Surefire Ways to Motivate the Most Unmotivated Students

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September 17, 2014
Author: , M.S.

It’s no secret that most university teacher training is focused on academic content. Unfortunately, as I hear all the time in my teacher training workshops, most teachers find themselves inundated with motivation problems not content problems. Let me give you some surefire motivation methods that you’ve never heard before.
Years ago parents reliably motivated their offspring to see the value of school and how to behave there. Regrettably, not all contemporary parents are performing those tasks as reliably. That means that if you are working with unmotivated, misbehaved students, you are often going to have the responsibility for providing the missing motivation.
There are countless albeit not well-known methods to motivate students. Let me give you a few examples. Of course, it takes more than a few interventions to motivate an unmotivated student but these examples will show you the kind of powerful tools you can find and use. A big favorite from my teacher training courses is to ask students to “Name all the jobs and businesses you would love to do as an adult.” Students list many desirable jobs. Next, assist students to determine which of those jobs require education and a diploma. Usually, it will be all of them.
Here are some great follow-up interventions. Assist students to compare the likely salary, benefits and tenure of jobs open to grads vs. jobs open to dropouts. They’ll discover grads earn about $329,000 more in their lifetime. Students can discuss which they would prefer: higher or lower paying jobs. Finally, if you like humorous interventions, tell the class you no longer want to be referred to as teacher, that because diplomas are so valuable, from now on, you’d like to be referred to as banker-- and be sure to recommend that students keep their diplomas in a vault.

About the author:
Author, Speaker and Workshop Instructor Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the Director and Founder of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. Ruth Herman Wells is the author of dozens of books and articles, and is the creator of the Breakthrough Education Speaker Ruth Herman Wells Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop and book series. In 2011, Ruth was named a Top Ten Education Speaker by several organizations. She is an adjunct professor for two universities, a featured columnist for SEEN Magazine, and her unusual classroom management posters have been heavily featured in the media, and can be seen on many North American TV shows and movies including in the two Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies. Ruth and Youth Change Workshops have won many awards, and been included on many "Top 10 Speakers" and "Best of" lists on many mental health, counseling, education, classroom management, special ed, speaker and career ed sites. Ruth is the creator of School Skills Training, the practical classroom management approach that actually teaches kids the exact skills that they need to become successful, motivated students. Ruth provides live, online, distance, and on-site professional development workshops, and breakout classes. She is also a popular K-12 education speaker and keynote presenter for both educators and mental health professionals.

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