The Harvard Business Review just published an interesting article headlined Research Explores How “Fresh Starts” Affect Our Motivation at Work.

It analyzes the impact of “fresh starts” or “resets” on performance.

It finds that these “resets” are often motivating for those with a weaker past performance and demotivating for those with a strong past performance.

As far as work in the classroom is concerned, the studies reinforce a key strategy in my student motivation “toolkit.” It’s an exceptional differentiation tool for a student who, for example, has an F in class during the first month or two of school and who can get “reset” to an A. In my experience, at least, it’s highly unlikely they’ll make the radical change to stay at that level but, often, it’s enough of a nudge to get them working considerably harder at learning.

And, even if it doesn’t, I’ve found that the offer itself builds up the deposit in our relationship “bank” and classroom management problems are decreased.

The finding that these resets aren’t effective for higher performers doesn’t seem to be useful for us teachers because there isn’t any reason that we’d do that for those students.

What has been your experience with “fresh starts” and “resets”?

I’m adding this post to Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.