Here's the key to dealing with unmotivated students: don't think of them as unmotivated.
Last week I was consulting with a college that identified one of its major student segments as "Uninspired," complete with pictures of frowning students. Now, some 25% of these uninspired students were making over $100,000 a year, and I'm thinking......
Then this week the first day, the first comment, of my online course and a teacher makes the standard comment:
"Sometimes the first thing I think of is that they are unmotivated...."
Having mentored low income minority boys from single parent households with no access to a computer, I have yet to find an "unmotivated" student. Now, they might not be motivated about Math 5 in week 7 and on page 172 at age 11 (or 12 or 22 or...) but that does not mean they are not motivated.
We as teachers have to assume that every student is motivated. That's our job.
We would suggest that we as teachers should assume each and every student is motivated, and that while difficult, our job is to stir, enflame and encourage that inherent desire to learn that may or may not appear to be there. Photo: Bluestem prairie grass in a nearby state park this fall.