Hello and welcome to your third email of The Study Gurus’ straight A’s email course!
Imagine how much easier your job as a parent would be if your teen actually wanted to do well at school. And not just because they wanted good grades, but because they find learning genuinely interesting.
Today we’re going to talk about how to make this happen.
At this stage you should have a pretty good idea of how to help your teen realize why school is important to THEM (think back to my last email about motivation).
But – the whole process of getting motivated about doing well academically would be a LOT easier – for you and your teen – if they found learning genuinely interesting, and didn’t just think of school as a means to an end.
This might seem like an impossibility right now, but changing your teen’s attitude about school can start with a few very basic changes…
Explain WHY their subjects are important
No one does anything they see no point in. We talked about this in my last email.
Unfortunately the real world relevance of many subjects is often lost in the classroom. Most teens don’t have a clue why what they’re learning about is important.
As a result – and not surprisingly – they don’t think it’s important.
So how do you bring your teen’s subjects to life?
A great way to spark your teen’s interest in a subject is by simply talking to them about what they’re learning.
Even as adults we don’t often appreciate the world around us, so it’s no wonder our teens don’t. But when you think about the real world relevance of what your teen is learning at high school, it’s pretty amazing. Whether it’s understanding what gravity really is, or what a cell really is, or what the United Nations really does.
In this case, you need to lead by example.
If you show enthusiasm about what your teen is learning at school, they will take notice of this. Your interest will rub off.
Where can you start?
With their math and science subjects, see if you can have a chat about the real world application of a particular equation. What’s the point in it? When would they use it outside of school? For example, what does E = mc² actually mean?!
(If it’s been a while since your last physics class, this is a great chance for you to learn something alongside your teen – perhaps you can peruse the internet for information together.)
Say you’re talking about biology – maybe you could talk about how incredible it is that all living things are made of tiny things called cells?! And that cells and everything else are made up entirely of atoms! It can becoming quite mind-blowing when you actually sit down to think about it.
With their English, History, and other art subjects, there are a thousand different conversations you could have about a particular concept or something historical.
For example, it was only 60 odd years ago that your teen’s grandfathers or great grandfathers went off to fight in WW2 to protect our freedom! That’s pretty amazing. Maybe you could ask them if they know why they had to leave their country to fight?
Or maybe they’re reading a book in English class? What’s it about? Are they enjoying it? Yes? No? Why not? What would they rather read about?
Open and topical questions like these that start an interesting conversation will bring your teen’s subjects to life.
This will also help remove any negative association your teen has with their subjects and school.
Stress the learning, not the grade.
The overall point I’m trying to make today, is that in order for your teen to want to do well at school, they need to have an appreciation of learning. It may not be a conscious appreciation, but it needs to be there one way or another.
In the long run, the skill of being able to learn and enjoy it is far more valuable than an A.
When your teen starts to appreciate learning they’ll find they enjoy school much, much more. They’ll focus on the subject without associating it with school (which “sucks”).
The brilliant thing about all this is, if your teen enjoys learning and enjoys school, then they’re going to be well on their way to getting good grades anyway!
With a positive attitude towards school in place, your teen’s attention span will be better, their ability to retain information will be better, and they’ll be far more receptive to taking on board new study techniques.
There’s a LOT to be said for explaining the relevance behind each subject and showing your teen WHY what they’re learning is important.
I hope you have some interesting discussions with your teen. Don’t be put off if they don’t respond straight away. Getting them on the path to straight-A’s is a process and it’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen.
Remember you can always email me if you’re stuck and have any questions!
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Clare & Chris (The Study Gurus)
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