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The Unmotivated Student
Transcript of The Unmotivated Student
-Figure out what type of learner they are – you can (when possible) adjust the expectations and/or directives of an assignment to meet their needs.
-Know their history (Where are they from? Have they moved recently? Parental history? Current medical issues? Current living situation?)
-Develop a relationship with their parents/guardians. Become a team.
-Use current or past teachers as a reference; do they have a relationship with a principal and/or counselor.
-Are they involved in extra-curricular activities? Can ‘no pass-no play motivate them? Is their coach/director/sponsor able to help with advice, incentives, or discipline ?
-Know their interests – what do they enjoy/do for fun? Do they have a job? With whom do they hang out?
-Look them up in Teacher Portal to gain more perspective. The teacher has to remember that they already have the power. Using this power to give the student choices that allow them the appearance of winning or of saving face, allows both the student and the teacher to win.
-Don’t B.S. them – this generation has been raised in an era of skepticism; they are able to see through you. Be honest and no empty threats.
-If they are being oppositional, privately give them clear choices. Give them time to consider their options and process outcomes.
-Know how and when to ‘give them an inch’.
-Do your best not to pass judgment or use past behavior to predict future results.
-Avoid power struggles – don’t take things personally – don’t single them out when other students are around.
-When you can, give stretching/focus breaks during your instructional time. "The kids are not the enemy" The teacher must build a bridge between the material and how the student can use it for their goals. Sometimes this bridge is built with skill development and sometimes it is built enthusiasm.
-What made you love your subject so much that you became a teacher? Impart that love to your students. What is cool about what you do? What is unique?
-Different combinations of students receive instruction differently. Base your instruction and activities on the personality of the class. Use the clowns, the hyperactive, and the social butterflies to demonstrate. Use the reluctant, the shy, and recalcitrant to assist.
-Teach how the material has relevance to their lives – Will it help them in their career? In future classes? With ‘life skills’? Be specific and focus on skill development not just content manipulation. The teacher can make personal connections with the student outside of the material to gain their trust and show them you do care about them.
-Go to their point of view – see the world through their eyes. If possible, show them you are not totally out of touch with their world/generation.
-Show empathy. Remember how awkward you were in H.S.
-Utilize positive reinforcement. Be explicit and specific. Tell them good things, compliment them, brag on them to other teachers, their parents, counselors and principals.
-Utilize tangible rewards – candy, food, pencils, erasers – just because they are in H.S. doesn’t mean that they have outgrown small prizes.
-Show them you’re human and that you, too, are flawed. Self-deprecating humor can humanize you for them. Allow them a chance to coach you in a proper way.
-Pair them up with a student that could motivate them (pretty girl, good role model, nice/understanding peer)