How Do You Help an Unmotivated Student? | Nurturing Wisdom Tutoring

How Do You Help an Unmotivated Student?

One of our tutors, Kristi, talks about how she motivates her less enthusiastic students.

First, it can help to unpack the label of “unmotivated.” Most of us feel unmotivated or reluctant toward a task at one time or another. Instead of overt labeling, it’s usually helpful to talk with students directly about the specific times they feel least motivated.  When given the chance, most students can articulate reasons why they don’t want to do a particular task, which can help them address a roadblock to performance.

Second, my personal understanding of motivation is stolen directly from Nike: Just Do It.  Many of us believe that motivation comes from thinking or feeling a certain way toward a task (“I’ll do it just as soon as I feel eager to do it”), but that’s not how motivation works. Motivation is fueled by action. In the context of tutoring, getting a student working on something right away and then reflecting on that action can help him or her understand this concept.  That self-reflection after action is key to reinforcing both the student’s behavior and his/her confidence in the task.