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Kids will be kids? Or is this generation different?

What’s the trick to reaching middle school students?

The Tempered Radical says it’s all about turning their weaknesses into strengths. Talkative? Build conversation into the lesson. Competitive? Make it a contest. Obsessed with fairness? Pose a controversial question, ask them to take a stance or defend a viewpoint.

But in the end, he says, it all comes down to what you believe about kids today:

Do you buy into the idea that today’s kids are more difficult to motivate than their predecessors? Do you believe that the kinds of lessons that kids find motivating today are drastically different than the kinds of motivators your teachers used? How have you reacted to this new reality?

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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