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Key to Success?

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For Benton Central High School junior Courtney Lavelle, the key to success was simply showing up.

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Her school, in Oxford, Ind., has a plan to get kids motivated...at least to come to school, according to a story in the Journal & Courier newspaper. Each student with perfect attendance for the year wins a key that could unlock the door of a new car. Earlier this month, 27 students tried their keys and Ms. Lavelle was the lucky winner of a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu. According to Brad Harper, Benton Central's attendance officer, the school had a 97 percent attendance rate this year.

But is this an appropriate way to motivate high school kids? Do the ends justify the means?

11 Comments

I think it takes a increasing amount of creativity on the part of teachers, counselors and school administrators to get kids' butts in their seats. If this worked for this Indiana school, my hat is off to them.

I think it takes a increasing amount of creativity on the part of teachers, counselors and school administrators to get kids' butts in their seats. If this worked for this Indiana school, my hat is off to them.

Whatever happened to Intrinsic Motivation?

I think that if it works use it. Intrinsic motivation doesn't work with all students. It doesn't work with all adults. How many adults work at a job they dislike for the money. A lot! Why do we always expect students to behave in a different way than the rest of society? I would love to believe that students would learn for the love of learning, but that just isn't always the case and the ones we are addresing as issues are the ones who do not have an intrinsic motivation to learn in school.

It is outcomes that matter to me, not who won the car. Did student performance increase, decrease, or stay the same? What measures did the school use to determine the outcomes? If there was an increase in student performance how do people know it was due to motivation and increased attendance and not better instruction?

You too, can win the lottery if you come to school! Fabulous! Stay tuned, kids - next year we're going to pay you to come to this horrible place called school. Why? Because we believe in life lessons, too, not just science and history! Oh no! We want you to deeply understand how dissatisfied you'll be with only earning minimim wage (because that's what we'll start with), and that the only true way to make more money is to achieve more in this horrible place called school. If you get a 5 on your AP exam, for instance, you may just earn almost as much as your teachers when you add in those bonus points for community service projects. And if IEPs are your thing, rather than APs, you can get the big bucks by climbing your way up the scale chart (devised by 16 knowledgable people) that ensures that you are learning! This is what we in the education biz call 'hands-on learning' and 'engaging the student.' Oh yes! THIS is what a sound education is really about!

Set your alarm clocks, kids! It's time to get up, learn, and bring in the cash!
Learn what REAL life is all about - do something you could less about and get paid for it!

I teach English in a 9-12 inner-city high school. The worst problem I have is with attendance. I always say...If they warm a seat, I can teach them. We have children with some of the worst horror stories you will ever hear when it comes to home life. It is real. It exists. So, why don't they come to school and stay home instead? They had to babysit because Mom was too drugged the night before to get up in the morning with the little sister. OR.. We didn't have any food for the last three days so I had to take an extra shift at work... and so on... So, do I think that incentives would bring children to school? Yes, because it would give them something to look forward to. But first we have to overcome the problem of getting there. So, I give them food money, buy coats, call protective services, and last... I offered $100 from my pocket to the child in my 11th grade class that earned the highest score on the state test for the English section. These are GENERAL level children. One young lady who has more problems than one should endure in an entire lifetime won. She received 22 out of 25 possible points on the section. Proud? Darn right I am. If I have it, I give it because sometimes we are their only hope and their only inspiration. Sometimes all it takes is someone to believe in them and offer a warm coat in which to walk to school in the winter.

Sure the love of learning should come from inside oneself. But we all live in the real world. Some of our students do deal with the worst of conditions. Their hopes and expectations are low. But if we don't get them to school, we don't have a chance in h--- of motivating them or teaching them anything. So hurray for you for getting the kids to come because if they come . . . they will learn!

Sure the love of learning should come from inside oneself. But we all live in the real world. Some of our students do deal with the worst of conditions. Their hopes and expectations are low. But if we don't get them to school, we don't have a chance in h--- of motivating them or teaching them anything. So hurray for you for getting the kids to come because if they come . . . they will learn!

Sure the love of learning should come from inside oneself. But we all live in the real world. Some of our students do deal with the worst of conditions. Their hopes and expectations are low. But if we don't get them to school, we don't have a chance in h--- of motivating them or teaching them anything. So hurray for you for getting the kids to come because if they come . . . they will learn!

This seems a bit unorthodoxed and if it works, then I'm good with the motivation to plant kids in seats. That is a great start. The second thing we can do is help our kids learn to motivate themselves by having them look out into the future five years from now and discover what it is they really want to be doing with their lives. What is it that will make each of these kids happy and want to wake up every day and go after their dreams?

http://www.yourperfectlife.com

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