We may be in the most lazy period of our nation's history right from the rip. Wanna be left alone? Mention work! Mentally lazy, physically lazy. Intellectually lazy!
Anyhow, I have that challenge too teaching at the prison. I have no magic formula. However, what works for me is being MOTIVATED myself! That's how I sell learning, I show an interest in it myself. Teaching I believe involved a degree of "acting." Yes, you gotta be yourself, but if you go in and approach the work and students as drugery, that's the results you'll get. If you get started right from the rip, get up front, show interest in them and the subject, it rubs off. I'm always using phrases like "this is cool stuff!" Or, "Dude, do you know how FEW people can figure out this fraction problem? YOU can!"
My guys tell me (whom I teach at the prison) I make learning fun. And that's why they stick with it. It's OK to laugh, laugh at your self, at them, lighten up the atmosphere here and there. Face it, we were students for a long time too. We knew what excited us about learning, so use it!