K12 Motivational Methods
That Motivate, Motivate, Motivate
Here are some terrific methods to motivate your unmotivated students. These methods are taken from our Maximum-Strength Motivation-Makers book/ebook, which is part of our All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems Series. I'm the author, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. and I know these creative, unusual motivational methods will get the job done in your classroom, group counseling room or office.
If you work with apathetic youth or children, these motivational methods can help right now. However, as good as these motivational interventions are, they are not magic, so do plan to use many motivators over time.
The sampling of methods that are included in this issue may be enough to at least get you started.
Marvelous K-12 Motivational Methods
Stay or Pay
There's a very real cost to dropping out. If you can sufficiently convey that now, perhaps fewer of your students will live that reality later. Here's the reality dropouts may face based on the fact that they'll earn less than half the salary of their peers who finish school. Transcribe the following facts onto the board and discuss:
Stay or Pay: That Means
Half the House
Half the Fun (money for entertainment, etc.)
Half the Possessions
Half the Necessities
Start the Race From Behind
Ask your students where they would like to start a race from. Typically, the class members will say "at the start line with everybody else." Point out to your group that students who drop out of school start their race through life at the back, not with everybody else.
Read All About It
Make up tabloid-style newspapers that humorously show what can happen to people who forgo school. For your headline, use text like this: "Rock Star Broke." The newspaper article could discuss how the rock star cried "I can't even balance a checkbook," and how his accountant had discovered that the rock star knew little math, and looted all the earnings. Another example: "Wife Loses Cash Cow" could be the headline. The article could detail how a wife never thought her husband would suddenly die, leaving her unprepared to survive financially and otherwise. Alternatively, have students create the newspapers. Post each newspaper and discuss.
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Can You Make It Through a Bad Night Without Education?
Conjure up a very bad night. Make it a dark and stormy night, and trees are falling onto houses, the lights are out and phones aren't working. Have your students detail how to resolve the upsetting dilemmas that occur such as dealing with their tree hitting the neighbor's house, and obtaining medical care for an ill child. Be sure to require that the students provide specific details on how to achieve resolution. Have phone books, check books, etc. available for students to use to actually locate and secure resources. Since the power may be out, internet resources can be considered unavailable, forcing students to use low tech methods. This fun activity can show students that they can't even make it through the night without education. Poster #189 (shown at right) can reinforce the motivational message that students receive from experiencing this activity. To view the poster's surprising text, look at the enlarged poster.
No Reading Needed– Ever
For students who claim that they can survive without education, ask them to list all the jobs they can do with no reading, writing, or computer skills of any type. If necessary, have students conduct this research by contacting employers or reading employment ads. They will discover that beginning with the job application, most/all jobs require at least some of those skills.
I'll Beat the Odds
Some students can become convinced that life without school can be tough, but then the child surmises that she will beat the odds, that for her, it will be different or better. To teach students that they cannot beat the odds, ask the student to beat the odds in a different area. For example, ask the student to demonstrate her special ability to beat the odds by purchasing a lottery ticket and winning. Or, have the student beat the odds by magically picking an ace out of a card deck. When the student can't beat the odds, you may want to gently note that the student won't be able to beat the odds in life either and somehow magically avoid the customary problems normally associated with lacking an education.