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I am one week away from beginning my 25th year teaching middle school. I was an intrinsically motivated student who loved learning. My own kids, 13 & 16, are different. The 16 year old is just beginning to see beyond today when he undertakes something. Thus far, he has been motivated extrinsically, and rewards of money and privileges have helped get him through school. He's beginning to think about the future, and we'll see this year if he can look beyond the present moment when he's doing schoolwork. At my school, a Title I school, we reward effort by basing our honor roll on effort, rather than achievement. It makes a tremendous difference for the lower achieving kids, including many of the special education and ESL kids. School is such hard work for them in the first place, that being acknowledged for their hard work at a school-wide assembly goes a long way toward building ongoing improvement in school. Begin with extrinsic rewards and mentoring relationships and, over time, the intrinsic motivation will come.
posted 3 years, 9 months ago
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