Any ideas on how to motivate an unmotivated child?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Eve, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. Eve

    Eve Rookie

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    Apr 28, 2010

    I have a very unmotivated little boy in my class (Grade 2). He is very helpful and always willing to tidy up and help around the classroom. However, he is completely unmotivated to do his work. He either works extremely slowly and doesn't finish, or he rushes through the work and makes a terrible mess. He just doesn't seem to care about his school work. Does anyone have any ideas of how I could motivate him?
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Often kids who are struggling appear unmotivated or display some common misbehaviors as a mask. Sometimes it is based on real outcome and other times it is a perceived issue. Both require working on self-esteem issues related to work.

    There could be other factors as well. You have to look at the why to truly come up with a good solution.

    However, there are things you could try such as a reinforcement chart. Helping him feel good about his work. Lots of positive praise. Giving less work at a time to reduce anxiety.
     
  4. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I do agree with the PP that you need to determine WHY this little guy is performing in this way before addressing it. My experiences have been more behavioral. I have had success with the following:

    1. Meet with the student and discuss the situation. Explain that you will be meeting with his parents and that all of his unfinished work will be sent home to be completed.

    2. Meet with him with his parents. Explain the same.

    3. Provide the student with a to do list of what needs to be completed each day.

    4. At the end of the allotted time record how long the child had to complete the assignment at the top.

    5. Send it all home to be completed and signed.

    6. If it is not completed in a manner that reflects his abilities have him start it over.

    I have found that this works very well for a few reasons. It puts you in sync with the parents and sometimes just knowing that will motivate a child. It makes the parents aware of his progress. It gives him reason for getting his work done on time. If there is a larger problem (LD, ADHD, etc) it will become more clear and also allow the parents to see the severity of the situation.
     
  5. Eve

    Eve Rookie

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    Apr 28, 2010

    Thanks

    Hi cutNglue and iheartrecess (love the names, by the way!)
    Thanks for the comments and advice. He does have fine motor problems and he attends OT (privately after school) so I know that this is a factor. However, he needs to do the work in class and I just would love to see him taking some pride in his work. I have been soft on him and I think it hasn't benefitted him. I will try your ideas.
    Thanks again :)
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 28, 2010

    My guess is that he's unmotivated because he's pretty sure it's not something he's good at.

    Or because he hasn't found the "hook"-- a subject or topic that will have him aching to learn more.

    Does he have a friend in the class who is doing well who could mentor him?
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    My class has been slow moving this year so putting up check boxes beside the agenda and reinforcing what we were completing visually and giving the group reward if all were checked was very successful for me on most days. You could do something like that individually. Break it up in chunks.

    If his fine motor skills are lacking, it is going to take a lot of encouragement and telling the poor guy how great he is at stuff for him to want to do it. It's a lot of work on his hands and to coordinate that both physically and mentally is an awesome challenge and draining. If he is struggling in the academic area, that's even more so.

    I have one boy who has poor fine motor. The OT came by and was stunned by the sheer difference because he is more motivated and his production is much better, particularly with drawing. I gave him small workable goals and beamed every time he showed a tiny application of any advice I gave him. Then when he really struggles, I sit down with him and model it. He went from not wanting to draw basic shapes to being okay with adding clothes, hair facial features and other details.his letter production is rigid. I work on small goals and build up. I also consider what my purpose is and sometimes give him less of certain types of work if I need him to comprehend the concepts first and work on fine motor separately at other times.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I think the key is lots of positive reinforcement. When you see him taking his time (even a little bit), chime in and say, "I love that you are really taking your time with this task. Good for you!" Be sincere and specific with your feedback. Children really do want to please us. That's evident in this child as well since he is a good classroom helper. He wants to please you. Praise often and be specific with it. Give him support when he needs it. Consider differentiating his work. He will come around with the right conbination of these.
     
  9. Grover

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    Apr 28, 2010

    What is it about the work that's supposed to motivate him? Is it something that YOU are interested in? (Not the result, as a teacher, but in actually doing as he is expected to?) Second graders are not taking the long view of utility.
     
  10. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    Apr 28, 2010

    has he been checked for glasses?
     

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