How to Motivate an Underachiever

Dino's been on the sofa so long he'll need surgery to have it removed. He's convinced that no matter how much homework, studying, or paying attention in class he does, he won't get good grades. He thinks that lucky thing happens only if the teacher is in a good mood.

Unfortunately, Dino is no longer your ever-enthusiastic and constantly curious preschooler. He lives in Hormone City now. Unlike blemishes and a squeaking voice, however, underachievement is not something he will outgrow. Don't doubt yourself when you first start questioning whether Dino is an underachiever. If you're questioning, it's probably because he's displaying some worrisome signs.

Michele J. Sabino, who teaches a freshman remedial English class at the University of Houston Downtown, believes that "a lack of motivation is typical of kids who push buttons and have images instantly flashed back at them on a screen." Though there is no consensus about the cause or causes for low motivation and underachievement, certain factors and behaviors in combination contribute to Dino's lack of achievement.

If too many factors in the box below describe your middle schooler's life, or these behaviors have persisted through one marking period, your sofa-bound Dino is probably headed straight down the underachieving track.


From Teacher Says by Evelyn Porreca Vuko. Copyright © 2004. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, visit amazon.com or click on the book cover.


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