Of the four primary school performance drivers (Segregation, Life Experience, Instruction, Motivation) the most mis-categorized and least utilized is Motivation.
Most educators place motivation in the category of performance drivers that we (as educators and schools) can’t control. Which is simply not the case. And because most educators do not believe that we can control motivation, we just don’t make an attempt.
Yes, there are some people that are naturally more motivated than others. Just like there are people who have more athletic talent than others and people who have more academic aptitude than others. That’s just life. But a good teacher can cultivate motivation.
A good teacher builds relationships, and provides incentives, reasons and support to get students to:
Work when they don’t want to.
Try when they want to quit.
Continue when it gets hard.
Grind through adversity.
Have hope in the middle of a tough reality.
This is motivation. All things being equal, the motivated student will outperform the unmotivated student. Even more importantly, the motivated student will compete with and often beat the more talented, advantaged, but unmotivated student.
To quote one of the best principals I ever worked with, “Give me a poor kid I can motivate, and we’ll beat every rich kid in the district.”
Think. Work. Achieve.
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