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The Most Effective Methods

to Motivate Students

Some of our interventions to motivate students have become legendary. We get lots of calls and emails about them. We get to hear a lot of success stories, and field a lot of questions about where to find the specific intervention.

You're about to look at one of our most beloved techniques for unmotivated students and potential dropouts. This motivational intervention is just so unusual, and packs so much of a punch that it's really only meant for use with older, more hard-edged adolescents.

We also have gentler interventions, but this particular activity is defintely intended for older teens. Don't worry, we have variations on this dynamic intervention for younger students too. In our books and workshops, we give several variations for this intervention so it can be used with younger students, and at times when you simply want a gentler approach. While the original version especially focuses on motivating potential dropouts, the variations target absent, unmotivated, failing, and sleeping students too.

If you scroll below you will get to read our legendary Certificate of Dropping Out of School from our Education: Don't Start the Millennium Without It book. We've had a lot of requests to display it here so now the follow-up intervention, Your Official Certficate of Succeeding in School, is also shown below.

This unusual intervention just may be one of the most potent motivational methods that exist anywhere to effectively motivate uninterested students and also deter dropouts.

Click on the image to below to view a larger version of it for better readability.

dropout certificate

education motivation booklook in bookCopyright Youth Change, All Rights Reserved.

The certificates reproduced here are excerpted from Education: Don't Start the Millennium Without It book and ebook. To order the book or ebook, call 1.800.545.5736 or visit our Problem-Solver Store.

This dropout certificate is based on a certificate attributed to North High School in Denver, Colorado. They reportedly improved their dropout rate by 66% using their variation of this document.

A few years ago, Chicago Public Schools was also featured in the national media for using a similar document, although the exact document name was not specified in the coverage. Nonetheless, in the coverage, Chicago Schools are described as experiencing clear improvement in their dropout data. Chicago experienced single digit improvement in their dropout rate vs. the double digit improvement enjoyed by the Denver school district.

The two certificates are meant to be used sequentially, one certificate at a time, with one one student at a time. The first certificate is Your Official Certficate of Dropping Out of School. The second is Your Official Certficate of Succeeding in School.

These certificates are intended to only be used with an individual student on the brink of dropping out, as a last resort. The students' family, principal, teacher and counselor should be present in a formal location such as the principal's office.

Students are offered the certificate, and assistance to read it provided as needed. Note that there is a place for the student to write their signature or alternatively "make their mark." Note the final paragraph of the first document. When read to poor readers, it absolutely leaves them "blown away," to quote a typical verbal response from youngsters.

poster to motivate students 21Students invariably hesitate or refuse to sign the first certificate, then the second certificate can be offered.

Further suggestions and warnings are included with the certificates in our Education: Don't Start the Millennium Without It lesson plan book. The book also contains additional surprising instructions on how to best use this unusual device. These directions include clever ideas on how to vary the device for use with younger students, and with youngsters who need a more gentle approach.

 The variations target school failure, absenteeism, work refusal and poor performance instead of dropping out. The directions also provide help with considering safety issues so be sure to read those instructions before employing this rather intense strategy.

We acknowledge the intensity of the two certificates. That is why we offer several highly effective variations of the certificates for when you do find that they are a bit too intense for your youngsters.

poster2smallTo maximize your results using this powerful dropout prevention and motivational device, it's absolutely critical that you use multiple interventions and  modalities so that you reach all your unmotivated students. The repetition and variation are needed to successfully "cement in" your stay-in-school message.

Here's a fast way to find interventions that can become your repetitions and different modalities: use the types of creative motivational methods pictured on our popular, unexpected posters. You don't need to buy the posters. Just look at each one then plan to use the catch phrase or activity pictured to more effectively motivate students.


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