Having recently been busy with a number of different projects in different schools - all of which happen to be "higher-level" schools where parents fight for a place for their children there - I got to thinking about an observation that I made a long time ago that was recently refreshed for me.
Why are some students so keen and eager to learn while others are not?
I think part of this boils down to the first post I made, especially two of the questions: "What am I doing here?" and "How will this benefit me?"
There is the question of motivation. A student who is uninterested or unmotivated will not display eagerness to learn.
It got me to thinking about why there is such a disparity in attitudes. After all, these are supposed to be bright students (they were specifically selected for the program) who have done well academically.
One of my trains of thought went to their families. Could it be that they are not disciplined at home to focus on the work they need to do, be it homework from school or household chores? Could it be that the parents did not have much of an education and thus cannot help them with questions they have? Could it be that the parents are too busy to satisfy their curiosity and questions?
Every person has a streak of curiosity. However, I have learnt that if, at an early stage, I am constantly unable to get answers, I lose interest and thus lose motivation.
Could it be that we need to educate parents on how to engage their children so they can nurture a learning environment at home? Perhaps we there are larger societal changes that are needed for this to take place. After all, a busy parent has hardly enough energy to handle the incessant questioning of a curious child.
This is no small problem. A lack of motivation in a few members of a class often leads to a general lack of motivation in many more. It also affects the teacher and lowers the overall education experience. In time, if not handled well, it can affect the entire school.
Is this over-presumptuous? Perhaps it can be seen that way. Nevertheless, this is a big question with no simple answers. I hope to come up with a better solution in the near future and hope to revisit this again.