Friday, November 26, 2010

Motivated Student (Critical to High Achievement)

My favorite football team, the New Orleans Saints, won a Thanksgiving day thriller over the Dallas Cowboys. Final score, Saints 30, Cowboys 27.

It is a game that fans will talk about for some time to come. While there were mistakes made by both teams, it is the game-changing play by New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins that made an impression that will last for many, many years it football folklore.

You see, Jenkins stripped the football from the clutched hands/arms of Dallas receiver Roy Williams, who was surely on his way to a game winning touchdown.

Now, enough about the plays of the game. And, what does this all have to do with one of my other favorite subjects, education.

Motivation, or more particularly self-motivation, is just as important in the pursuit of academic excellence as it is in the game of football or almost any other endeavor in life.

Some commentary by the hero of the game may help add clarity to my point of view.

Jenkins observed that "You can attribute Gregg Williams {defensive coordinator} --how he preaches effort. "When our guys hustle to the ball, good things happen."

Jenkins goes on to say "You can't stop effort. "We're going to play to the end. We're going to fight you to the last play. You can coach up schemes, you can coach up routes, or what ever, you can coach plays, but at the end of the day what wins football is effort and heart. {MOTIVATION, my emphasis}

Saints Head Coach, Sean Payton seemed to agree. He said "The play that Malcolm Jenkins makes is an effort play, a heart play.

Implication for academic achievement: You must have a motivated student show up in the class room every day. A student willing to put forth the effort required to achieve and succeed.

Now this observation is clearly not revolutionary. But it is more important to the issue of increasing graduation rates and closing achievement gaps than most educational discussion captures.

As work continues on achievement going forward, perhaps it would be useful to adopt a more disciplined and organized approach. More on that later, but for now, Go Saints!

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