By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Don't blame your child for not being motivated at school
A new study of 13,000 twins by researchers at The Ohio State University has found that student motivation is tied to genetics. - photo by Herb Scribner
Dont blame your children for not being motivated in the classroom they may not have much of a say.

A new study, which will be published in July in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, found that student motivation is tied to their genetics, according to a press release from The Ohio State University.

We found that there are personality differences that people inherit that have a major impact on motivation, said the studys co-author Stephen Petrill, a professor at OSU. That doesnt mean we dont try to encourage and inspire students, but we have to deal with the reality of why theyre different."

The study, which looked at more than 13,000 twins from six different countries, found that the twins' genetics influenced their motivation more than environmental factors, like teachers and family life.

The study asked fraternal and identical twins to rate their motivations for learning various academic subjects. The researchers then compared the answers of the fraternal twins, who share half of their genes, with the answers of the identical twins, who share all their genes. The identical twins had more similar responses than the fraternal twins, which indicates that motivation levels may be tied to genetics.

But the researchers dont want parents to believe theres a save-all gene that will motivate students just because the study shows there's a correlation between genetics and motivation. Petrill said parents should still try to motivate their students.

We should absolutely encourage students and motivate them in the classroom, Petrill said in an OSU press release. But these findings suggest the mechanisms for how we do that may be more complicated than we had previously thought.

It can be difficult for parents to motivate their students, since students are motivated in different ways. For example, middle school students feel motivated when they are more organized with their school work, according to

The U.S. Department of Education encourages parents to be supportive of their young students, and to encourage their children to join after school programs and academic groups that could help them feel motivated in school.

Researchers also suggest parents help their students see the bigger picture. A group of researchers released a report in March 2014 that found when students have a greater sense of purpose in their school work like, for example, that it will help them become a contributing member of society theyre more likely to feel motivated.

If you think about it the right way, David Paunesku, one of the studys researchers from Stanford University, told Mind/Shift, an education news website, you can actually be motivated and you can find it interesting, even if on the surface its not fun.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters