As a virtual K-8 school, our goal is to insure each student is successful by developing individual programs that match the students learning style and current level of achievement. So often, theyhave feelings of helplessness. They believe that they are incapable of learning. No amounts of extrinsic rewards are going to overcome their perception.
What will motivate them is success. Success breeds success. Slowly their perception of being a loser or dumb falls away; they get excited about learning. We actually have the student chart their progress. Seeing their improvement becomes a further motivation. And, perhaps this is why we have seen as much as 2+ years growth in just one school year! Individualized learning programs make it far easier for each student, parent and teacher.