Motivating Middle School Boys

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Motivation of Middle School Boys in Math Class

Abstract
Middle school is a time of physical, emotional and social change for boys. When students hit middle school, academics tend to take a back seat to all of the new activity in their lives. For boys, middle school is increasingly difficult. In addition to the physical and emotional changes, the academic curriculum becomes more challenging and rigid. This does not align with a typical boy's learning style. Many boys in middle school are struggling through hard times at home. Situations may include challenges such as little to no parental support, poverty, and malnutrition. With all of the possible circumstances disrupting their home lives, it is hard for these boys to concentrate on how to solve an equation in math class. Teachers need to motivate boys by providing relevant, hands-on curriculum. Three ways that teachers can do this is by including family members in the classroom, using friendly competition in the form of games and contests, and by relating mathematical lessons and material to real-life situations and interests that the boys might have.

Introduction
By seventh grade, most students have had years of poor attendance, little parental support, and many other issues related to poverty. They simply do not see the importance of mathematics in everyday life and how math can lead to better things for them. Males, in particular, want to continue the lifestyle they were raised in; showing little to no effort when it comes to the math classroom. This paper discusses three reasons why mathematics teachers should incorporate meaningful motivation strategies as a tool to motivate middle school males in the mathematics classroom. Including Family in the Classroom

One way that teachers can help to motivate boys in the middle school classroom is to include their families in the classroom. The relationship between family and school influences the academic achievement of middle school students. These family relationships and parental involvement mold students’ educational development drastically. Murdock and Miller (2003) refer to family as a major influence in how middle school boys deal with learning, peers, and motivation. They state “families play the most important role in students’ lives as they transition from elementary school to middle school”. The absence of a parent can play a very important role in the success of a student, so when the student sees that there is a connection between the classroom and their family, they are motivated to succeed. Middle school math teachers should try their best to create a sense of family cohesion and teamwork in the classroom. Teachers can do this by always making sure parents are aware of what is happening in the classroom, keeping the lines of communication open, and even incorporating projects that might need the student to work with a member of their family to complete it. Haim Ginott’s theory of congruent communication states that teachers should always use communication that is harmonious with students’ feelings about situations (Charles, 2008). This can be applied to idea of including families in the classroom because teachers need to keep the lines of communication open not only with their students, but with their students’ families. By taking the time to talk to students about situations arising in the classroom, it will be easy for teachers to communicate with parents about similar situations and the lack of motivation within the classroom. When students know that their families are involved in their academics, they are more inclined to succeed in the classroom. Introduce Competition

Next, a second way that teachers can help to motivate middle school boys while in the classroom is to include the use of different games and contests. Most boys respond well to competition with their peers. They will force one another to greater speeds, improved accuracy and higher achievement in the name of winning. Boys...
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