When students don’t learn in school, the automatic assumption is that the fault lies with their teachers. But the reality is different, for reasons reformers don’t want to admit (“Go Ahead, Drop My Course,” The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3).
The truth is that motivation can’t be forced on students. Yes, there are degrees of motivation, but my point is that even the best teachers are not miracle workers. If students don’t come to class ready and eager to learn, they will not learn. (I’m not talking now about homeless children who fall into a completely different category.)
Students differ in the degree of their motivation largely because of their family background. Some families place the highest emphasis on the importance of education. They instill in their children the value that education inherently possesses. At the same time, they teach their children to respect teachers. These are the students that every teacher desperately wants.
When I was in school, my mother impressed on me from an early age to revere teachers and to be grateful for what they taught. It was a lesson that I’ve never forgotten.
(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)