The Most Effective Motivational Method for K-12 Students


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The Most Effective Student Motivational Method



The Most Effective Motivational Method

motivate unmotivated studentsDo you have a guess at what might be the most effective motivational method to use with your unmotivated K-12 students? The truth is that one specific motivational device really outshines all the others. I am, of course, talking about money, money, money. The more students come to realize that the more they learn, the more they earn, the more students care about their education. This issue is devoted to giving you marvelous, truly more effective motivational methods for K-12 students. Hello from Youth Change Professional Development Workshops’ Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. I sure hope that if you like some of these motivational methods, you will come to our April 19-20, 2018 Seattle Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop to get dozens more student motivational strategies, plus terrific techniques for work refusers, truants, bullies, defiant students, and all the rest of your most difficult and challenging youngsters.

A Diploma is Made of Moneymotivational methods

At right, you see one example of how to teach your students to care more about school and getting an education, Our Poster #168 literally shows students that diplomas are made of money. Ask your students to use conventional art supplies or a computer graphics program to make their interpretation of the concept that “a diploma is made of money.” You may wish to mention that “every diploma doubles the dollars” earned, and that “the more you learn, the more you earn.” Over the course of a typical student’s lifetime, a high school grad will earn $329,000 more than the high school dropout. Make that comparison come to life by bringing in play money to illustrate the dramatic difference that $329,000 will make. This activity can be a terrific, highly effective motivational method.


Where the Money Is

Do you think that your students know that the lowest paying college graduates still earn significantly more money than the average high school graduate? In fact, in 2015, Bloomberg News reported that the lowest paying college grads earn almost twice the annual income of high school graduates who only earn about $22,000. To make this concept come alive, here’s another effective motivational method: Ask students to craft budgets and to identify the differences in buying power between that $22,000 annual income and the $40,000 that the lowest paid college graduates earn. For example, have students compare the affordability for the two groups for cars, housing, vacations, purchasing and so on.

Follow the Money

The reality is that some areas of study lead to more money, a lot more money– and shouldn’t your students already know this? The ticket to Moneyville may start with STEM classes. According to Bloomberg News, STEM majors don’t just make more money at the start of the careers. If that wasn’t good enough, STEM majors make more throughout their careers than any other major. In fact, Bloomberg reports that only two non-STEM majors rank within the top 25 highest-earning majors. What are those two big exceptions? Economics and Business Economics, which are certainly close cousins to math, which of course, is the “M” in STEM. If a student says that he or she wants to earn a lot of money as an adult, then be sure that they know that the path to riches appears to begin and end in STEM coursework. To underscore this truth, have your students create art, posters or computer-based projects that illustrate that “the path to riches begins and ends in STEM.”


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Earning More Money is Elementary

effective motivational methodeffective motivation methodSince high school graduates earn more money than everybody who fails to finish school, the world really does belong to graduates, as pictured in our new Poster #653. Since high school grads typically earn $329,000 more per lifetime than their counterparts who drop out, that amount can be refined for each moment spent in school. So, right from the start, for elementary students in Grades 1-6, they can expect that the time spent in school and class equals about $27,500 for every year they attend elementary school. That breaks down to $3,048 per month, $152 per day, $25 per hour, $.42 per minute and $.006 per second of elementary school. See this illustrated further by looking at Poster #470 at right.


Earning More Money Isn’t Secondary

effective motivational methodSecondary level students also need to know that in a sense, the time they invest in middle and  high school will pay off for a lifetime. The time they spend in middle and high school is adding up to $329,000 more lifetime income compared to dropouts.  See Poster #439 at right to read the specific breakdown for high school students. If you want to see the numbers for middle school students, then check out Poster #469 which will show you the specific data for this age group. To underscore the power of these numbers, consider putting a countdown clock in your classroom that shows the amount of money students are “earning” right now by being in school. For math classes, students can repeat the calculations that result in the data pictured on our posters. Here is a final effective, motivational method: Students can be asked to make the calculations for Grades 1-12 if they wish to have a comprehensive look at how coming to school and graduating high school, will ultimately pay off big time.



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About Ruth Herman Wells

Author/Trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. In 2011, Ruth was rated as a Top 10 U.S. K-12 educational and motivational speaker by Speakerwiki and Speakermix. She is the author of several book series, a columnist, adjunct professor for two universities, and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Ruth's dozens of books includes Temper and Tantrum Tamers and Turn On the Turned-Off Student.