Instilling Motivation and Inspiration in Students
Dr. Alex Kuznetsov, Headmaster, 5 Steps Academy | education magazine

The School’s major goal is to raise students motivated to learn, independent students with self-learning skills. The desire to gain new knowledge is the main engine on this road and the power of that engine is a result of the aggregate influence of the following factors.

Interesting Tasks

For various reasons, some children prefer physical experiments from a young age, studying plants, or reading fictional works. The task is motivating on its own merits and, in such instances, our job is to do no harm and provide as many opportunities as possible for the child’s self-realization in his favourite area.

Outstanding Results

Over time, most students of the School move far ahead in mastering fundamental subjects when compared to their peers attending public schools. The interaction of the children at the playground, at friends’ homes, at competitions, or in clubs or groups quickly makes respected leaders of the School’s students. This inevitably leads to a greater desire to achieve even better results and, when all is said and done, shapes a personality that is successful and prepared to overcome obstacles.

No Worse Than Others

We do not compare students with each other. What’s more, we constantly emphasize the value of each child’s individuality. However, after seeing the success of his peers, even the laziest of children will strive to find his way and be successful. We help them do just that.


It is human nature to feel pleasure from achieving micro-successes. When a student understands a concept or he sees that he was finally able to master one topic or another, his self-worth grows. To support this, we encourage the child’s thirst for knowledge by dividing difficult topics into easy micro-steps. Daily experiencing these small successes forms a prolonged desire to discover something new and to pave your path to the top.

Life Goals

One of the best motivators, especially for older children, are dreams of the future. With the help of experienced School teachers, children learn to mold their dreams within the confines of the reality of lifewhile not losing the power of this strong motivator. Sometimes cautionary tales like “You’re going to end up a janitor” do the job. Though it’s only worth using this as a last resort and only in conjunction with a joint search of a positive life path.

A Fun Atmosphere

We love to be where we feel good and to do what gives us positive emotions. For that reason, interactions between student and teacher should be infused with jokes and fun and absent of anger or threats as much as possible. For example, to fight unavoidable student’s anxiety before exams, the teacher can emphasize that we are much more interested in the students’ day-to-day efforts than test results. If you work diligently, results will inevitably follow.

Only rarely do we remind a student that he has the opportunity to return to a public school, which doesn’t even come close to fitting into his plans. However, if the educational process feels like a fun, engaging game, then the atmosphere itself makes using negative stimulation unnecessary.

A Favorite Teacher’s Approval

Emotional contact with his teacher serves as major motivation for a child to learn in school. If a kind, fun, and, at the same time, hard-working atmosphere is created, then the child will inescapably be drawn to his teacher and love the subject. Under these circumstances, the teacher’s praise and support in difficult moments may be the critical factor among other motivational factors. It’s important to celebrate not only the smallest results, but the child’s efforts as well. A kind word, spoken at the right time, is remembered for a long time and can change the child’s attitude about school.


When a student experiences significant success in school, he regularly receives a valuable prize. Significant successes could include mastering a grade’s content or completing some portion of the learning plan in a given subject. The prizes are chosen from a student’s wish list and are discussed with him beforehand. A prize could be, for example, a Lego set, a trip to a waterpark or a hike, depending on the family income and the child’s wishes. The frequency of receiving prizes should be tied to the speed of the child’s learning and the difficulty of the material. It’s recommended that rewards be given once every 1–2 months.

Personal Example

A child learns largely through imitation. If a student sees the teacher studying on his own , that the teacher, just like the student, experiences highs and lows, and endures failures unfalteringly, it not only increases the teacher’s authority in the eyes of the student, but the student also gains a model for becoming a self-directed learner himself. Examples of vitality and cheerfulness, of the ability to be amazed by the unknown and the unexplored, these are quickly absorbed by students and serve as powerful drivers in the future self-realization on their life paths.

About the Author

Full member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and headmaster of 5 Steps Academy in Singapore, Dr. Alex Kuznetsov needs no further recommendation.

He has already earned the trust of over 500,000 parents all over the globe, as a father of 5 kids and the child psychologist and pediatrician who has helped them bring up happy kids while building a lifelong strong relationship with them!

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