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“Just try harder and you will shine”: A Study of 20 Lazy Children – 2009

Attributions of laziness, reflected in teacher comments such as “just try harder and you will shine” may mask specific cognitive, learning, attentional or emotional problems that could explain low motivation in some children. This paper reports findings from an investigation of 20 children, aged 7 to 10 years, who were regarded as lazy by their parents and teachers. Questionnaire measures provided evidence of low levels of motivation and classroom engagement. Psychometric assessments revealed the presence of a range of difficulties including phonologically-based learning disabilities and significant problems with attention in 17 of the 20 children. The paper concludes that the special needs of an unknown number of children may be overlooked because they are simply presumed to be lazy.


Gilmore, Linda and Boulton-Lewis, Gillian M. (2009). Just try harder and you will shine: a Study of 20 lazy children. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 19(2). pp. 95-103.