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Dr Raj Persaud

Friday magazine columnist Dr Raj Persaud is a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley hospital, London, and author of The Motivated Mind (Bantam Press) "Teachers have to be clear about understanding what motivation is really about. Positive relationships are not to be underestimated, but the acid test is whether a student wants to continue with a subject when the relationship with that particular teacher is no longer there. I once had a biology teacher who inspired me so much through the interesting way she taught the subject that I wanted to continue to study it and eventually went on to medical school.

"One thing all motivated people have in common is clarity about their goals: teachers should do their best to help students reduce their goal conflicts so they can achieve and go on achieving in that subject.

"Schools should not underestimate the power of choice. Students should be given choices in the way they study so they can see the intrinsic benefit of the task itself, and are willing to work hard to gain the benefit and take pleasure from it. They have to gain pleasure from doing a good essay per se, not from the pat on the back because they have done a good essay.

Motivated people also persist in the absence of praise."

How the Mind Works, page 21

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