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Giving someone a reason to do something is a vital secret to success. Not only in dealing with your child's education but also in your own life.
Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” talks about an experiment by a psychologist from Harvard, who concluded people like to have a reasons for what they do. This experiment consisted of people waiting in line to use the copy machine and having someone ask to get
ahead in line. The first excuse used was “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?” This request-plus-reason was
successful 94% of the time.
However when the experimenter made a request nly: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” This request was only granted 60% of the time.
Okay now for the shocker. It might seem the difference between those two requests was the additional information of “because I'm in a rush.” But that's not the case. The only word that triggers a magic response is “because”.
Here's the clincher: In a third experiment the experimenter asks “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some
copies?” There's no reason mentioned just the words “because”.
This time 93% of the people said yes simply due to the word ‘BECAUSE'!
So, what can you say to your child the next time they complain about doing homework? Give them a reason why…
Your teacher and I want you to do your homework because:
Teaching and learning research shows that students who spend more time on homework do better in school. (logical reasoning)
We want to be sure you understand the lesson. (a challenge)
So you can learn how to find and use more information on the subject (exploration)
We want you to be successful, so we need to make sure you are doing your best in school and at home (involvement)
These are of course just a few examples you can use. Anything could potentially work well as long as you follow a few simple rules.
1. Make school a team effort. (your teacher and I)
2. Give an adult reason (no because I said so's)
3. No negotiating! I cover homework rewards and punishments on the free bonus CD that comes in the Homework Motivator package.