EP191 How to motivate and engage reluctant learners (with Dr. Robyn Jackson)
Play • 50 min

“You can break motivation barriers for disengaged students by recognizing that motivation is an investment decision. Students have time, attention, and effort, and they are making a decision every single day about whether they want to invest those things in our classrooms or in something else. Making your classroom worth investing in is about creating a space where students’ time, energy, and effort will be rewarded.” --Dr. Robyn Jackson Join us as Robyn and I do a deep dive into her quote above. We’re tackling whether there is such thing as a kid who doesn’t want to learn, and then working through the 4 causes of student disengagement (instructional, institutional, interpersonal, and internal.) Robyn explains in-depth how teachers can identify and address each cause in practical, relatable ways. We camp out for quite a while on the topic of interpersonal barriers, because there’s a powerful approach there which can be used to re-engage a reluctant learner. Robyn explains how to uncover students' primary will driver: purpose, mastery, autonomy, and belonging/connection. We discuss what each one means, and how you can incorporate these needs into your daily lessons in a way that reaches all your kids. Feeding kids’ dominant will drivers is surprisingly simple once you understand the basic principle: in fact, just changing the wording you use when giving directions to kids can address the variety of will drivers in your classroom and increase the likelihood of engagement, and Robyn shares specific examples. Motivation is a complex issue, and Robyn provides lots of concrete tools to solve the root problems permanently. This is not about quick tips and hacks: I promise if you can invest an hour of your time into learning the principles from this episode, it will forever change your teaching — Robyn’s work is just that powerful. Don’t muddle through the rest of the year trying to use band-aid solutions with disengaged kids: it’s not too late for a breakthrough, and these simple, powerful principles can make a huge difference quickly. Resources referenced in this episode: Robyn’s previous Truth for Teachers interview on rude, disrespectful student attitudes Robyn’s book, How to Motivate Reluctant Learners Episode 5 of Robyn’s article and episode of School Leadership Reimagined (her podcast) called The most powerful way to motivate anybody.

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