Motivating Hard to Reach Students: Book Review

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February 14, 2004

P506

Book Review

I chose to read the book Motivating Hard to Reach Students by Barbara L. McCombs and James E. Pope for my book review. I chose to read this book because I have found that many of my students in the special education program are not motivated to learn, to be actively involved in their learning, or to make good choices.

One of the first points that the book made is that students need to be motivated to learn and not just motivated to follow classroom procedures or rules. So much of the time we try to motivate our students to stay out of trouble. If we motivate them to be an active participant in their learning experience then we may not even have to deal with the discipline problems. We have a strong motivational influence over our students. The way we present our information to the students motivates them. If we present the information in a student centered fun way then chances are the students are going to be more motivated to engage. The kinds of exercises that we use when teaching our students is another motivating factor. The way we interact with our students and the kinds of opportunities that we give our students also plays a role in motivation. Most students get excited at the thought of new and innovative ideas and strategies. Another way we can inspire our students to be motivated to learn is to make sure they can see a direct link of what they are learning to their life. If we can make the assignments meaningful and relevant then they are more likely to “buy” into them. Many students do not value education, as they should. We need to show them why education is important and how they are going to use it in their particular situation.

The book gave several really good methods of how we can motivate these hard to reach students. Most of the examples that the book gave were practical easy examples that were not time or labor intensive and that could be used in most classrooms....
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