Using the virtuous cycle to motivate hard work

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Using the virtuous cycle to motivate hard work

Every year, I encourage my students to make what I call "the choice." The choice means to dedicate yourself to becoming a quality student. When kids make the choice, they care more or work harder in school. When that happens, there is an almost immediate improvement in the quality of work the kids produce. When that happens, they begin to receive positive feedback from parents, teachers, peers, and even themselves. They notice they are doing better. When that happens, their confidence grows, and that causes them to take more pride in what they are doing. After that, the kids realize, Hey, I'm doing well. I can do better. I can expect more from myself. That causes them to develop higher personal standards. That's the key right there. That's the key moment. There are wonderful efforts from families to create high expectations, but by themselves, that's not going to get them where they want to go until the kids make those expectations personal. When they decide that they want to be the best of the best -- which is an expression that I use -- When they decide they want to do that, they follow that virtuous cycle and the steps repeat and go to higher and higher levels. So by encouraging kids, letting them know when they did a good job; and when they don't do the best job they can, we say, "Hey, we can do better here." Providing encouragement and also some tough love to get to some higher levels, always reaffirming the fact that we know they can do it if they work harder. Phrase it in those terms, then kids will make that choice and realize their potential.

Watch Steve Reifman's video on Using the virtuous cycle to motivate hard work...


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Steve Reifman

Teacher, Author & Speaker

Steve Reifman is a National Board Certified elementary school teacher, author, and speaker in Santa Monica, CA. He has written several resource books for educators and parents, including Changing Kids’ Lives One Quote at a TimeEight Essentials for Empowered Teaching and Learning, K-8, and Rock It! In addition, Steve has created a series of shorter, e-book resources for educators, including The First 10 Minutes: A Classroom Morning Routine that Reaches and Teaches the Whole ChildThe First 30 Days: Start Your School Year with 4 Priorities in Mind, and 2-Minute Biographies for Kids: Inspirational Success Stories About 19 Famous People and the Importance of Education. He is also the creator of the Chase Manning Mystery Series for children 8-12 years of age. For Teaching Tips, articles, and other valuable resources and strategies on teaching the whole child, visit and subscribe at  subscribe to his “Teaching Kids” YouTube channel, check out his two professional development courses for educators on, and visit his Teachers Pay Teachers page.

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