"You never can tell how kids are going to see something or how they are going to react to anything that might happen. Their ways are not our ways, and when we get a glimpse into what and how they are thinking, it can be downright disorienting." That quote comes from the author of Today's Homework, one of the blogs this blog follows for insights into student motivation. The author goes on to tell a funny story about having to escort a teenage boy to his math class every day because he was always looking for ways to get out ...


Our recent chat on edweek.org, "Student Academic Pressure: Too Much or Too Little?," prompted hundreds of questions and comments that showcased how differently educators, researchers, policymakers, and parents view this issue. Many think today's students are overburdened with academic work both in school and at home, while many others believe today's students are not held to high standards and have a questionable work ethic. Whatever their opinion on that question, one theme that resonated within this chat is that the type and quality of teaching and curriculum in U.S. schools needs to be improved. "It's not whether students ...


If schools employ multi-age classrooms, have students play a bigger role in choosing what they study, and get rid of traditional grading and testing (Montessori education approaches), are they likely to see an increase in students' motivation to learn--and, in turn, higher achievement? A new study published in the journal Science suggests such approaches are likely to have a positive impact on achievement. Angeline Lillard of the University of Virginia and Nicole Else-Quest of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, studied two groups of 5- and 12-year-old students in Milwaukee, Wis., who attended Montessori schools. The resesarchers found that Montessori-educated 5-year-olds ...


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 ...


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