The Electric Educator: How to motivate students

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to motivate students

People are motivated by being pushed, or being pulled.

Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days, explains:

"Push tools, such as compensation plans, performance measurement systems, annual budgets, and the like, motivate people through authority, loyalty, fear, and expectation of reward for productive work. Pull tools, such as a compelling vision, inspire people by invoking a positive and exciting image of the future."

How does this work in the classroom? Here's my list of push and pull tools that impact students:

Push Tools
Pull Tools
·         Grades
·         Threat of discipline
·         Parental disappointment
·         Peer pressure (positive and negative)
·         Fear of failure
·         The understanding that hard work now will lead to future success.
·         A desire to be a life-long learner.
·          An understanding that habits developed now will be habits for life, for better or for worse.
·         A sense of autonomy and purpose.
·         A sense of belonging to something bigger and more important than myself.

Dynamic classrooms have a strong pull that motivates students. This frequently involves collaborative, dynamic, and self-directed learning. 

Can you think of any other push or pull tools that are frequently found in the classroom? How can teachers create a strong sense of pull to motivate students?

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