Innovative Solutions >>  A to Z Strategies for Students' Social, Emotional, Behavioral & School Problems >> How to Motivate Unmotivated Students

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How to

Motivate Unmotivated Students


Insider Secrets & Cutting-Edge Strategies
Too New to Be Included in Your Training 

We may just have more motivational strategies for unmotivated students than anyone else on earth. Best of all, we don't just have lots of motivational interventions, we've got lots of effective ones. That means these motivational methods work better than conventional approaches.

We have interventions to motivate every unmotivated student– even students who won't need school because they plan to marry a wealthy man, be the next big rap star, go on welfare, win the lottery, or be a major league sports star.

Here are some terrific examples of our lively, compelling motivational methods that are far more "real-world" than commonly used approaches. Following the motivational strategies are some inside secrets to motivating even your most resolutely unmotivated students.

Strategies to Motivate Unmotivated Students

Methods That Get the Job Done

I'm Gonna Be a Sports Star!

classroom motivational posterWrite up a one page "sports star contract." Use small type and big words. Present it to the youth and note that if the youth has already gotten all they need from school, they should be able to quickly review the contract then sign it. The student won't be able to understand the contract and will sign it. Inform the student that he has just signed over all future earnings to you. When the student protests, tear up the contract and note that while you wouldn't betray the student, sports teams, property managers and car sales persons might. Note that by staying in school the student can learn the skills needed to succeed as a sports star or whatever else they choose to do. Our Poster # 35 offers another intervention. Click here to go to the page where this poster can be enlarged. You don't need to buy the poster. You can immediately use the data shown on it with students. We have many more motivational posters geared to wannabe NBA, MLB, and NFL sports stars.


I'll Just Go On Welfare

Challenge students to locate the welfare office using the phone book and to secure and complete complex, required forms. Show news clips on welfare being severely reduced or completely eliminated.

I'll Marry a Wealthy Man

Invite speakers from a displaced homemaker program to describe the terror they felt upon becoming widowed or divorced. Ask them to detail their reactions to being unable to perform essential everyday tasks such as bill paying, banking, correspondence and repairs


My Gang Will Take Care of Me

Project the youth into the future and ask them to determine how the gang can take care of them from jail or the grave. Gang involvement often includes dealing with the justice system so challenge gang members to read legal documents such as warrants, citations and bail agreements


Can You Reach Your Dreams?

Ask the students to list all their dreams and goals, then review the list to see how many of the items require education.


Can You Make It Through the Weekend?

Ask students to manage a "bad weekend" when the refrigerator breaks, and taxes and bills must be paid. Have students read actual refrigerator warranties, write simulated checks or use play money to pay household bills, and tackle complex IRS tax forms.


Ready for the Worst?

Ask students to detail how to manage minor to major disasters from finding low/no cost health care for a serious burn, to coping with an earthquake or hurricane that cuts off all accustomed family, gang and community support and resources


Are You Ready for Life in the Adult Lane?

motivational school posterAsk the students to manage a really bad day in an adult's life including reading a map to navigate a detour, balancing a checkbook, finding emergency child care, losing a wallet, and coping with a car breakdown on the way to work. When students struggle, remind them: education can help. Poster # 7  offers another compelling intervention. You don't need to buy the poster, just jot down the words on it.


Fate Strikes

Show students that their plans to always work at a certain factory or be taken care of by the gang or family, may not go predictably. Have students write slips of papers with their life path choices on them, then place the slips in a hat. To experience how these choices can change unexpectedly, students draw slips then trade their slips for new ones. Follow-up with visits from people who planned one path but ended up on another.


I'm Just Gonna Have Babies

Challenge these youth to read pediatric medicine labels, balance a check book and mix baby formula. Ask them to read housing rental contracts, newspaper classified ads and find affordable care for an ill child.


I'm Gonna Be a Rock Star

Place a telephone in front of the student and as her or him to call L.A., London or Nashville to start becoming a rock star. When the student struggles, inform him or her that school can provide the training needed to reach this goal.

These strategies came from our Quickest Kid Fixer-Upper books.

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Why are Many Students Unmotivated?

motivating school poster Here's how to motivate unmotivated students, and why it can seem so impossible. Motivation is one of the many essential School Skills that schools do not formally and systematically teach students. But, without motivation, kids don't look, act or sound like students.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you never teach students to value school, they may never learn to well…value school.

Want better motivation? Show them the enormous value of school.

Want some more concrete examples? Look at our truly inspiring, one-of-a-kind student motivational posters for a fast, visceral experience that will give you dozens of ready-to-use strategies if you simply jot down the catch phrases and other things you see. (See Poster #9 shown above.)  No need to buy, just look and maybe make some notes. You'll begin to have an arsenal of ways to convince unmotivated students of the enormous value of school.

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