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ERIC Number: EJ896439
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
How to Create Nonreaders: Reflections on Motivation, Learning, and Sharing Power
Kohn, Alfie
English Journal, v100 n1 p16-22 Sep 2010
The author suggests that it is impossible to motivate students. He said that in fact, it's not really possible to motivate anyone, except perhaps oneself. What a teacher "can" do--"all" a teacher can do--is work with students to create a classroom culture, a climate, a curriculum that will nourish and sustain the fundamental inclinations that everyone starts out with: to make sense of oneself and the world, to become increasingly competent at tasks that are regarded as consequential, to connect with other people. Motivation--at least intrinsic motivation--is something to be supported, or if necessary revived. It's not something teachers can instill in students by acting on them in a certain way. "You can tap their motivation, in other words, but you can't motivate them." On the other hand, what teachers clearly have the ability to do with respect to students' motivation is kill it. In this article, the author suggests seven ways to kill students' motivation. They include: (1) Quantify their reading assignments; (2) Make them write reports; (3) Isolate them; (4) Focus on skills; (5) Offer them incentives; (6) Prepare them for tests; and (7) Restrict their choices. (Contains 10 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A