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The Motivation Mystery - Nine Methods to Encourage Active Learning揭秘孩子们学习的内驱力 - 主动学习的九大制胜法则

The Motivation Mystery - nine ways lead to Active Learning

What if we could tap into a child’s inner desire to learn? How could a parent promote learning when their child appears disinterested and unengaged? How could using coaching of self-efficacy, increase internal motivation to learn? How should teachers and parents work together to encourage active learning for primary students?

Written by | Laura Purser Head of Primary and Early Years ITT, SEND & Inclusion Lead, Mental Health and Well-Being Support, University of Buckingham
Edited by | BISE

1. The importance of the learning environment

It is more likely that the physical environment changes and therefore attitudes and actions tend to follow the new schema or institutional norms it sits within. Learning can be invisible and much more visceral and almost magical than that described. 

There is a stark contrast between the colourful primary classroom, with resources freely accessible and designated areas for learning that inspire and encourage collaboration, compared with that of secondary, often with pupils seated in rows, with high levels of textbook use and minimal displays.

Primary school classroom and a secondary school classroom

As children reach their teenage years, do we now think that the environment needs to be duller or information better transmitted and put into children’s brains through osmosis? Do we now view knowledge as effectively ready to be dropped into the mind, like building blocks ready to pick up later when directed?

2. Age and Development

Is it harder to engage a primary or secondary aged pupil in learning?

Those who are parents of teenagers would certainly give examples of how engagement becomes more difficult as children reach certain ages. Add to this the current situation and context and you have a perfect storm of the struggle. However, there are many a child in the younger age ranges who may have very differing needs and therefore changes the emphasis and provision to engage a learner.

3. Is ‘Teach to the Test’ cancelled?

We do not always have the privilege to decide on what children ‘need’ to be learning, as it is often set-in schools, who are dictated by some extent through the national curriculum. It could also be decided upon unconsciously during the planning process due to the ‘teach to the test’ necessity that has become prevalent in today’s society.

Early Years and Primary school settings perhaps avoid this the best by focusing on topic work or learning through play approaches. This may be the time to flip things round and use skills-based and project methods to engage resistant learners across the older age groups.

Unfortunately, the narrative has been drummed into us across generations that in order for progression in career or to access full opportunities for work, we need to achieve ‘good’ grades that set a trajectory for our life course beyond school. Therefore, education tends to lean towards the syllabus as a direct guide to the content taught and leave the topic approach learning to the younger or Special Needs pupils.

Is it possible to build self-efficacy and internal motivation for learning? We need to help identify the stepping stones that can help them bridge the intention to action and reach their goal. If we can encourage these principles, this may be the key for them in getting across to the other side of the bridge that they have designed for themselves.

4. The Power of a Mind Map

Usually, ‘let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start’ as advocated by Maria Von Trapp – Sound of Music, would be great advice. Except in this case, where working backwards actually comes in much more use. If they know where they want to end up, then we can help them map the pathway and steps it takes to achieve the outcome they desire.

A Mind Map can be a very effective tool to get thoughts, ideas and plans onto paper and out of our heads in a visual and comprehendible way.

5. Coaching Self-Efficacy

Approaching internal motivation for learning can be exceptionally powerful when engaging in coaching type discussions. Unsurprisingly, it is very different when supporting an individual who is not your own child as the emotional trigger points and investment levels are lower. Therefore, it is much easier to be objective and neutral. Parents can learn from these techniques used in education settings, to stimulate thinking about engagement in the learning process. If this proves to be extremely challenging, they could also ask a supporting role model in the child’s life to have these types of conversations – sometimes words from someone who is not Mum or Dad, can be heard much louder.

6. Connection

The stronger your connection and the more authentic your relationship with your child, the safer they will feel in talking to you. Find moments for true connection and ask your child when it might be okay to have this conversation. Picking your time together would be ideal but that may not always be an option so perhaps choosing a moment where tension is low, they do not feel threatened and emotionally are feeling regulated. Best to ensure everyone has had food, water and sleep first!

7. Setting the goal

What do they desire?

The lovely and undoubtedly tricky thing for us parents, is we want the best for our children. However, we all have pre-conceived ideas of what that might be in our heads. Therefore, it is easy to slip into our own unconsciously bias view of what success might look like and how we envisage education and learning should be. If we try to impose these views, no matter how well intentioned, they may not be received kindly. We should try to avoid using our own language as a basis for the discussion. In fact, the smaller amount you talk, the better the quality of information you will receive. The key is asking questions, pausing and listening.

8. Posing questions

How to pose a question?

Our goal is to facilitate thinking. So how we choose to phrase a question impacts on how the individual receives it and considers their position.

The tone, the choice of vocabulary and the syntax all makes a difference. How you frame the words and what you are actually trying to ask, needs to be thought through carefully before beginning to engage in these types of potentially sensitive topics.

If you stay curious and open, they may just follow your lead. You are the role model after all and even if they reject this ideal adamantly, they will still be looking to you for guidance on how to behave and respond.

9. Pause … and wait

Wait longer than you would usually feel comfortable. Silence is power and a allowing quiet space creates opportunity for safe thinking and processing before a productive answer is formed. If we jump into this gap with well-meaning talk, ideas or prompts, we are effectively denying them the time and thinking space to create their own thoughts. They may become more and more disengaged the more you speak. So, pause … and wait.

In summary: –

  • Validate the child’s views and thoughts towards their goals and support them by using carefully framed questions to articulate what they want to achieve in their own words.
  • Be patient and wait for responses before jumping in with your ideas and allow space for thoughts to develop into plans and eventually action.
  • Demonstrate your value of education and learning by going beyond telling and show the child how you engage in the learning process yourself.

If we can get children to move from magnifying external pressures for compliance towards encouragement of the pursuit of knowledge, we may just tap into unlocking their realisation of the value of intrinsic motivation for learning.


  • 如何激发孩子内心的学习欲望? 
  • 当孩子不爱学、不投入时如何促进改善? 
  • 如何培养孩子主动学习的习惯?

在孩子初入小学的时候,很多家长都有这样的焦虑,却束手无策。白金汉大学小学及学前教育新教师培训负责人Laura Purser提出以下九大法则,或许能回答以上问题,同时也能帮助家长和老师共同营造主动学习的良好氛围。

作者|Laura Purser 白金汉大学小学及学前教育 新教师培训负责人

1. 学习环境




2. 年龄与发展


3. 避免被“应试”

我们并不拥有决定孩子“需要”学习什么的权力,因为学校提供固定的课程,还要遵从国家课标的支配。由于当今社会普遍存在的“应试教育”,校本课程的设置可能被潜移默化的“被应试”了。 学前和小学阶段的学习可以通过完成特定主题或者从玩中学来避免“被应试”的情况。现在可以使用以技能或项目制学习法吸引年龄较大却又不积极参与的学习者。 


4. 思维导图

通常人们都是顺着思维的先后顺序进行思考。但有时候逆向思维也有很多用途。如果孩子们知道他们的最终目标,我们可以帮助他们通过倒推来规划实现他们目标所需的途径和步骤。 思维导图是一种非常有效的工具,它能以视觉的方式将想法、观点和计划呈现在纸上。

5. 自我效能


6. 建立联系


7. 设定目标


8. 提出问题


9. 暂停等待





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