A book that was published a few years ago transformed the way that families and friends communicated their appreciation for one another.  This book made people reconsider the way that their words and actions impact others. Have you ever heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words”? This phrase seems very reasonable to some; however, others do not agree. What is the reason for the difference of opinion? The answer can be found in your Love Language. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman explains five primary ways that people give and receive love. If you feel most loved when someone says nice things to you, then others can give you gifts endlessly without it translating into an expression of love to you. Thus, it is essential that we understand what the love languages are and which ones are the most meaningful to those important people in our lives.

Words of Affirmation-hearing words of encouragement and affirmation are meaningful

Acts of Service-having small favors or tasks completed are meaningful

Receiving Gifts-receiving small gifts are meaningful

Quality Time-spending focused time with someone is meaningful

Physical Touch-feeling a hug or pat on the back is meaningful

The love languages can transform our relationships with loved ones. If they are so powerful in our intimate relationships, they can also serve as powerful motivators in education. Maybe  your student is being taught according to his or her learning style and extra resources are readily available; yet, your student is still struggling. Perhaps the missing link is that your student needs encouragement and motivation in a way that is meaningful to him or her. Here are some practical ways that parents and teachers can encourage and motivate students based on his or her love language:

Words of Affirmation

  • Write your student a note of encouragement.
  • Praise your student for any academic progress such as increased focus, grades, or participation.
  • Find ways to affirm your student’s character.

Acts of Service

  • Offer to help your student brainstorm some ideas for a project or essay.
  • Give the student a list of helpful resources for upcoming assignments.

Receiving Gifts

  • Give your student some colorful highlighters or his or her favorite pens/pencils.
  • Give your student some note cards to use to prepare for an upcoming test.
  • Have bubble gum as a reward after difficult tests.

Quality Time

  • Offer to sit with the student while he or she completes an assignment.
  • Spend undivided time with the student discussing recent academic challenges and progress.

Physical Touch

  • Give the student a hug.
  • Pat the student on the back as a sign of reassurance.
  • Give the student a high-five when they enter and exit the classroom.