Ever wish your students were more motivated? If you’re like most of us, you have tried an array of rewards and punishments to motivate kids. There’s only one problem: it doesn’t work. At least it doesn't work well enough. People (yes, even students) aren’t motivated from the outside so rewards and punishments only work to a point. We are internally motivated. That’s why it's essential to engage and inspire students to be motivated to succeed in school (and life.)

If you’re ready to move beyond the reward/punishment model and embrace a whole new way to understand motivation, I encourage you to come back regularly. It’s time to challenge the status quo and create schools and classrooms based on what really motivates behavior.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Giving Kids What They Need

With the holiday season in full swing, it's time to make sure we give kids what they really need (not just what they want).

Read about it in "Giving Kids What They Need."

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Teacher Evaluation: Fear & Stress Are A Recipe for Disaster

More and more states are using student test scores when evaluating teachers. While this is a superficially logical position to take, the stress it will cause will only worsen the situation.

Read why in "Teacher Evaluation: Fear & Stress Are a Recipe for Disaster."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is Your Child "Successful"?

“Is your son successful?” A simple question asked by a child provides an opportunity for a parent to examine exactly what we mean when we say we want our kids to be “successful.”

Click here to read the article.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Motivation Comes From Within

Even if you think that using positive reinforcement "motivates" your students, the truth is that motivation always comes from within. Read more (including a classroom example) in "Motivation Comes From Within."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bullying: The Importance of Defining Our Terms

Research is supposed to inform, not confuse. When it comes to discussing something as serious as bullying, it's essential to define terms accurately. Read more here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What's the Purpose of Education in the 21st Century?

Everyone wants a quality education for our students. But what exactly do we mean by "a quality education" and what is the purpose of education in the 21st century? I begin to explore this topic in "What's the Purpose of Education in the 21st Century?"

As always, I welcome your comments.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sports, Education, & The Importance Of Mission

One thing that makes professional sports appealing is that the mission is clear: winning. One of the reasons why it's hard to improve education is that there is little agreement about our mission.

Read more in "Sports, Education, & The Importance of Mission."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Testosterone, Aggression, and the Power to Change

There is compelling research that suggests our actions have a direct impact on our physiology. This supports the concept of "Total Behavior," a key component of choice theory psychology. To read about these findings and how it can be helpful to those dealing with aggressive behavior in school (like bullying), read "Testosterone, Aggression, and the Power to Change."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What We Can Learn From Finland

While we test our kids into mediocrity, Finland has an entirely different approach to education. And entirely different results!
Read more in "What We Can Learn From Finland."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Giving "Tickets" for Appropriate Behavior

Giving kids "tickets" for acting appropriately is part of the "catch them being good" mania that can be found in many schools. Ever wonder what such practices teach our students? Read "Giving 'Tickets' for Appropriate Behavior" to find out what harm I think we are doing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Focus on School Success

You've heard all the criticism of schools and teachers. Turns out, there are a lot of exemplary schools out there. Read all about it in my post "Focus on School Success."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

If You Think Teachers Are Overpaid.....Just Wait!!!

If you believe Arne Duncan, teachers should earn more money that graduates of Harvey Mudd, whose graduates are ranked as the highest paid! If you believe Arne Duncan, I have some property you might be interested in buying. Read Duncan's disingenuous comments at "If You Think Teachers Are Overpaid....Just Wait!!!"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Perseverance and the Relentless Pursuit of McNuggets!

Looking for a way to kill the natural enthusiasm for learning and the development a positive character traits? Read "Perseverance and the Relentless Pursuit of McNuggets" to see how one school applies the "tried and true" principles of external motivation.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cheating on High-Stakes Testing: Can You Believe It?

The recent cheating scandal in Atlanta has people "shocked" and "appalled." Not me. If anything, I'm surprised there isn't more wide-spread cheating. You can get my take on the situation by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Criminal Minds:" The Misrepresentation of Dr. William Glasser

Quotations that are incomplete or taken out of context can certainly result in the creation of inaccurate perceptions. Read how the TV show "Criminal Minds" misrepresented Dr. William Glasser, the creator of choice theory.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Race To The Top: As "Top-Down" As It Gets

President Obama applauds innovation that grows "from the bottom up," saying that's the path to genuine education reform. But Race To The Top, created by Obama and Arne Duncan, requires states to agree to federally favored "innovations" in order to receive funding that is necessary to improve schools!

If that sounds like double-speak to you, read "Race To The Top: As 'Top-Down' As It Gets."

By the way, I'm not trying to engage in Obama-bashing. I voted for him and expect to again next year. I simply find myself confused by his educational policies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Total Behavior: A Concept that Offers Hope

The choice theory concept of "total behavior" is not just a bit of interesting academia. The real-world ramifications are incredible. To learn how scientists are hoping to apply what we know, read "Total Behavior: A Concept that Offers Hope."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Perceived Problems Demand Action (Even if it doesn't help!)

"Our educational system is in shambles!" At least that's what a lot of voices are screaming. When people of action perceive a problem, they'll take steps to remedy the issue even when the evidence suggests their "bold initiatives" aren't effective. Two examples involve merit pay and charter schools. Read more here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

External Motivation: The Quick Fix That Doesn't Last

Lots of research seems to suggest that rewards are effective. But....most studies fail to look at the results over time. If you're interested in how effective external rewards (and other forms of control) are over time, take a few minutes to read "External Motivation: The Quick Fix that Doesn't Last." You be surprised by what you discover.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Helping Students Succeed in the Middle Grades

The middle grades. A "make or break" time for many kids. ASCD invited me to share my thoughts about helping kids succeed in the middle grades. Read what I have to say by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Legacy of Fear: Test Scores Rise in Washington, D.C. (So Does Suspicion)

"When it seems too good, you know it might be untrue." This line, taken from the soon-to-be-released song "Untrue" by Dinosaur Feathers, seems appropriate when you look at the unbelievable (?) rise in test scores in Washington, D.C. when Michelle Rhee ruled.

Now there is controversy that I discuss in "The Legacy of Fear: Test Scores Rise in Washington, D.C. (So Does Suspicion).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Merit Pay Comes to Florida

Governor Rick Scott recently signed a bill bringing merit pay to Florida. An excited Governor Scott proudly claimed, “We are absolutely changing this country.” He has no idea how true his words are.

Despite the positive intent, merit pay decreases the chances of educators addressing the needs of the whole child. Read more here.