I’ve previously posted about unsurprising research that found low-income students tended to be less motivated in school if they felt that inequality in society reduced the odds of upward mobility for them (see New Study Finds Students Less Motivated In School The More They Think Wealth & Income Inequality Is Stacked Against Them).
I found it particularly disappointing that the study didn’t offer any suggestions of what educators should do about this challenge, so shared several of my ideas in that same post.
Now, different researchers approached the issue from that very practical perspective to examine what might be an effective intervention to counteract this problem, and wrote about it in A Belief in Socioeconomic Mobility Promotes the Development of Academically Motivating Identities among Low-Socioeconomic Status Youth.
Their concluding recommendation was certainly more narrow than the ones I recommended, but it is, nevertheless, a good one, and reflects something that we’ve been doing for quite awhile at our school.
They found that exposing high school students to other post-secondary opportunities apart from college, such as vocational training, directly resulted in an increased desire from students to doing academic work in high school.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily a novel insight for high school teachers, administrators or counselors.
But it can provide reinforcement to those schools who are already providing this kind of equal exposure to a variety of post-high school options, and not assuming that everyone wants to go to college.
It should also go without saying that the idea is that high schools are providing exposure, and certainly not pressuring, students to choose one over the other. Doing the latter can lead down a dangerous path, as it has historically, with schools looking at students through the lens of racism and class bias and telling them what direction was “right” for them.
I’m adding this info to Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.