Articles for parents

Encouragement can keep children engaged in education

Nov 2018
Encouragement can keep children engaged in education

[Updated February 2020]

A report published by the BBC revealed the positive effect teacher encouragement has on keeping students engaged in education after the age of 16.

Based on interviews of 4,300 students carried out by Cambridge University, as part of the Department for Education's Longitudinal Study of Young People in England, this is the first study of its kind to quantify the effect of encouragement on pupils.

The students were interviewed annually over a period of seven years, from the age of 13 onwards.

Among students who said they had received encouragement from a teacher, 74% continued with their education after 16, compared with 66% among pupils who had not received encouragement.

However, it is not simply encouragement from a teacher which will keep a student motivated and committed to their studies; you too have a great influence upon your child's education and can empower them to strive for academic success.

You are their first, and often their greatest role model, so regular praise and encouragement from you will help your child to develop in confidence and belief in their own ability.

With this added self-confidence they will feel comfortable tackling new work and taking on new challenges at school; their attitude will change from a negative one to a positive one, and hopefully so will their feelings towards the subject itself.

You make sure the calm, productive learning environment of the classroom is replicated in the home. And particularly for younger students, in establishing a dedicated study area and routine early on, you help ensure they are equipped with the study skills, habit, and attitude to stay on top of their workload, and never feel stressed or overwhelmed by it.

Moreover, when you show an interest in their study, your child will feel more comfortable coming to you for support and will be less likely to give up knowing you are invested in their work just as much as they are. If you lead by example, staying positive and maintaining a focus on their long-term goals, they will likely follow your lead.

Encouragement is an important part of the Kumon Method of Learning; Kumon study centres allow our students the time and space to grow in their own learning, with the guidance of an Instructor. This means that students feel confident and supported to work things out for themselves and to give it a try. This can build tremendous confidence in those students that might feel nervous or are easily disheartened, but also support those that want to be further challenged. 
Instructors acknowledge the growth of each student, without comparison to others, offering them praise and encouragement for their efforts and progress. 

We encourage our parents to observe their child completing their Kumon study at home and provide praise and reassurance in order to keep them motivated and focused. For students completing new or advanced work, this support is extremely important in making sure they do not become demotivated or disheartened as they strive to achieve.

Whilst the Department for Education's study concentrated on older students and teachers, it lends real weight to the long-term effects of encouragement on all young people, not just in school but in all areas of their life.

Click here to read the full report from the BBC.