Thanks to the Pen Weekly NewsBlast for tagging a story about a recent study showing that academic success is largely dependent on whether children believe in their ability to improve their intelligence. This is the so-called "growth mindset," which I wrote about in this blog a few months back. The fixed mindset, on the other hand, views intelligence as something we are born with and can't do much to change. If you are interested in this kind of research, I would suggest you read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. See a review of this book ...


If you like to dig into data about high school graduation rates, check out a new mapping tool on edweek.org that allows you to examine graduation rates for every district in the United States. You can see how well your district stacks up against neighboring districts, your state and other states, and the nation. If you find some interesting stories in the numbers that might be related to student motivation report back here so we can share it with our readers. The numbers could spark a good discussion....


A program in Wisconsin that begins this week is worth watching to see if it has its intended impact on student motivation. The program, The Wisconsin Covenant, promises high school students a spot in college or technical schools as well as financial aid if they maintain a B average, take college preparatory classes, stay out of trouble, and do community service work, according to an Associated Press article. The cost of the program will depend on how many of the state's 75,000 8th graders sign up and meet the requirements, according to AP. If the program succeeds, we'll have ...


Loved the feedback about my last entry, "At-Risk or At-Promise," which tackled the issue of educational jargon. One reader said the switch from At-Risk to At-Promise was "just insane," while another said the phrase was "worth preserving" because it sends a positive message. So I wanted to keep the discussion going. What jargon about student motivation do you think is simply ridiculous or sends the wrong message? On the other hand, is there some jargon you really like and believe is worth preserving?...


I am one of those people who dreads educational jargon. It has a way of turning attention away from problems, masking the issues that really matter, and simply confusing even intelligent readers. So I am always on the lookout for the latest jargon in the student motivation world. And I ran across one recently that seems to be the work of people who have way too much time on their hands and who are way too obsessed with self-esteem. It is the "3rd Annual Reaching At-Promise Students National Conference." Not at-risk, but at-promise. The at-risk label was pretty bad on ...


A headline on the front page of today's Washington Post says "Climate Change Scenarios Scare, and Motivate, Kids." The story tells about the growing interest of students, some as young as 8, in the issue of global warming. Some youngsters are doing classroom projects on climate change; others are trying to rally their schools to raise money to combat global warming. And at one high school, enrollment in an AP environmental science class has doubled over the past two years and is expected to continue growing. What's the educational lesson here? It's a simple one: Make learning relevant to students' ...


With my 8th grade son about to attend a large comprehensive high school in Northern Virginia next year, I'll be keeping a close eye on him to see what impact the size of the school has on his motivation. Much has been written about how kids can get lost in the anonymity of such places and not feel connected to their schools. That, in turn, undoubtedly has a negative effect on motivation. On my drive to work this morning, I listened to a story on NPR, "Troubled Schools Turn Around By Shrinking," which examines efforts in Baltimore to create smaller, ...


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