Tagged “Motivation”

Kevin Parr

Keep Students and Parents (and Teachers) Initiative Fatigue Free

Last week I entered a meeting feeling pretty good about my teaching life. I was sticking with my goals for the year, trying some new things outside my comfort zone, and achieving some success doing them, but soon my head was fixed on all of the things I wasn't doing. All I could think about were the things other people were doing or telling me I should be doing that I wasn't. I was feeling inadequate and I just couldn't shake it. I was, as ASCD CEO and Executive Director Dr. Gene R. Carter recently phrased it on a panel discussing developing teacher leaders, experiencing "initiative fatigue." There was too much, too fast, and with too little time for me to evaluate or prioritize the ideas coming at me, let alone do anything with them. I was overwhelmed and anxious. I was lost.

Assuming that I was not the only teacher in the room feeling that way (and I doubt I was), what was the collective effect of those feelings having on the atmosphere of our school? Were all of these well-intentioned ideas empowering teachers or disenfranchising them?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Combining Intrinsic Motivation and Student Autonomy for Sustained Success

Post written by Matthew J. Weyers

Two years ago, prompted by a blog post that asked, "How many student assignments end up in the recycling bin within minutes of students seeing the grade?," I began thinking about the role of rewards and social interaction in education. The post's question hit close to home, and made me reflect deeply on my current practice. I decided to evaluate my 6th grade language arts and science courses through the lens of two questions: Beyond a letter grade, what motivation do my students have to do well? and, If the primary motivation is extrinsic, how can I make the project more intrinsically motivating? By the end of the school year, I had a three-pronged answer. I had to

  • Relinquish a certain level of control and place added responsibility on students.
  • Allow students to produce work for an authentic audience (meaning not just for me).
  • Give students autonomous opportunities to collaborate on their work.

Here are some of the practices I'm using to hit these three targets.

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Barry Saide

Moment on the Couch

I remember the moment clearly when it clicked for me. I was sitting on the couch with my three-year-old two weeks ago. We were both happy. Him watching Toy Story 2. Me sitting next to him. He reached out and grabbed my hand. For the next three minutes, he held it. We didn't say a word. We didn't need to. We just shared a blanket, enjoying each others' proximity and what was on TV.

As an often nervous parent, I am prone to overanalyzing situations involving my children. I will run through a litany of questions, chief among them: Are they happy? Are they safe? Am I doing the right thing as a parent? These, and a multitude of other questions, often blind me to what's in front of me—two healthy, happy little boys, eager to experiment with the world and all the things within it. It is my neurosis that gets in their way.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

2013 Best of the Blog: 15–11

In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for success in higher education, employment, and civic life.

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Dianna Minor

Maintaining Resilience in Education

Resilience in education is best developed in the early grades when students' interests are keen and easiest to develop. This is often the time when a teacher can best motivate a child to believe she can do anything if she tries and puts forth her best efforts. Resilience is the ongoing process of building a child's motivation and drive to excel when met with difficult or challenging circumstances. It is that intrinsic force which guides a child's thinking and produces a "can do" attitude.

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Klea Scharberg

Motivation, Attention, Memory, Cognition, and Action

Human beings are born to learn. During the last few decades, developmental science has exploded with discoveries of how, specifically, learning happens. This provides us with an unprecedented window into children's minds: how and when they begin to think, perceive, understand, and apply knowledge.

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Ashanti Foster

PEACE at Oxon Hill Middle School

As kings and queens arrive at school, they are greeted with warm smiles, hand shakes, and student-initiated hugs to staff members and one another. They can't wait to get to school! It is clear that PEACE (Positive Energy Activates Constant Elevation) lives here. "Peace King, Peace Queen." Here it seems that positive energy activates constant elevation.

Situated in Ft. Washington, Md., is Oxon Hill Middle School, where the campus serves kings and queens that represent varied family lifestyles. Some students arrive in wheelchairs, others with limited English proficiency. In order to promote relationship building, creative instructional and support practices are in place so that every student and every parent knows how important their success is to the school. The way in which adult educators acknowledge students' capacity to learn and grow is the fabric of improving teaching and learning. Teachers greet students at the door each module, each day. Parents visit the school on an open door policy and students know exactly what to do and where to go if they have a concern. Each staff member addresses the work they do as an act of service and for that reason student learning is the motivation in all they do.

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Laura Varlas

Improving Motivation and Achievement Through a Growth Mindset

What turns kids off to learning? Carol Dweck, Stanford researcher and author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, says how students think of themselves as learners creates mental environments that nurture or stifle effort when approaching different tasks. These psychological environments, or mindsets, are shaped by messages students receive from adults, peers, and themselves. Through her research, Dweck has uncovered two types of mindsets—fixed and growth—and three rules about how fixed and growth mindsets cue motivation, effort, and response to setbacks.

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Klea Scharberg

Insights on Resilience and Learning

Resilience and Learning - ASCD Educational LeadershipSeptember 2013 issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership addresses what educators can do to help students persevere in the face of challenges.

In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer shares the stories of Maya and Malala, two women of different generations and cultures who embody what it means to be resilient. After reading the column, what do you think can be done to give students the strength, the effort, and the knowledge to persist in the face of difficulty and adversity?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

The Best Education Ideas in the World: Adventures on the Frontiers of Learning

ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

Post written by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, a Medill School of Journalism candidate at Northwestern University concentrating in finance reporting and interactive publishing and business reporter for MediaTec Publishing in Chicago, Ill.

Gary Stager has taught in classrooms all around the world, and he said the common thread that binds exceptional learning experiences together is hands-on project-based learning.

In his 2013 ASCD Annual Conference session, "The Best Education Ideas in the World: Adventures on the Frontiers of Learning," Stager showed attendees videos of elementary school students building robots and solving complex engineering problems while appearing to enjoy the process.

The audience members smiled and clapped as they watched a young Australian student use nothing but pipe cleaners, LEGO blocks, and her brain to build a toy ballerina that spun. In his presentation, Stager theorized that this type of project-based learning can propel modern curricula because students use critical thinking in multiple disciplines to create the end result.

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