Motivating unmotivated high school students.


Motivating the unmotivated high school student.

“I told her to send me the assignment by the end of 4th period and she didn’t so I’m failing it.”

“What did you tell her?”

“To send it by the end of the 4th period, and she didn’t, so that’s it.”

“Did she know what would happend if she didn’t send it?

“Well I didn’t explicityly say it, but I mean really, what does she think I’d do? It’s a deadline.”

Such is the exchange I’ve heard too often. It’s one of an adult dealing with a disengaged, unmotivated, rebellious or otherwise self destructive youth who is rarely empowered, or told actions and their consequences. It works fine with motivated students who are empowered, but not with those who are struggling to find their power and feel hassled all the time. In short, they are not given the freedom to choose their fate. By empowering a such a student to fail, they often succeed. It would go like this:

“If you want me to grade the assignment, send it to me by the end of 4th period. If you don’t wanted it graded, which means it fails, don’t send it. It’s up to you. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah, I guess so. So what if I fail the assignment?”

“Good question, lets see your overall grade….you’d go from a C to a D in my class and have to get an A on the last assignment to get a C in the course. So this might be a good way to give yourself a chance to raise your grade, it’s your call.”

With internships I often respond to the question, “do I HAVE to an intership?”

With, “Only if you want to graduate!”

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