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Is it unprofessional for an instructor to use money as a motivator?

Occassionally in class I'll have a student that is a little more difficult to motivate than others and I'll begin to mention what type of capitol they can earn in our profession. Is this wrong ?

Hello Robert

Personally I think it is perfectly professional. I mean how many people can you see that do not care about money? I do love my job as a being an educator but in fact, I just couldn't work for free. So I guess letting your students know about the better life that is waiting for them is a great way to motivate them.

Hi Omer,
We all work for some level of income, this is a reality of life. Our students are training just as we did to earn a living at something they want to do. For us to share with them the potential they have to earn a good living doing this type of work is a good motivator.
What are some ways you use to show your students "about the better life" that is waiting for them?

Hello Gary,

I could put my students in two major groups. Majority of my student are already working in IT department in some companies. There isn't anything to show them really. They already have their salaries and they know what to expect if they success in their current training.

But the second group of students I have are trying to start their careers. Unfortunately most of them do not really have a clear picture of their future. I explain if they successfully finish their training they will have a title, they will be professionals. To be more specific I also mention the avarage salaries based on experience and the location. At the end of the day, "money" is always one of the top priorities for adults.

Hello Robert,

Sure...why not use it? You do need to be careful about it though in my opinion. I dont think you want to use that as your key motivator at all times because the money they make is something that you cannot ultimately dictate for them and you want to avoid any false expectations of income. As im sure you are aware, some people will do much better financially in their profession than others will given the same experience and training.

From time to time i will mention money in class and it usually does lead to some raised eyebrows, but I tend to keep the motivation to more of a level of personal acheivement.

Hi, Mentioning money is not only a good motivatior it is one of the signs of success in our country. One of the outcomes of learning is to enhance knowledge and increase skills that we can offer for a price. Being realistic and using current salary data is another tool to support the use of money. When talking about careers/work we talk with great pride of a raise or good salary and good benefits. All have to do with money.

Hi Vicky,
Right on. Money is the basis for why we all go to school or enter a training program. We are trying to better our lives. By knowing our earning potential we can see why we are working so hard to complete the training. That is motivation in and of itself, not to mention the reward of enjoying what we are doing.

In the previous forum, I mentioned that I encourage students to bring computers to fix or to troubleshoot. To expand the topic a bit more, I not only go over the problems and symptoms of the computer, but I also discuss with them what the job is worth or the fees for fixing such problem. I tried to interact with my students with real life situation. As an instructor, I also value ethics. I encourage my students to charge their family or friends of the service that we have done to the computer, a minimal fee, compared to the real cost of repair. I mentioned to them that the benefits are mutual. As they learned how to fix the computer, to how friend/family save money. Also, not only this help them growth experienced, but in the long run, they will get more people by word of mouth. So, even they get a job, they might have some site-job in the future. Nothing better than to make extra money on spare time !!! :p

Hi Albert,
I congratulate you on your approach to teaching your students about "real" life. The soft skills (getting along with others, being on time,being ethical, etc.) are as important as the specfic skills needed for career success. You are helping your students to acquire them both. You are also inspiring them about their future but showing them how they can offer services both on the job site as well as their homes.

Often, I have done the same thing. When students complain about how exhausted they are, thinking they can use that as an excuse as to why they could not complete an assignment; I respond, "Oh yeah, well there is nothing more exhausting than poverty!" That usually works quite effectively as a motivator.

I agree, I think if a student's motivation is lagging, pointing out the result of completing the course would be a certain income level is a great way to connect the current assignment with the overall goal of a better life.

Hi Jean,
To keep the students in a forward focus mode is what will keep them in school. They need to be reminded of what the outcomes are and that will help them to get through the current requirements.

Hello Robert,
Great topic! I do not think this is wrong. I feel that since we deal with adult learners, that probably have low paying jobs to get them through school, perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel is the opportunity for better pay that their formal education can help them achieve. I have on more than one occasion had a student tell me that they were going to drop out due to family / work situation. We talk about how the education they are receiving will help vs. not completing the education, and staying in the rut they have been stuck in. Ultimately bettering their own situation and the earning power usually plays a major roll in them sticking it out.

Hi James,
Good comments about how to encourage students to complete their training program. If we can get them to see the personal opportunities that go with completing their schooling they generally will stay. I am sure that you have been able to retain a number of students through your approach. Keep up the good work.

For many students, they are attending college to better themselves and provide more for their families. Money is a great motivator. It's the carrot that will ultimately get them off welfare, to move to a safer neighborhood, to allow their children to have more activities. However, we also focus on personal development and growth, as without that, they wont get the positions that will pay them the money they need to do all of the above.

Hi Suzanne,
I like hearing about your efforts in the "soft skills" or "life skills" areas as well as the skill specific areas. 9 out of 10 jobs research tells us are lost as a result of the lack of life skills. If employees are neat, clean, come to work on time and get along well with others, their skills will be of not value. It takes both of the skill areas to earn the $$$$$$$$ they want. Good job!

The best technique I have seen to show students "the better life" waiting for them is having successful people from that industry share experiences and what they went through in order to "make it."

Hi Matthew,
I commend you for helping the students with a vision for the future. Sometimes they bog down in the daily class routine and forget that they need to be looking for the end result of career expertise that will help them have a good life.
Well done.

No, one of the major motivators for some people to enter into a profession is bettering their position in life. To most of todays people that translates to more money.

I use money as a motivator quie often. When a student completes a job, I'll tell them how much they would have made. It acts as a encouragement and seems to create more interest in the material when they see how rewarding it can be.

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