I have lost count of the number of parents of secondary aged students who have complained to me that they can not motivate their son/ daughter to revise. The biggest difficulty appears to be boys, although many girls are also under achieving. I have wondered at the reason for this. Is it that with an increase in mock exams and a more robust curriculum the Education system has left students feeling that they do not need to revise over a longer period? Are students demotivated from having to repeat exams? Do British children take education for granted?
The largest barrier to students studying at home appears to be their desire to engage with technology, from the ipad, to the play station and the ever enticing delights of the internet from facebook to you tube and snap chat- technology is competing for student’s attention, resulting in lost revision time and family conflict.
Are traditional methods of revision, reading textbooks, making notes, old fashioned? Or has it always been that teenagers have found other things that they would rather do than revise? If a student has a career goal and these require certain exam grades they are more likely to be self motivated to study. This, however is not always the case and I am seeing an increasing number of high ability students achieving average, rather than, exceptional grades.
For parents who have younger students, establish a study routine early and set high expectations. Increase the amount of time a student is expected to study for with age. At Key Stage One this might be 15-20 mins 3 times a week on reading, maths and spelling. At Key Stage Two this might be 45mins 3 times a week. Moving towards GCSE students needing to do 2-3 hours 3/4 times a week. Put this in place, regardless of the homework which is being set by schools. There are many study books available now; I am happy to recommend providers to those who require some guidance.
For those of you who already have teenage students who are approaching exams, perhaps we need to look at modern revision methods to motivate students. Can students create a powerpoint to revise from instead of the old fashioned note taking?
Consider using You tube to revise Science experiments which may not be able to be re-created in the house.
Boys in particular learn better by hands on experiences so consider a trip to the National Space Centre, the Natural History museum or the Science museum.
Above all Revision should be timetabled, regular and in small blocks. Try to work with the student to establish realistic goals and expectations. Revision should be time tabled to still allow time for recreation but should not be replaced by recreation.