A Word About Motivation

I have a student who needs a lot of hand-holding when she's doing independent assignments. She's a perfectionist who wants to get the answers right, but doesn't always trust herself to do this the first time.

So today, I assigned the students two articles in our online reading comprehension program. I ask the students to complete two articles with a minimum of a 75 percent on each one. Students who make less than 75 percent must do another article.

The students must read the article (at their Lexile level) and answer several reading comprehension and vocabulary questions afterwards. I have taught them to take their time reading the article, then read the first question carefully, eliminate wrong answers, and check their work by referring back to the article before hitting the submit button.

Most of my students are capable of doing this.

But this one student in particular insists on asking me to hold her hand through the elimination and verification process practically every time. Today, I decided it was time to cut the apron strings. I told her to sit down, to ask herself the questions I ask her, to verify her own answers and to go with her gut.

She made a 100 percent.

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

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