Motivating the Unmotivated
Every person has things that they prefer to do over other things. Our students are no different in that area. The difference lies in the fact that, as adults, we are usually able to better manage our time and complete the tasks that are less desirable to us. Most students have not yet developed this innate capability.
We all try many different things to motivate students. Extra credit, brownie points, read an extra book, report on an article, do a problem on the board, these are all typical examples of trying to get students involved. Sometimes we have to think outside the box, which isn’t always easy for many of us. We need to try to develop some new, innovative ideas that will attract the students. Truly I am an ‘old-fashioned’ teacher and believe that the responsibility lies with the students. They are the ones that should want to learn. However, if I live solely by that rule, the reality is that I will be miserable in the classroom. I need to break my routine and be more creative.
I have tried a variety of things, ‘homework excuse notes,’ ‘homework passes’, ‘interventions’, etc. Students have to fill out a ‘homework excuse note’ every time they did not complete their assignment. When I collected five per student I called home and read the parents the excuses! ’Homework passes’ are earned by the students when they complete a certain number of assignments, consecutively. The pass allows them to be excused from one assignment…of their choice! At my school we have an “Enrichment” period every day for 40 minutes. It’s basically a study hall, but students can go to other teachers’ rooms to get help. I have done ‘interventions’ with students by assigning them mandatory “Enrichment” periods to get the extra help that they are not seeking. None of these ideas have worked with every student, but each one did have an effect on some of the students.
Do you have an innovative idea that you use? Please share your ideas with us. Remember, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel if you have something that works!