September 2006 Archives

I wanted to give the loyal readers of this fledgling blog a heads up that Education Week is holding a chat next week that will be particularly interesting for those of us who care deeply about matters related to student motivation. The chat, to be held on edweek.org on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern time, will tackle the question: Are today's students overburdened with academic demands or not being pushed hard enough in school? This will spark the kind of discussion that gets at the heart of issues about student motivation. This ...


Shoot for the Stars. Anything's Possible. The Sky's the Limit. The clichés about dreaming of individual greatness are infinite. But at what point do you need to say to a teenager: Get real, dude, you're a junior in high school and have Cs and Ds and you're still talking about being a doctor when you grow up. Do you really think you are motivated enough to suffer through medical school (that is, if you can find a school that will accept you) and then long hours as an intern? Believe me, I like dreamers, because I am one. And the...


I have witnessed a fascinating development in my household recently. My 11-year-old son is obsessed with learning foreign languages. First it was Spanish. Then German. And then he added Chinese. At the moment, he hasn't mastered much more than how to count to 10 in Spanish and German. And learning Chinese is still in the pipe-dream phase. But he is motivated. He found a software package he plans to use for Spanish, which he sees as a very practical language because we have a lot of Spanish-speaking people in our community, and some of the kids on his soccer team ...


Remember those burned-out teachers you had in middle or high school? They'd been teaching for decades and the passion for the profession was all but gone. They rolled into class, looking like they wanted to be anywhere but there. Maybe they were mostly to blame for the state of their minds. Or maybe the system pushed them in that direction. Whatever the reason, you can only imagine what effect such low morale had on their students. In a recent chat on edweek.org about student motivation, several readers posed that question: Does low teacher morale have an impact on student ...


As I drive by high schools on my way to work this time of year and see football teams sweating through September workouts, a nagging question always comes to mind: Do today's student athletes work as hard as we did a generation ago? Are they as motivated as we were to get better? Some high school coaches I know say the answer is a definitive no. They believe today's student athletes simply have too many other distractions that draw away from the ability to focus intensely on one goal. Others, however, see a new generation of student athletes, more sophisticated ...


Welcome to Motivation Matters, a new blog sponsored by edweek.org. The concept of motivation has been a topic that has fascinated me for years, beginning in high school in the late 70s and early 80s, when I was in daily awe of my valedictorian older brother, who spent hours in his bedroom mastering chemistry and physics while I rode the "rising tide of mediocrity" (Nation at Risk lingo) into the TV room or down the street to a friend's house to put off until tomorrow the academic work I really should have done yesterday. But all that changed about ...


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