Tag Archive: motivation


What are the limitations around motivating the unmotivated student?  Where does the role of educator end and the role of personal responsibility pick-up?  For high schools we are always working with students to get them to take more and more control of their own lives.  That’s part of our jobs.  The unmotivated student isn’t a static label.  It isn’t the same kid each day, and each day a student is unmotivated it can be unrelated (temporally) to the reason the week before. But ‘un’motivation is sticky.  It’s persistent.  What are some solutions?  What can be done to help these students take control of their education, learn the important lessons, and move forward as life-long learners and engaged community members?  Lots of questions today.  Eager to learn more.  Ed


Six Reasons Why Students Are Unmotivated (and What Teachers Can Do)

A truly interesting and thorough article.  It’s written from the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework.  Just glancing over the headers I can tell that this will be a good source.  I really need some depth of ideas that the last few links haven’t really provided.  

Motivating Unmotivated Students

Article from ASCDExpress.  Similar recommendations as the previous article.  I’m noticing student choice and rigor repeated in each article.  Might be good points to focus in on.

Dr. Ken Shore’s Classroom Problem Solver Lack of Motivation

Another interesting article.

Why Preschool Can Save the World

From NPR’s Planet Money Podcast.  Full gratitude and credits to Planet Money.  Here is how they describe the episode:

On today’s show, we meet a self-described robber baron who decided to spend his billions on finger paint and changing tables. We revisit decades-long studies that found preschool made a huge difference in the lives of poor children. And we talk to a Nobel prize-winning economistwho says that spending public money on preschool produces a huge return on investment.

We’ll have more on preschool this weekend on This American Life.

For more: Tulsa’s Educare Center in the Tulsa; Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed; TheCarolina Abededarian Project; and “A new cost-benefit and rate of return analysis for the Perry Preschool Program: A Summary.”

Download the Planet Money iPhone App. Music: Cold War Kids’ “Sensitive Kid.” Find us:TwitterFacebookSpotifyTumblrNote: Part of today’s show aired in a podcast last year.

So I’m getting into a little study on motivation.  It’s been forever since I’ve posted (shame on me) but I’ve been swamped.  I’m currently inspired by a few things that I’ve been thinking about recently.  So here goes a short series on motivation.  EdImage

Charles Leadbeater went looking for radical new forms of education — and found them in the slums of Rio and Kibera, where some of the world’s poorest kids are finding transformative new ways to learn. And this informal, disruptive new kind of school, he says, is what all schools need to become.

I read this post about motivation that was inspired by the book, Drive, by Daniel Pink.  This made me think about motivation for our teenagers as being partially internal and partially external.  When we are adults we see motivation in both fashions.  We are motivated to go to work because we get paid, but if we’ve picked the right career, we are also motivated to do well and pursue our passions, etc.  Work is fulfilling, not just a paycheck.  This isn’t true for most Americans, I understand, but it is true for me and many of the folks that I work with at TCS.

Another type of motivation that isn't really discussed here.

At any rate, teenagers have different motivational strategies.  When they are relatively young (13 – 15 years old), they tend to be more motivated by what an adult that they care about, or that cares about them, thinks.  This is extrinsic motivation.  The disappointment or elation of that person or persons drives them to achieve.  There is typically a transition from those earlier years in the later years to more intrinsic motivation.  They are motivated to do what they do because it pleases them.  Ultimately, focusing on their intrinsic motivation will lead to happier, healthier, and more productive lives.  This is where we want all of our students.

So an example would be when a student messes up in the classroom and they get sent to the office.  If I encounter them I’ll get the dirt on what went down in the classroom.  When they tell me that they were sent down because they were horse playing or some other similar offense, I’ll usually lay some form of this out to them, “So messing around with your friends is fun, no doubt about that.  But while you were messing around what did you miss out on?  Think about it this way, you don’t need me to tell you not to mess around in class.  You already know this and you know that both me and your teacher are disappointed and perhaps frustrated with your behavior.  Laying that aside, however, you know that you can do better than that.  You know better and you should expect better from yourself.  Unless you believe that you need us to tell you how to act every second of everyday.  If you want that, of course, we’ll be happy to provide, but I think that you can do better and should do better for yourself.”  Some students can hear this strategy well and it sticks.  Others want to have a back and forth about who did what when and then blame shift to the teacher or the other students.  It’s not a fool proof method (Trust me, I screw it up all the time), but ultimately it’s where our students need to be to meet with college success and have the lives that they want and the lives that we (the collective, community we) need them to have.

P.S. I haven’t read the book yet, but it is on my ‘To Read’ shelf in Goodreads.