Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges

Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges

Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges

Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges


Give your students the tools they need to motivate themselves with tips from award-winning educator Larry Ferlazzo. A comprehensive outline of common classroom challenges, this book presents immediately applicable steps and lesson plans for all teachers looking to help students motivate themselves. With coverage of brain-based learning, classroom management, and using technology, these strategies can be easily incorporated into any curriculum.

Learn to implement solutions to the following challenges:

  • How do you motivate students?
  • How do you help students see the importance of personal responsibility?
  • How do you deal with a student who is being disruptive in class?
  • How do you regain control of an out-of-control class?
  • And more!

Blogger and educator Larry Ferlazzo has worked to combine literacy development with short and rigorous classroom lessons on topics such as self-control, personal responsibility, brain growth, and perseverance. He uses many "on-the-spot" interventions designed to engage students and connect with their personal interests.

Use these practical, research-based ideas to ensure all of your students are intrinsically motivated to learn!


This book comes out of my seven years of teaching at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California, and out of my previous nineteen years working as a community organizer.

It comes out of my recognizing that for me to be as effective as I wanted to be as a teacher, I needed to identify ways that I could help my students both learn content knowledge and develop higher-order thinking skills and the attributes that good community leaders must have, including self-motivation, personal responsibility, and perseverance. Increasingly, research shows that these qualities are critical for success in careers, college, and in life (Hampel, 2010). In fact, a 2011 review of more than 200 studies covering nearly 300,000 students found that simple lessons taught by teachers covering these kinds of topics resulted in substantial student academic gains (Sparks, 2011).

And this book comes out of my understanding that developing these kinds of attributes needs to be done in conjunction with students gaining the academic skills they need to learn. In most of our schools today, for better or worse, both teachers and their students are primarily held accountable for teaching and learning academic skills—no matter how important we believe other life skills might be.

This book shares classroom-tested strategies to accomplish both goals simultaneously.

Most, although not all, chapters follow a similar structure. They begin with a question relating to a common classroom problem, which is followed by an imaginary complaint/concern voiced by a teacher. Even though it is “imaginary,” I’d bet most of us have either said or thought something like each concern at some point during our teaching career.

Next is a section on immediate responses that teachers can take today to deal with the issue. Each response is accompanied by research supporting it. Almost all of the suggestions support developing higher-order thinking skills and enhancing self-motivation, personal responsibility, and perseverance. However, there are a few ideas sprinkled throughout the book that, while not necessarily designed to further those specific qualities, don’t undermine them either—I have just found these ideas to be effective. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in “Self-Reliance”: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…” (Emerson, n.d.).

A “Setting the Stage” section comes next and provides ideas (and supporting research) on what teachers can do to provide longer-term solutions.

The final section of each chapter includes detailed lesson plans, including reproducible plans, to implement some of the “Setting the Stage” recommen-

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