The REAL reason Why Parents are not allowed in Motivational Camps

The REAL reason Why Parents are not allowed in Motivational Camps


Have you ever wondered why parents are not allowed in the camps until the last day after the children are hyped up? You know what I mean. It would be the time where children are yelling how much they love to study and swearing they will not be motivated from then forth. This is when parents will smile proudly to themselves and go “I’m glad I send them to this course.” – only to find them reverting to what they were before the camp.

It is not uncommon to hear motivational and study skills camps not allowing parents to be with their child – even after the parents are the ones who invested all that money. The most common reasons given would be:

Parents are a distraction.

The children would not be themselves if parents are around.

But do you know, your presence may increase the success rate of your child’s motivation level by 200x?


Wait! I thought you said no one can motivate others…

When we talk about motivating others, people always have the impression that we should be saying motivating words to our children and harping on successes in the future. This behaviour, unfortunately, is the set behaviour that everyone seems to adopt to motivate others. Many parents simply adopt this behaviour to adopt their children and find that it simply backfires.

You may have come across stories where once-defiant children seem to change under the hands of a teacher. Many believe that they use motivational words or harp on success. This is not true. It is the constant attitude of care and concern displayed by the teacher towards the students that cause these changes. The children feel it and wanted to change themselves. In short, they were motivated to change. 


RELATED: Motivation, study habits – not IQ – determine growth in Math Achievement



The First Vital Step all Motivational Camps Take

During the camp, motivational camps would usually start off by questioning the children of their self-worth and identity. This is the first step where children are supposed to release the emotions and anger they have suppressed over the years of being reduced to an academic pawn for high-stakes national exams. Once all these tension is released within the first day, the child should now feel “free of emotional baggages” and will be able to absorb the study skills that comes. Yet, after all the so-called ’emotional release’, the children are back to square one with their parents – who have no idea of all existing their emotional baggages!

Some parents may gasp here. “Academic pawn? How dare you! I will never subject my child to that! I’m doing all these of their future!” Sure...Tell that to all the children who shared heart-breaking stories with me of the words parents have used on them ‘for their future’.

Parents, you have no idea how important you are in the eyes of your child.

What is interesting to me here is that these camps should be aware of the massive effect parents have on their parents. Which begets this question –

why are motivational camps keeping parents out of their child’s motivational transformational change?



The Top Secret Study Skills

When study skills accompany motivational camps, these skills are secret. They can help to accelerate learning for any subject when used appropriately. However, when most children are left to these ‘secrets’, they do not end up applying them – even when they know it should work!

Why is this so?

Children who are generally motivated will be the ones who will apply some of these secret formulas. How about those who are not as motivated? Many times, not-so-motivated children are unsure how to apply these skills. Some may be easily overwhelmed. Many forget after not trying. Many just don’t know how to as they need lots of practises with ones close to them to help them apply these skills to their learning.

They need their parents to help them out!

They need their parents to practise with them!

Their parents need to learn these accelerated learning skills themselves!

Yet common sense tells us this is where the problem lies. No study skills company is going to teach the parents with their children how to study better!

RELATED: Smartify Study Tip #4 – Study Orientation

Why Children-Parent Bonding + Study Skills Classes are Necessary

When I first started teaching study skills to children without their parents, their responses perturbed me. One parent remarked to the child (after she demonstrated memorisation a challenging 30-items sequence), “Oh, so you are actually smart after all.” For some reason, that remark didn’t sit well with me. Was the parent trying to goad her child? Or did she not simply understand how her words can hurt her daughter so easily?

That’s when I toyed with the idea of including parents in the workshops. When I first started asked for feedback among educators of the idea of conducting student-parent bonding + study skills classes with some educators, many laughed.

“The parents are only dying to outsource their child’s learning to others! That’s why the tuition industry is making so much money!” 

Undaunted, I gathered a few parents and proceeded to conduct a 2-days course with them. By the first half of the day, the parents were watching their children in a different light.

One parent was shocked to find out his daughter entertained thoughts of suicide at the age of 11. 

One parent didn’t realised the word ‘OK’ towards her daughter’s good results was hurtful (I’m serious!).

One parent didn’t realised that she had stopped praising her elder child but was favouring the younger one a lot more.

By watching how much their children struggled with their self-esteem, they realised that their children generally put up a strong front but were struggling deep inside. Their thoughts, fears, emotional baggages  and words were deeply ingrained in their children far deeper they thought. When the children connected with their parents, that was when they really felt an emotional release of suppressed baggages and were all ready to learn.

Many parents were hit with a realisation that they themselves required an overhaul of attitude towards their children. As they learnt to learn once more with the study skills, they realised that ..perhaps to motivate someone is not just all talk and yelling but just by being there.

Disclaimer: Not all parents and children will change for the better. As it usually takes 2 hands to clap, it is very dependent on the effort made by both child and parent.

Source: (1), (2), (3)




Smartify Study Tip #5 – Distributed Practice

Smartify Study Tip #5 – Distributed Practice


Most students love to cram (massed practice) last-minute for their exams just a day or two before. Many cite lack of time and other reasons for not studying something regularly. However, researchers have found ‘distributed practice’ a much more effective way of studying. Read on to find out why:

distributed practice

Linking Memory Variation 1: Peg Memory

Linking Memory Variation 1: Peg Memory

by Dr Shen Li-Lee


Side Note: This is useful as a method for Studying

Although the method for teaching Peg Memory is similar to Linking Memory, the purpose of peg memory is somewhat different.  Linking Memory helps you to remember a list of items in order, however, if you wanted to remember item number 6 in a list of 10 things, you would have to repeat the entire list in order to recall what item 6 is.  Peg memory helps you recall what any item in the list is without having to repeat everything.  The down side is that it is a little more involved to learn the peg memory system because you first have to learn the images associated with specific numbers.  But once you have learned the peg list, it is easier to recall new items in future.

How does Peg Memory work?

The first step is to memorise the peg list, that is, a list of pictures to be associated with numbers.  The pictures selected should be easily associated with the numbers, such as words that rhyme:

1 – sun
2 – shoe
3 – tree
4 – door
5 – hive
6 – sticks
7 – heaven
8 – gate
9 – wine
10 – hen

You can use any method required to remember the associations, for instance, rhyming:

One played in the sun.  Two wore a shoe.  Three climbed a tree.  Four knocked at the door.  Five in a bee hive.  Six picked up sticks.  Seven went to heaven.  Eight shut the gate.  Nine drank some wine.  Ten is a big fat hen.


In Heguru, they use linking memory to remember the order of the pictures, for example:

The sun wore a shoe to climb a tree.  The tree knocked on the door to the bee hive to ask the bees to pick up some sticks on the way to heaven.  At the gate to heaven was some wine that was being drunk by a hen.


Once you can remember peg list, you can use it to help you remember any other list.  Here is an example from Wikipedia:

The peg list is:

  1. gun
  2. zoo
  3. tree
  4. door
  5. hive
  6. bricks
  7. heaven
  8. plate
  9. wine
  10. hen

The example is to remember a grocery list of 10 items:

  1. Apple: Picture an apple being fired from a gun
  2. Butter: Picture a gorilla stomping up and down on a stick of butter
  3. Razor Blades: Picture a tree with razor blades for leaves
  4. Soap: Picture a door made from soap
  5. Bread: Picture bees flying from a loaf of bread as if it is a hive
  6. Milk: Picture a brick house with milk jugs where the bricks should be
  7. Cat food: Picture an open can of cat food with angel wings and a halo
  8. Bacon: Picture bacon on a plate
  9. Batteries: Picture a wine glass filled with batteries
  10. Orange juice: Picture a hen being squeezed, and orange juice coming out has another example:

In this example, we’re trying to remember the seven ancient wonders of the world:

  1. Great Pyramid of Giza
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  4. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  6. Colossus of Rhodes
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria

The peg list is:

  1. tea
  2. new
  3. me
  4. ear
  5. owl
  6. gay
  7. cow
  8. UFO
  9. bee
  10. dash

Remembering the list:

  1. Tea: Great Pyramid of Giza – imagine that the pyramid was not really meant to be a tomb, but actually it was a tea plant. But the ancient Egyptians weren’t allowed to know this, so they also put a real tomb in it…
  2. New: Hanging Gardens of Babylon – did you know that they are rebuilding the gardens of Babylon? Brand new. Try to visually see that people are building these gardens.
  3. Me: Statue of Zeus at Olympia – no, it’s no Zeus, it’s me on that statue!
  4. Ear: Temple of Artemis at Ephesus – they used this temple to bring sacrifices to gods: they cut off the ears of people and then sacrifice these ears.
  5. Owl: Mausoleum of Halicarnassus – they had so much problems with this mausoleum: owls kept flying between all the pillars of the mausoleum, it was a real owl plague.
  6. Gay: Colossus of Rhodes – think of a story where apparently the colossus is gay. I wouldn’t sail with my boat between the legs of someone who’s gay…
  7. Cow: Lighthouse of Alexandria – memorizing the picture below should be sufficient: the island is full of cows. also has 1000 Pegs you can use.

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