Session 3

Motivational Styles

Helping students become more motivated is one of the primary reasons parents and families seek out Academic Life Coaching. I find it’s helpful to directly address motivation and help students become aware of their unique motivation style. I found that when students are aware of their style, they make better choices and are better able to keep themselves motivated and moving forward.

The Academic Life Coaching Program looks at three distinctions in motivation styles to give you a better understanding of the factors of motivation and your specific mix that works best for them.

Those three factors are:

1) Conditional vs. Intrinsic

Finding a student’s intrinsic motivation is central to helping students be proactive and excited about their accomplishments in life. The challenge is that school, by necessity to some degree, has taken what was once intrinsically motivating, the idea of learning new things about the world, and has turned it into a conditional and mechanical process of completing homework and receiving grades. The problem with this conditional method is that the material needs to be intrinsically motivating–the students need to be inspired to perform at a higher level.

2) Away from Bad Stuff vs. Toward Good Stuff

This concept is extremely helpful for the students who seem to initially do well in their classes, build up stress, and about half way through the term see a sudden drop in their grades in one or more of those classes. The pattern looks a lot like a roller coaster for students who have A’s in a couple classes, but then D’s and F’s in others.

Most students, especially when the using conditional motivation (their only motivation is the grade), often slip into being motivated away from bad grades as the source for their motivation, which leads into that roller coaster pattern. The problem is that students are merely being reactive rather than proactive in the classroom, or going after the specific knowledge they want for some larger goal. Later on in the Academic Life Coaching program, we will help students understand what their source of motivation is and urge them to be more proactive outside the classroom and focus on positive motivation. For now, this concept is laying the groundwork for that later session.

3) Sake of Self vs. Other

The central idea of this concept is that some people are more motivated if they think what they’re doing is benefiting others in the community around them, especially altruistic motivation. Here’s an example of what this chart aims to do: Let’s say Sam isn’t doing well in math class, but he wants to go into elementary teaching, he will learn the math for the sake of his future students and not necessarily the sake of himself. By doing this, he can change his perspective on math class. His work in math class suddenly becomes something more than just a means to slip by through high school. It becomes a part of a larger journey for him to be of service to others in the future. This concept is a leap for many students. Students can take note of their weaknesses and the ideas presented in this concept as well as how they can directly apply the concept in their daily lives.

Setting Reminders

You have just created a system and some structures to keep things in order. The final step is to create a few reminders to keep you on track. A reminder can be viewed as a mental structure designed to get your mind back in the game when something knocks you off track. Usually, reminders are words, specific movements, or images that you have created to get back in the game. If you have a solid structure and a few reminders to help you recover quickly, you will find it easier to move forward at a steady, effective pace.

Your coach will help you create a few of your own reminders. And as you go through the next few sessions in the Academic Life Coaching Program, you will have the chance to create some of your own.

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