Thinking about Thinking...
Keys to Motivation: Ownership
Teach the children the framework within which they can "own" the classroom. My kindergarten children run our entire morning and afternoon meetings by the beginning of November. They know their jobs and they know the routine. I sit back and watch, enjoying the new ways they learn by working with each other and not depending on me to guide every detail, answer every question or solve every problem. Independence, critical thinking, coooperation and collaboration, excitement! LEARNING!!! My morning students asked me this week for the keys to the building and offered for me to sleep in while they run the class! I'm considering it. LOL - JK
Along the same empowering lines of thinking, let them "own" the work. Teach the concept, not the details. Demonstrate and explain when it is absolutely necessary to stay within the lines, but let them "color outside the lines" or "think out of the box" on their own, putting their own spin on the work, based on their own prior knowledge or curiosity. It's never wrong if they are learning something...even when it's not what we expected them to be learning. The thinking is what really matters! Provoke the inquisitive nature and the desire to create that children are blessed with! They naturally come equipped to learn...let them go for it. Don't get hung up on "doing it right" and stop giving them the answers! Let them read their writing to you, let them explain their process to you...allow them to share what is going on in their minds as they explore, and allow them to change it to fit how they perceive it should be - you may learn something new!
It's their process and their outcome...Let Them Feel It!
Be A Responsible Educator: Know the Difference and Choose the One that is In The Best Interest of Your Students, Long-Term
(IF you are serious about supporting
positive changes for your students.)
What is an Extrinsic Motivator?
Yes, Even the Grade is an Extrinsic Motivator!
What does all of this mean? Well, we have been using extrinsic motivators in the classroom (and at work and at home) for many, many years...ever since behavior theories in education were based on animal behaviors in the lab - without the more current knowledge of human behavior and neurological functions. This is the motivation that we are used to and have been comfortable with..."dangle the carrot;" "offer a reward;" "give a bonus;" "incent them"...
This is also the behavior that creates the response, "What will you give me if I get an A on my report card?"
It starts at a very young age, when, like a puppy in the house-training stage, we incentivize our children with a reward for all of those kind person/good citizen behaviors we expect them to strive for. "Sit puppy! Good girl, have a dog biscuit!" Similar to: "Your teacher told me that you are so polite in school and that your behavior clip never moves down. Let's go out for pizza and celebrate!"
What is an Intrinsic Motivator?
Intrinsic Motivation is the simple one! What is it?
Intrinsic Motivation is the motivator that comes from within. It's the "feel good about myself" motivator. Remember the song, "It's the Climb"? Intrinsic motivation involves enjoying the process, the experience, and not waiting for an outcome in order to be happy about what we are doing. This is performing acts of kindness, this is doing a job or a school assignment because you are interested in it and excited to be participating in it; this is finding something that captures you about a content area you aren't generally interested in and embracing the work for the enjoyment of pursuing that interest.
The Rub: Extrinsic Motivators Extinguish Intrinsic Motivation
Colleen T. Mantell, M.S., Ed.