As 2008 approaches, please give us some suggestions for motivation-related issues you would like to see covered in this blog in the new year. We have made a commitment to providing more information, more regularly on this blog. And we would like your help in maintaining that momentum. Your insights and suggestions will be an invaluable source of material for us. Tell us what you think by putting your suggestions in the comments section of this entry or email them to me at [email protected] Thanks for your help. And have a Happy New Year!...


There's an AP story posted today that pretty much sums up my frustrations as a high school student in a high-performing, affluent school district. Here's the basic gist of it: "In most of the [Washington, D.C. area], a score of 90 or higher will earn a student the top mark. But in Fairfax County, (Va.) it takes a score of at least 94." It's this kind of discrepancy that really irrated me when I was a student. Although I did not attend school in Fairfax County, my school district used the same grading scale as the one described in ...


I was searching YouTube today for motivation-related material and I found this college commencement speech by Steve Jobs of Apple Computer. Sure, it's a little dated (2005), but it's an excellent speech about bouncing back from setbacks, the power of curiosity and creativity, and the importance of following a dream. It might offer some food for thought as the second half of the 2007-08 school year approaches. Check it out....


Happy Holidays to all Motivation Matters readers! Now that you have completely exhausted yourself getting packages out to all your family and friends, we hope the holiday break re-energizes you to seek out new and better ways to motivate students and educators to improve schools. We would like to leave you with a video we found on YouTube showcasing an elementary student's classroom presentation of a pop-up Christmas card. This boy was obviously motivated to do this school assignment. Check out the video here:...


I read an article this morning called "Collaboration--Rather than Competition--For Quality Learning" by Marvin Marshall, author of the book Discipline Without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards. As the title suggests, the article makes the argument that learning is enhanced by a collaborative setting, rather than the traditionally competitive one that is used in most classrooms. Marshall says that competition creates more losers than winners, and as a result, actually reduces student motivation. I agree with some of the things Marshall says in this article--I shy away from competition at all costs--but to me, there's a difference between competition in which you ...


I know we've talked about how rewards affect student motivation many times before, but this article in the American Educator approaches the question "should learning be its own reward?" from the perspective of cognitive science. It is probably the most comprehensive article about using rewards to motivate students I've read so far, so if this is something you're interested in, I highly recommend that you check it out. Here's an excerpt: Concrete rewards can motivate students to attend class, to behave well, or to produce better work. But if you are not careful in choosing what you reward, they can ...


An AP story about a recent study by the Baltimore-based nonprofit organization Advocates for Children and Youth links low performing schools with high principal turnover rates. The group, which examined schools in or near Baltimore, calls for incentives to keep principals in low achieving schools for longer periods of time with the hope that more experienced principals will improve academic performance, says the article. There's a related article up today in the Rocky Mountain News about one principal who left her post at a high achieving middle school to work at the lowest-performing middle school in the state. Her leadership ...


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