181 - How Not to Motivate Students

Posted April 19, 2021 by Mark Perna

Episode: 181
Episode Title: How Not to Motivate Students

When young people get stuck in the tunnel of their education, it can be all too easy to try to motivate them through fear. But that never works for long. Here’s why, coming up next on the Syndicate.

Ep 181 show:
Hello and welcome—you’re now in The Perna Syndicate! Parents and educators understand that motivation is the secret sauce for young people to reach their full potential. When they want something, when they’re motivated to get it, they will do the work and make the sacrifices to get there.

So what do we do when kids get stuck in a rut of being unmotivated and unwilling to move forward? How do we motivate them to put forth their best effort, to really invest themselves in their education and everything they want to achieve?

I think many times we try to scare them into moving forward. “If you don’t master this, you will never be able to get a good job, you’ll never get ahead, you’ll never have a good life,” et cetera.

This can paralyze kids—which is the exact opposite of what we, their parents and educators who care about them, are trying to accomplish. With the best of intentions, we try to put the fear of failure into them. But fear is only a temporary motivator. It doesn’t keep people engaged and productive for the long term.

Especially for kids who are already struggling, fear tactics just make them retreat further into themselves and dig in their heels. They can become more stuck than they were in the first place.

So this is how not to motivate students. How can we inspire them to move forward? This week, I’m going to share a new insight on why kids get stuck and how we can transition them to a new outlook that will allow them to take steps forward. We’ll see you back here tomorrow at the Syndicate!


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Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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