to add more details.' 'My child does not use adventurous vocabulary.' 

However, haven't we all been in a similar situation? When the boss asks us to write about something that we do not care about, that does not interest us or that we genuinely think is insignificant, would we put in our best effort and demonstrate our magnificent rhetorical skills? Probably not. Conversely, when we blog our thoughts and emotions online or picture an absurd sci-tech world in our mind, we feel we can do just as well as those best-selling book authors.

This also applies to learning in and beyond the classroom. Suppose the children are intrinsically motivated and passionate about what they are learning. The outcomes will always be magnificent.

Personalising education to instil a love for learning

How do we encourage children's motivation?

Below, I will share some ways to motivate students' learning:

Stimulating, captivating and up-to-date learning material

Curiosity helps children to learn deeply and for a longer amount of time. With the small class size at Mount Kelly, teachers are able to understand each student's interests. Accordingly, we select and adapt our materials to suit students' individual needs.

Scaffolding education

When a task is too difficult that is beyond a student's ability, they will be unlikely to feel motivated. Scaffolding in education provides students with support in completing a writing task and helps them develop thinking and planning skills. As each step is challenging but achievable, pupils gradually become more confident and comfortable in finishing a task independently from the positive feedback they receive from the teacher.

Student at Mount Kelly Hong Kong

First-hand experience and cross-curricular activities improve students' engagement

If a teacher asks students living in tropical areas to write about snow, they probably wouldn't be able to do as well as students from Nordic countries. It is understandable a student would not know where to start when writing about something they have never done or seen before. Therefore, it is important to give students opportunities to discover, observe and experience life and the world around them.

In addition, when students make connections across different subjects, they are more resourceful and creative in problem-solving. At Mount Kelly, Chinese is not independent from other subjects. Chinese teachers work closely with other teachers and plan their lessons collaboratively. In this manner, students are able to connect the knowledge they learnt in different subjects and reproduce it in Chinese with their imagination and inventiveness.

In a word, only when we maintain children's motivation and passion in learning can they reach their full potential.

Written by Suea Han, Chinese Subject Leader at Mount Kelly Hong Kong.

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