AL himself seemed a little despondent. His son's grades were poor. AL feared for his son. "It is not that I have hang-ups about Normal Stream. I don't want him to end up in a school where he may be subject in his adolescent years to unhealthy teen influences." AL looked through the China compos and said that he would probably not use them. "They're too difficult. My son will never be able to manage. He can't even read his textbook, which is way easier than this" AL said. I could not explain to him why I thought he was wrong. I knew he was wrong because I know motivation. If you possess the right motivation techniques, you can help your child to persevere towards impossible goals. But I could not explain.
So I offered to show AL.
AL came by again with his son. I first worked directly with his son whilst AL observed from an armchair. As he observed, he took notes. Once in a while, I would interrupt myself to point out to AL specific techniques that I was using. Next, I phased myself out and phased in AL to work directly with his own son. It was my turn to observe. I next gave AL feedback on his own behaviors that were either discouraging, or not actively helping his son's motivation levels. Then we did a sum-up. Meanwhile, AL's son was kept busy on his task of memorizing his very first China Compo.
We started work at 11am and by 3pm, AL's son had completed half the composition. This took into account a fair amount of interruption and a nice lunch break. What AL had deemed impossible for his son was already half done. And AL took away with him a nice set of motivation techniques for close one-to-one coaching that I had modeled for him.
I feel good about what I did today. I think I made a difference to the lives of one man and the boy he loves so much that he quit his job to see him through Primary 5 and 6.