You are here


The Secret to Student Motivation and Success

March 2022 | 112 pages | Corwin

Understand Where Your Students are Coming From!

The factors that influence students’ beliefs and attitudes about the value of formal education are complex and expansive, especially with respect to marginalized student populations. Motivational speaker and master storyteller Dr. Tommie Mabry builds from personal experiences as a child labeled “at risk” to promote empathy and understanding in motivating the success of youth.

Written in a clear style, this practical guide leads educators through shifting student perspectives on the value and benefits of formal schooling, beginning first with teacher self-examination of their own perspectives.  Perspective is a holistic construct that encompasses mindset, emotions, effort, and outcomes. Layered with effective methodologies, chapters address a range o­f critical topics important to this view of perspective, including extensive information on

  • Building positive relationships
  • Drawing on educators’ empathic capacity
  • Engendering trust
  • Practicing culturally responsive teaching
  • Igniting students’ passions

Written with an emphasis on marginalized students and adverse childhood experiences, the concepts and strategies are applicable across all student populations.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments
About the Author
Chapter 1: Shut Up and Listen…Actively: Value the Voices of Others
Chapter 2: Should Is a Futile Word: Build Your Students Up With Principles
Chapter 3: Re-Examine Yourself: Dig Deep and Go Beyond Biases
Chapter 4: Know Their Strengths: Develop Positive Attitudes and Student Growth
Chapter 5: Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understand and Respond to Their Whys
Chapter 6: Show Them You Care: Create Safe Spaces and Build Trust
Chapter 7: Get Them Moving: Engage Them with Kinesthetic and Collaborative Learning
Chapter 8: Your Students Will Teach You: Connect With Culturally Responsive Teaching
Chapter 9: Dreams Lead to Education: Capture Their Passions in Your Lessons
Chapter 10: What Shaped My Perspective?: Your Students Need You

In this important new book, Mabry shows us how student voices, and listening to the wisdom they often contain, can help schools to find ways to boost student motivation and engagement in learning.  Drawing on his vast experience with schools he reminds us that in order to make schools more responsive to student needs we must have the courage to incorporate the views of our primary constituents - students, to create the schools we need and that our students deserve.  

Pedro A. Noguera
Dean of USC Rossier School of Education

I am extremely excited about the prospects for this book and the impact it will make on children via their teachers. Dr. Mabry is uniquely qualified to write Perspective because “he is Perspectives.” Dr. Mabry’s personal story is extraordinarily profound. He was one of those so called “at risk” youth he writes and speaks about. In hindsight, it is clear and evident that Dr. Mabry was brilliant as a youth but his brilliance was simply misplaced. In Perspective: The Secret to Student Motivation and Success, Dr. Mabry provides educators with a blueprint for reaching difficult to reach children. Although Perspective is well researched, Dr. Mabry knows the unmotivated child he has written about intimately because he epitomizes that child – a child who went from “At Risk” Tommie Mabry to Tommie Mabry, Ph. D.

Baruti Kafele
Author of The Equity and Social Justice Education 50

Tommie Mabry

Dr. Tommie Mabry grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. With a lack of positive role models, Dr. Mabry turned to life in the streets. He was expelled from numerous schools and by age 11, he was arrested for breaking and entering. Things started to change for Dr. Mabry when he joined an AAU basketball team that traveled around the world. Although he was shot in the foot during his senior year, he received a full basketball scholarship to Missouri State University West Plains. After completing his undergraduate studies at Tougaloo College, he taught school in the same district where he had been expelled numerous times. Subsequently he has... More About Author

For instructors

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781071856154

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.