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Redesigning School

Motivation Is Central

In most school reform efforts the focus is on the schools. The question we typically ask is, “Why aren’t schools performing as they should?” Perhaps a key reason we’re so dissatisfied with the state of public K-12 education is that we’ve been asking the wrong question.

If we asked instead, “Why aren’t students learning?” perhaps we might see things that others have yet to perceive. After all, it’s the children’s performance that should concern us. The performance of a school is little more than the sum of the performance of its students.

If children are motivated to learn and if we enable each one to learn effectively, we will have an education system with a great performance record.

As the late educator Jack Frymier often said: “If the kids want to learn, we couldn’t stop ’em. If they don’t, we can’t make ’em.”
Rethinking Student Motivation
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