Student motivation is something that all teachers struggle with, whether it be with one student, or a class. Since work ethic has show a decline over the years, educators and business leaders share a common stress. It was interesting and a bit frustrating to hear the complaints that were said to be common among many educators that Wagner had interviewed. The concerns from the teachers point of view seemed to be revolved around memorization, repetition, and a "listen to me" attitude. Why on earth would students be motivated to work in this type of environment. I recently went to a wonderful workshop by Dr. Ernie Mendez that covered the topic of Emotional Literacy, and Mendez said what Wagner states repeatedly throughout his book. They both agreed on the idea that everybody is motivated, it is all about finding what motivates them.
Chapters 3 and 4 cover some interesting and controversial topics in education. Looking at what Wagner says on "testing" and the real world application, I completely agree with his statement "While all employers need workers who solve problems, they do not find that students who have taken the usual math and science courses and passed the tests can apply this content to solving real problems." With these types of standardized testing, how are students supposed to learn life skills? What are they really proving, other than the ability to memorize and recite? It was interesting, but not in any way surprising, to hear that when students were asked about their most engaging experience in high school, they began to recall clubs and extracurricular activities. It was sad, however, to here the laughter and feeling of time wasted when it came to academics. This is what we hope educators and leaders today are working to prevent.