What’s The Right Question About Motivating Students

For a long time, I’ve been working with educators on motivating underachievers.

But recently, I caught a piece of a presentation and the presenter said that “How do I motivate my students (or your team or your staff…)?” is the wrong question. She went on that this implies that you want to manipulate them to do something they don’t want to do.

That struck me, since it isn’t uncommon for an attendee at one of my trainings to act disappointed that I would not be providing directions on how to change the students or that I was suggesting that they (the educator) were the one who needed to do something different.

The presenter the other day went on to say that instead we should ask, “How do I create the conditions so that my students are self motivated?” And I have to admit that I do really like this question.

And even though I’ll continue to refer my my work as motivating underachievers, the Focus Five are exactly that: the conditions necessary for students to be self motivated.

About Mike Muir

I'm an educator interested in collaborating with other educators on engaging all learners, proficiency-based learning, technology's role in learning, and leadership for school change.
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