We recommend Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning on the Tuned-Out Child by Richard Lavoie. It is a good guide for parents, educators, and caregivers who want to inspire unmotivated children. Lavoie identifies six teaching strategies that can be applied to a variety of personality types. From our reading notes: Rewards: provide only short-term gains and reinforce motivation for the reward, not the behavior Punishment: doesn’t eliminate behavior, only represses it due to the “power play” nature of the negative feedback from an authority figure What does motivate? Help your student activate motivational strategies that are meaningful for him or her. Motivation is very individualized and enhanced in the following ways:
- Status: the need to feel important and valued; opinions of others matters a lot
- Inquisitiveness: the need to know the “why” behind a request
- Affiliation: the need to connect with something larger than myself, such as a sports team, religion, advocacy group, students in a class, family, an “accountability partner”
- Power: the need to be in control. This is key — and here’s a tip for getting a student to make a commitment : “I’ve got a question for you: Are you going to get caught up on past assignments or start with today’s assignments? Getting the student to verbalize his response doubles the chance of the desired behavior because it gives the student a feeling of control. If the student does not do what he said, then you can say: ”I wonder why you didn’t do what you said you were going to do.” Getting a verbalized commitment encourages ownership of the subsequent behavior.
- Achievement: the need to be recognized, such as with a trophy, certificate, or “shout out”
- Gregariousness: the need to be with others and interact with others
- Autonomy: the need to be self-sufficient