Motivated Minds Raising Children to Love Learning

Deborah Stipek, Ph.D., and Kathy Seal

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

288 Pages



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How do we show our children the great joys of learning? How do we get them to want more? In the past, parents and educators have offered rewards and threatened punishment. More recently, they have focused on building self-esteem, but the latest research shows that this effort hasn't had a measurable impact in the classroom—and can even discourage children from learning. Combining years of experience in schools with a thorough survey of current research, Deborah Stipek and Kathy Seal offer this fresh and practical guide to what really works. Motivated Minds explains how close relationships with adults and feelings of competency and autonomy make children want to learn.

The authors describe how to create an intellectually enriching environment for children that will enhance their school experience. They offer practical advice on promoting enthusiasm, academic risk-taking, and persistence, and they give down-to-earth tips for managing difficult issues—praise, grades, rewards, competition, and performance pressure—that inevitably arise for schoolchildren and parents.


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Have you ever said anything like this to your child?
"I know you're in the middle of building your block castle, but you'll just have to leave it for now and finish when we get back from the store."


"Will you please get off the Internet so someone else in this house can use the phone? I don't care if you haven't read everything there is on the Web about polar bears."

If comments like these sound familiar, it means you've seen your child intensely absorbed in work that demands brainpower. It means you've witnessed self-motivation up close and your
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  • Deborah Stipek, Ph.D., and Kathy Seal

  • Deborah Stipek, Ph.D., is the dean of the School of Education at Stanford University. An internationally recognized scholar who has published more than seventy articles and books on motivation, she was, for a decade, the director of UCLA's Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School, known worldwide as a laboratory for innovation in motivation. She lives in Palo Alto.

    Kathy Seal is a journalist and author who has written about education and psychology since 1985 for such publications as The New York Times, Family Circle, and Parents. She and her family live in Santa Monica.