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Chapter 18: Teacher as Consultant > Assumptions About Motivating Students

ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT MOTIVATING STUDENTS

The arrangement Ward is describing puts the challenge of motivating students in the hands of the teacher. Grades, a major tool for motivating students, are designed to maintain some control over an increasingly difficult and distracted student audience. Grades determine movement up and down the performance-and-achievement ladder. They control entrance to college, which, according to the conventional storyline, leads to well-paying jobs that provide security and purchasing power. The equation is simple: grades equal performance, which guarantees advancement, which delivers wealth, which offers security and is the key to happiness.

This is a reasonable theory of motivation; unfortunately it applies only to a minority of students. And if it does not work, it is viewed as the student’s fault, or the family’s, or the educator’s. Why is it only partially successful? In Ward’s words:


  

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