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Student Motivation

Lisa Juvinall 6th grade elementary teacher in Seattle, Washington

I work in a school that has a very low-income population. Many of my students' parents are too busy working to provide for their children to be involved in their child's education. Other parents did not graduate from high school, or even middle school, and do not place a lot of value in education. Many of my students are a year or two (or more) behind in school and are falling further and further behind every day because they lack motivation and a good work ethic. Does anyone have any good strategies or tips to help me motivate my students and help them realize how important education is to their future?

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You could try case studies

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You could try case studies wherein very low income families have been able to make success of children . We have several examples in the Indian context , but perhaps not be relevant to you. Do drop in a line if you are looking at Indian Case studies.
You could also invite one such successful person to come and share his/her experience , which can relate to you group. for eg its difficult to explain Hunger unless one has gone through it . Regards

Education Specialist

So long as your students are

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So long as your students are human they are motivated to learn, "homo curaous", but perhaps not what you or the system deems important. Reflect on whether or not your kids are truly "behind" or are they simply unique individuals who shouldnt be measured by an arbitrary number or biased test. My advice is simple, care for our children and respect them for the wonderful people they are, cherish your time to watch their growth and most importantly ask them what their dreams are. From that conversation you can begin to facilitate their learning what is important to them. Want longitudinal evidence? See, "The Pursuit of Happiness"; " What becomes of students who attended Sudbury Valley as they pursue their lives as adults? This book explores the lives of former students who spent their formative years at the school. It examines in depth their values, their character, and their careers, drawing extensively on their own words. " Good luck!

i'm concerned about the

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i'm concerned about the assumption that parents "do not place a lot of value in education." Maybe a project like this one in New Haven, CT, where students introduce school people to their neighborhood, could create a better connection between home and school and show students that their families care and that the two parts of their lives are related.

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