Since primary school, it is very common to see a child complaining because they don’t want to go to school.
Regarding this, it is possible to find different reasons: some kids complain about their rude teachers, or about the fact they don’t have enough friends while others are lazy and disinterested in school. According to Danish teachers, there are no lazy children but only children with low or little motivation.
Motivation is part of personality traits and it is functional to social success because it helps people provide that energy boost needed to drive their own actions. In fact, it is considered an essential non cognitive skill able to govern human behavior.
If schools wants to get back to motivating students, they should start by making the aim of training coincide with those of education.
Susanna Tamaro, a famous Italian writer who has always been concerned with the education system, says that we must rethink children education from primary school onwards.
“To educate” means to nurture and to guide kids through the transfer of values and knowledge concerning society in all its complexity.
On the other hand, “to train” is related to a more formal notion as it stands for knowledge and ideals are transmitted through a specific point of view.
Today, the school system focuses more on training than on educating. This aim is pursued by teaching approaches which provide students with fragmented blocks of information that they don’t know how to link together.
In this way, school doesn’t encourage students’ interest and, somehow, exits from their daily life. According to Paola Mastrocola (2019), it is likely that school has never entered in students’ life, because it has always represented an abstract culture which is not considered that useful for living life. The results of the OECD PISA 2018 international survey show that the greater the teachers’ enthusiasm, the greater the positive effect on students’ attitudes in terms of motivation, engagement and learning.
The emotional support received from teachers is also crucial and can also influence pupils’ sense of self-efficacy and well-being. For example, 76% of Italian students said that their literature teacher can make them feel confident in their abilities.
According to Social Cognitive Theory, self-efficacy is very close to motivation because the more students believe in themselves, the more ambitious goals they set.
In Italy 86% of young people, say they can find a strategy to get out of difficult situations and another 86% says to feel proud to achieve certain results. An 85% said that they would organize themselves differently, a 68% said they can handle several situations at once and, finally, a 72% admit that thanks to their self-confidence they have overcome difficult times.
Therefore, as Maria Montessori argued in the 1900s, it is necessary for schools and universities to work with strategies able not only transmit knowledge but also sustain student’s curiosity and desire to learn.
Promoting children listening means finding ways to connect school knowledge with student daily life, abilities and skills.