Our Most Amazing Motivational Strategies For Your Most Unmotivated Students


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Our Most Amazing
Motivational Strategies
For Your Most Unmotivated Students



Chances are you have way too many unmotivated and apathetic students in your classroom again this year. You've probably noticed that conventional methods of inspiring students to care about school, tend to routinely fail, especially with your most unmotivated youngsters.

workshop trainer Ruth Herman WellsI'm trainer and consultant, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. As a workshop instructor, I read thousands of evaluations every year. I know that this magazine issue has some of the best student motivational strategies that exist, because that's what our workshop participants note on our seminar evaluation form. Hopefully, you'll agree that these devices are powerful interventions to turnaround even the most unmotivated students.

Grad Mag:
For Students Who Know That
Life Without a Diploma
Can Be a Drag

Classroom Motivation PosterTo reach the most students possible, it's critical that you use a variety of styles of intervention. Not all students learn best with their ears, for example. This motivational intervention is geared for students who respond best to active, tactile activities.

Intervention: Ask students to create "Grad Mag," a magazine that touts the benefits of graduating high school. Poster #283 provides an example. Students can use conventional art supplies or computers to create their magazine. Prior to starting on the art work, allow students to research the benefits and hazards of getting a high school diploma. They can consider variables like income, type of job, and job status.

If a group or classroom of students is involved in this project, students can be assigned to make different components of the magazine, such as the cover, back page, table of contents, and so on. Once the elements are completed, the magazine can be assembled, reviewed and discussed.

Indirect motivational methods such as this strategy, may pack a bigger punch than more straight-forward, verbal approaches proclaiming the importance of education and a diploma. While it might be easier for you to present this point of view instead of having your students research and create it, you will find this method to be far more effective, especially with oppositional youngsters.

Man vs Machine

poster to motivate studentsPower up your students to care about school by showing them how automation is quickly taking over entry level jobs, as well as many jobs that have been available to people without a high school diploma.

Intervention: To implement this intervention, use a voice that sounds like a robot, or alternatively, record your voice using a device to make it sound robotic. If you search for "make my voice sound like a robot," you'll see plenty of options. Say in a robotic voice: "Any job you can do without skills, a robot can do better." If you prefer, you can substitute the word "diploma" or "math" for the word "skills."

Next, discuss with your students why employers might much prefer virtual employees to real ones. Include answers like "robots never have to take lots of bathroom breaks" and "robots know how to do math." Poster #148, pictured at right provides illustration.


Now, More Important Than the Air You Breathe

motivational posterIt may be a sad commentary on our culture, but it is probably necessary to sell and market the value of school and education to students who have not discovered that truth for themselves. If you have disinterested, unmotivated students, part of your job must include convincing those youngsters that school and education will be absolutely essential to their survival.

Intervention: If you look at Poster #168, you can see that the word "diploma" is literally made of money. That is a concept that can reach some of your most uninterested students: that schools offer free diplomas that are made of money. One estimate is that high school grads out-earn dropouts by $329,000 per lifetime. Ask your students to estimate what an extra $329,000 per person –$658,000 per couple– could buy. Also ask students to choose whether they would prefer to have $329,000 more or less than everyone else.


There's No Excuse
For Dropping Out

Classroom PosterDon't let students' unrealistic excuses ever justify leaving school. A classic reason some boys offer for quitting school is that they plan to be famous sports stars so they will never need an education.

Intervention: Open students' eyes to the truth. Poster #170 illustrates that the NFL, NBA and MLB all want players to have a diploma. There are plenty of other types of excuses so be sure to confront whatever untrue explanations your students present. In our books, we have interventions for virtually all of these excuses, including "I'm going on welfare," "I'll marry a wealthy man," and "I'm going to win the lottery."




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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.