The Neuroscience Behind Motivation & The Importance of Maintaining Academic Momentum

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Motivation is the key to success for most young students. Achieving goals and learning requires plenty of motivation, especially for students with difficulties in reading, writing, and math. While motivation is a complex concept for kids to grasp, parents can learn about the mechanisms behind motivation and how tapping into those can help increase motivation and determination levels. 

Understanding The Neuroscience of Motivation

In education, motivation is the desire to learn, try, and persevere. The study of neuroscience talks about how students’ motivation levels are directly linked to increased effort. Once students see their behavior and choices’ effectiveness, their performance improves overall. 

Motivation is fueled by dopamine, a chemical in the brain that gives us that rush of satisfaction. When dopamine levels rise, so does our desire to sustain effort and attention. Over time, dopamine can help improve memory, concentration, and creative problem-solving abilities. 

The neuroscience of motivation focuses on looking at motivation from a chemical and brain trigger standpoint. When you realize what causes dopamine release, you can use that momentum to continue learning and encouraging progress. 

Ways to Maintain Academic Momentum

Motivation is intrinsically related to academic momentum. When someone is motivated to learn, try, and experiment, they’re more likely to continue working on their intellectual development. The theory of academic momentum proposes that the speed at which students progress in school significantly affects their likelihood of completing their studies. 

Use Neuroscience

The basic concept behind the neuroscience of motivation is choice. Letting students make small choices about their learning process can bring down the anxiety of learning something new. It will also help them develop skills around evaluating, choosing, and following through with their choices. It allows them to know what to do about bad decisions and how to motivate themselves to move past those choices. 

Find Common Interests

Finding common interests is the best way to boost motivation when it comes to education. For example, students who struggle with math can find other real-life examples to better understand the concepts. If someone likes food, using recipes and ideas around cooking can be a motivational way to discuss math problems without feeling boring. 

Try Different Challenge Levels

Using the concept of choice, you can experiment with different challenge levels. For example, asking kids to choose a textbook material to analyze where the difficulty level is placed. They might pick the easiest choice. However, they’ll start to increase their difficulty level. You can guide them through this process by highlighting their achievements.

Anticipate Rewards 

At last, the best way to sustain motivation is by anticipating the reward. Anticipation increases dopamine, which can help regulate levels of motivation. When you highlight the reward, students are more likely to initiate and persevere to avoid something negative that might hinder the possibility of obtaining their compensation. 

Summer Programs to Maintain Academic Momentum 

At The Learning Lab, our FLEX Summer Program is designed to maintain a flexible summer schedule, maintain academic momentum, close learning gaps, and prevent the “summer slide.” The summer slide is a widespread phenomenon that causes students to lose between 20 to 30 percent of all academic gains over the summer. 

This program is tailored to meet each child’s summer schedule and academic goals. The FLEX Summer program is designed for students who need extra support in maintaining academic momentum over the summer break. Students who need to close specific learning gaps or need extra practice in math, writing, and reading can also benefit from this program. Learn more about our FLEX Summer Program 2022 Schedule and help your child prepare for a successful 2022-2023 school year this summer.