Getting Beyond the Myths of How to Motivate Kids

Money for Good Grades and Other Myths About Motivating Kids: Strategies for Parents and Teachers
By Barbara R. Blackburn
(Routledge/Eye On Education, 2019 – Learn more)

Reviewed by Julianna Maurer

In Barbara Blackburn’s eight-chapter book, Money for Good Grades and Other Myths About Motivating Kids, she provides insight for teachers and parents regarding student motivation, expectations, and rewards. By highlighting common myths, Blackburn is able to debunk frequent misconceptions.

The relatable guide starts out by discussing how to motivate kids without using rewards.  Blackburn next leads parents and teachers to evaluate their relationship with the child. Moving the focus to competition and failing, Blackburn provides real life examples, based upon her past experiences, that create a vivid backdrop for her suggestions.

Each chapter contains insightful knowledge answering each myth. Blackburn provides what she calls “mixed messages.” These are common sayings teachers and/or parents might share with their students. Each counterproductive message (which are often heard in the home and the classroom) contradicts Blackburn’s suggestion in that chapter. The reader will be able to hear their voice speaking to their student or child and will be able to learn how to communicate more effectively.

Making connections with students

The book is also filled with various graphics and charts to support the content. Parents and educators can use the diagrams to aide in their discovery of new material to present to the young person.

Ending each chapter with a “classroom connection,” Blackburn delivers questions for parents to present to their child’s teacher. By joining the home with the classroom, students will be able to be supported in a homogeneous manner.

As a teacher, I would have benefited from more direct suggestions for the classroom. The book is advertised for parents and teachers but has a preponderance of (very good) tips for parents. If the “classroom connection” was relatable for classroom teachers, more school-based readers would benefit from the content. That said, the information Blackburn offers to her readers is invaluable and many teachers will likely be able to make the translation .

Julianna Maurer is a middle school special education teacher for a cyber school in Pennsylvania. She studied education at West Chester University and is passionate about supporting families raising children with different needs. Julianna is currently finishing her master’s degree while teaching in PA.

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