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Developing your child's motivation for learning

It was great to see parents at the second EAL Coffee Morning on Thursday morning. The aim of the meeting was to continue to build partnership with parents but also to provide useful ideas to use at home. A lot of what was presented is applicable to all parents, not just those whose children are on EAL support or second language learners. The full talk can be found here in English:

How to increase your child’s motivation

Intrinsic motivation comes from within a child and is unaffected by outside influences (e.g. rewards, grades, etc.). Studies have shown that students are happier, more engaged, and perform better when they have high levels of intrinsic motivation.

Here are some ideas you can try with your child to increase their intrinsic motivation:

  • Focus on your child’s interests – children are far more eager to learn when they are interested in the topic, which can be linked to any reading or writing activity
  • Help with homework
  • Allow your child to make mistakes and focus on their strengths
  • Give positive praise to your child within 5 seconds of the action they completed

The importance of reading with your child

Reading with your child is incredibly important for their development; not only for their language but for all areas of their academic life. At any age, setting 20 minutes aside to read daily provides parents with opportunities to bond, have meaningful conversations and, above all, have fun with their child. Studies have shown that children who are read to frequently achieve higher assessment scores. For more information on how to maximise the benefits of you and your child’s reading time, visit the reading section of the EAL blog.

Conversation in the home language

Research shows that quality two-way conversation in a child’s first language has enormous benefits their learning and development. Some of these benefits include:

  • Brain growth
  • Language development
  • Improved exam results
  • Improved Speaking and Writing skills
  • Better vocabulary
  • More self-confidence

Make time for conversation every day. You could easily do this at the dinner table, by going out for a walk or at bedtime.

Here is some general advice to help you when you have a conversation with your child:

  • Encourage your child to think before speaking
  • Make sure they speak in full sentences and extend their answers using because…..
  • Ask them to be ambitious with the vocabulary they use
  • Ask them to speak clearly and confidently while making eye contact
  • Ask questions using ‘How’ and ‘Why’
  • Teach polite speaking by getting them to use responses such as ‘Thank you’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘Please’ and ‘Excuse Me’
  • Give them lots of praise to help improve their self-confidence. Use phrases such as ‘Well done!’ or ‘Great job!’

Here are some practical activities you can do at home with your child:

  • Reading - spend at least 20 minutes a day reading with your child in their home language or in English
  • Play Board games with them - this will really encourage discussion
  • Painting - ask lots of questions about the things your child is painting
  • Building Lego - ask what pieces you need to make buildings taller and stronger
  • Cooking – talk about vocabulary, cooking utensils etc.
  • Discuss homework and posts on SeeSaw

Finally, after-school tutoring is not as important as spending time with your child doing fun activities as these will help develop a lot of very important skills. In addition, ensure your child gets at least 9 to 11 hours of sleep. A good night’s sleep will help your child’s mind to absorb everything from the day and refresh for tomorrow.  We also suggest a relaxed, healthy breakfast before school to feed the brain, body and it makes your child feel better about the day ahead.

Please visit our EAL blog which has a Parents’ Zone not just for EAL children as a lot of the ideas are useful for all parents and students.

The EAL Team

Learn more:

Early Years and Infant Campus Teacher BIS HCMC

Academic Support

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