Parents need an attitude adjustment to improve their children's homework motivation

August 31, 2011

Parents who want to improve their child's motivation to complete homework this school year need to change their own attitude and behavior, according to a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers.

In the study published in Learning and Individual Differences, BGU researchers found that if had a more positive, supportive attitude and communicated the learning value as motivation, rather than focusing on completing an assignment or getting a higher grade, then the child's attitude and motivation would improve.

Dr. Idit Katz, Dr. Avi Kaplan and doctoral student Tamara Buzukashvily, of BGU's Department of Education, recommend parents give their children some choices, including when or where to do homework. "Parents can improve a sense of competence by allowing children to structure their own tasks and by giving the child the feeling that he is loved and admired no matter how successful he or she is in math or language," the researchers said.

The study also shows that parents should ask themselves about their own motivations, attitudes and competence before trying to "treat" or "change" the child. Moreover, educational programs that try to change the attitude and motivation of students toward homework should not keep the parents "out of the loop" as their behavior is essential.

"Little formal research has been conducted about the where homework is taking place, although it has been an integral part of education and is a controversial yet often used educational practice," according to the study. "The home environment is just as important for instilling positive motivation as the school is."

The researchers conducted the study at two with 135 fourth graders and one of each child's parents. The students completed questionnaires regarding their level of motivation to do homework, while parents answered another survey on their willingness to help. This allowed perceptions of the home environment to be examined from both perspectives.

Among the sample, more than 60 percent of parents reported being involved with their child's homework once a week and 35 percent indicated being involved every day or more than once a week. Only four percent said they are never involved in their child's .

Explore further: Gender gap in math confidence is studied

Related Stories

Wrong type of help from parents could worsen child's OCD

June 17, 2009

For most parents, soothing a child's anxiety is just part of the job. But for a parent whose child has obsessive-compulsive disorder, soothing anxiety and helping with behaviors linked to the disease could lead to more severe ...

Probing Question: Is homework bad for kids?

September 4, 2009

Ask an 11-year-old whether homework is a bad thing, and you’ll likely be greeted with vigorous nodding and not a hint of ambiguity, but do grown-up experts agree? As with so many things, the answer is mixed.

Do kids benefit from homework?

November 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Homework is as old as school itself. Yet the practice is controversial as people debate the benefits or consider the shortcomings and hassles. Research into the topic is often contradictory and certain districts ...

Reasons explored for making child repeat first grade

January 13, 2010

Reasons for requiring a child to repeat the first grade may go far beyond the basic "three R's," reveals a study by two Texas A&M University education psychologists. They say parents must often shoulder at least part of the ...

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

Fractals patterns in a drummer's music

August 28, 2015

Fractal patterns are profoundly human – at least in music. This is one of the findings of a team headed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and Harvard University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.