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Happy new year, everyone! We here at Motivation Matters wanted to take this opportunity to say thanks for all the thoughtful comments and suggestions we've received on this blog over the past year. As always, we want to make this blog a helpful and relevant resource for you, so if you have any topics that you'd like discussed or explored in the new year or suggestions on what we could do to improve the blog, please email me ([email protected]) or Kevin ([email protected]) or leave us a comment!

To get the year started on an uplifting note, I thought I'd turn your attention to an AP story about how some schools are using mariachi education classes as a way to entice Hispanic students to stay in school and increase parental involvement.

With soaring dropout rates among Hispanic students, mariachi education programs, long popular in parts of South Texas and California, are springing up in schools across the country to help keep the nation's largest and fastest-growing ethnic group academically engaged.

Mariachi provides a strong cultural link between students and their parents or grandparents, says the article, in a way that traditional band or orchestra classes do not.

Encouraging parental participation and drawing a stronger connection between school and home life are both likely benefits of mariachi education, but I have a slightly harder time believing that mariachi classes will really persuade a student who is considering dropping out of school to stick it out. For a certain few perhaps, but for the vast majority, I don't think these classes are going to solve the dropout crisis.

However, I do think it's important for schools to adjust curriculum, particularly electives, to meet changing interests among their students. Keeping education relevant to students' lives is certainly an effective way of spurring motivation.

What do you think?


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This is an interesting way to include culture in the schools. I think the mariachi program would be more effective in the elementary schools to enhance the culture of the latino (and non-latino children). However in HS, where drop out is a major problem, I do no think that a mariachi program can be much help. Sure, it may help the parents be more involved, but how about spending the money in teaching students productive trades that can help them find a job?

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