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Why can’t children motivate themselves to learn?

    Because we take all the difficulties out of their way! In their own eyes, they did well with what they delivered. If others don’t see it that way, there are difficulties and they don’t like them at all.

    In this context, successfully dealing with bad grades is a key factor: I’m not doing well, I feel bad. That is the feeling the young people are in and that should be acknowledged. What is the next step? Where is the focus? Do I get help, look at how I can learn better next time and what exactly I did wrong? Most children don’t even know where their deficits were when they bring home bad grades.

    They don’t see mistakes as part of learning. Carol Dweck has coined the terms growing and fixed self-image. With a growing self-image, children are able to learn new things, to acquire skills, to grow. With a fixed self-image, they are convinced that they are bad and that nothing can be done about it. The others are better.

    But effort counts twice in comparison to talent: talent only tells us how quickly we develop skills when we make an effort. Success comes when we make an effort and use the skills we have learned.

    “The others are just better, they have more talent” – This is nothing but a convenient excuse! After all, it doesn’t put any pressure on us to try harder. But if it’s not the genius of the others, it logically means: we can also achieve that if we make an effort. We are afraid of comparisons and pressure, so talent is a welcome explanation that makes us feel much better about the status quo. An excuse, in fact.

    See Motivation to learn: this is how it works.