12 ways to kill motivation in your classroom.

Rick Wormeli writes a very good article in the September 2014 issue of Educational Leadership by ASCD.  At the conclusion, he lists the top 12 ways we can demotivate our learners.  Since it’s the start of the school year, I think it’s a great time to make sure we’re doing our best to help our kids and avoid these behaviors.


  1. Being told how important today’s lesson will be in high school and beyond. (Instead, help kids live this one week of their lives powerfully.)

  2. Teachers who talk the whole class period or who speak in long paragraphs when disciplining.

  3. Complex assignments that you don’t have the skills to complete and that have no clear evaluative criteria.

  4. Being told what you’re probably feeling and thinking, even if it’s accurate.

  5. Teachers who see teaching middle school as just something to do until a high school position opens up. (Students can tell when they’re not a teacher’s preferred age group.)

  6. Fs, zeroes, and other indicators of failure.

  7. Spending the day working on weaknesses, without identifying and using strengths.

  8. Being treated like elementary school students. (No more requiring students to march to the cafeteria with their fingers pressed to their lips or clapping hands at the front of the room in a cute rhythm that students must repeat.)

  9. Anyone belittling your strong emotional response to something minor in your life.

  10. Classes that claim to be relevant to your life but that deny you access to personal technology during lessons.

  11. Unwavering adherence to pacing guides or program fidelity, regardless of individual needs and talents.

  12. Sarcasm.

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12 ways to kill motivation in your classroom.

by Ron Houtman time to read: 1 min