Maybe it's because I'm a nerd, but when I was in school, we were all motivated by something inside us to do well, and the generally held opinion of those who didn't do well was that they wouldn't amount to much. If I didn't understand something I read, I read it again.. and again until I thought I did understand it, and if I still couldn't figure it out, I'd know exactly what it was I DIDN'T know so I could ask someone.
As a teacher now, I face the following conversation:
student: I don't get it.
me: What don't you get?
student: Any of it.
me: Okay, it's subject-verb agreement. Do you not understand the agreement part?
student: I just don't get it.
me: Do you know what a subject and a verb are?
me: OK, so you don't understand what makes them agree or not?
student: I just don't get it. What's the answer to number two?
me: Well, what's the subject of that sentence?
student (whiny) I don't know! I just told you I don't get it!
The above conversation was with a high school student.
I'm wondering about students today and what motivates them. I was motivated by a desire to know what was going on and how to do things correctly - knowledge for its own sake - and I know some kids are motivated by grades and some are motivated by the simple desire to escape school (though they're nuts because school is awesome). But I have more and more kids every year who don't seem to be motivated by anything, and they don't want to even TRY to understand anything. They just want to be given an answer so they can go on with their lives - as if I've gotten in their way by trying to tech them something.
Students who are remotely motivated still don't know how to break down their confusion to tell me what they don't understand.
I can't help but be completely confused and enraged by kids who do not care to know anything. Why on earth would you content yourself to being stupid? Why on earth would you not want to be aware of things?
Mostly I want to know how to reach those kids to make them want to know stuff... what's the key? Does anyone know?