Tag Archives: motivation

One of the great conundrums of human history has surely been how to motivate teens to do what society wants them to do rather than what they themselves want to do. Your average high schooler may happily spend marathon sessions practicing sports, playing games, or just scrolling through social media but still balk at ten minutes of homework or chores. Unsurprisingly, researchers have been delving the depths of student motivation for decades, exploring a variety of angles across age groups and cultures. Some of the findings aren’t that surprising either, though others seem rather unexpected. An overview of the current research encompassing over 144 studies and more than 79,000 students has been published as Pathways to Student Motivation: A Meta-Analysis of Antecedents of Autonomous and Controlled Motivations, and the key takeaways of this meta-analysis are powerful: Students’ self-determined motivation (acting out of interest, curiosity, and abiding values) is associated with…

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Any time test scores come back, some test takers invariably underperform relative to expectations just as sure as some NFL teams underperform during the first official week of football (I’m looking at you, Bills!) Often, the reasons driving these regrettable outcomes are very similar despite the dramatically different nature of the challenges. Sometimes, the problem lies in inadequate preparation. Sometimes, the problem comes down to insufficient commitment. The problem may be a sign of lack of persistence or a call for more coaching and practice. Bad outcomes may even be the result of factors outside of your control. No matter why a team loses or a test score comes back lower than expected or desired, the answer is always the same. press on. President Calvin Coolidge eloquently explained the necessity of tenacity and resolve: Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more…

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No matter what else is happening in the world, the Olympics have always commanded attention. If you ever doubt the burning will to exceed all limits inherent in all of us, just look at the dedication these indomitable athletes exemplify. No spectacle captures the world’s imagination on such a grand scale. But we’re not tuning in to catch up on air rifle or luge or any of the other hundreds of sometimes obscure events (race walking… really?) we somehow ignore every other week of the year. No, we thrill to the competition, the effort, and the unquenchable commitment to win. Everyone on the path to their best test scores and grades can learn what being the best really requires from those who have paid the costs and reaped the rewards–including Gold Medals and enshrinement on boxes of Wheaties–of enduring excellence… “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams…

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Nobody has more credibility about achieving success than wildly successful people. Knowing how to get to the top of the mountain is one thing, but summiting that peak again and again until your smiling visage is carved into it is quite another. Why else would a conversation about what it takes to be great between the King of All Media and one of the greatest comedians of all time is worth repeating on a site about learning and performance. Apparently, Howard Stern recently interviewed Jerry Seinfeld, and the conversation turned to work ethic. Howard started talking about how hard he worked everyday to make a living in radio: Howard Stern: “I thought, you know, it is possible to will yourself, maybe not to be the greatest in the world but to certainly get what you want.” Jerry Seinfeld: “I’m going to adjust your perspective a little bit. That was no…

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Earlier in the year, I shared some pointed quotes about What to Be When You Want to Be Successful. However, as Carl Jung observed, “You are what you do.” Success in any specific area requires very specific steps; the path to superior test scores may resemble that for other endeavors, but requires demonstrably more practice tests! In a larger sense, though, elite performance depends on consistently doing the right things the right way… Do you know what to do now? If you want to do one more thing to supercharge success, subscribe to the massively motivational Chariot Learning Instagram feed!

After reviewing tens of thousands of SAT & ACT Reading passages with students over the years, I can share one interesting and entirely intuitive observation: test takers score better on passages that interest them. When a reader engages with a passage, she reads faster and comprehends more deeply, which leads to improved accuracy. On the other hand, when the first paragraph elicits an audible “Ugh,” you can bet that tortured, distracted, plodding reading will ensue. Readers that do not engage fully with a passage rarely understand it well enough to pull the majority of points. Unsurprisingly, this observation extends to every section of a test and, further, to every kind of test or activity. Author, motivational speaker and organizational consultant Simon Sinek phrased the distinction perfectly: Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion. You can see the…

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