Keeping a room full of students interested in anything can be tough, but using intrinsic motivation in education can make a big difference. Tapping into students’ interests and making the information relevant can help them learn more, and better. But is it possible to keep your whole class intrinsically motivated? How can a teacher create a positive learning environment based on these principles? The challenge may be more than our educators have bargained for.
So what exactly is intrinsic motivation? It is an internal drive to pursue a certain subject or activity for its own sake, without expectation of external rewards. Intrinsically motivated students enjoy learning a subject because it interests them and they feel that it is relevant. They can also be driven by a sense of accomplishment at mastering a difficult task or subject.
A failing school district gets tens of millions of dollars from a popular tech tycoon. It sounds like the opening scene of a Cinderella story blockbuster movie. But for the Newark school district, it was a dream come true in 2010 when Mark Zuckerberg, owner and founder of Facebook, announced that he was donating 100 million dollars to save the city’s failing schools. What could be bad about poor neighborhoods improving their public education system with the help of some generous funds? Well, money isn’t everything. Making sure that money is used in the best way possible is much more complicated than it sounds.
From administrators to department heads to teachers, we can all benefit from sharing digital resources. The abundance of online lesson plans and classroom resources available is revolutionizing the lesson preparation process. It’s no secret that good teachers spend many hours out of school grading papers, preparing lessons, speaking to parents and more. So why shouldn’t the global teaching community come together to share resources, thus saving valuable time and letting students all over the world benefit from great ideas? Maybe because things aren’t as simple as they sound. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
As 2016 edges closer so does a change of seismic proportions for many high school students and parents. Rippling through lives of not only students and their parents, but also education professionals across the country, this change, of course, is the redesigned SAT that will be given for the first time this spring.
The SAT has gone through many changes in its time as the benchmark for entrance to colleges and universities. However it’s popularity has been waning, and it’s mission blurred. The SAT was initially developed to provide information about a student’s potential, or aptitude, as in the name Scholastic Aptitude Test. Over the years, however, as scores reflect expensive test preparation and privilege, rather than natural abilities or educational background, many oppose the use of standardized tests as a bloated system requiring months of memorizing tricks and tips to get top scores.
Before the ‘80’s, it was the rare family that openly discussed sexual orientation. I remember universal shock when it was discovered that “The Village People” singers, best known for their hit song which is still sung today at baseball games, “At the YMCA”, were all homosexual. Even Liberace was never openly recognized as homosexual.
In my elementary school in the early ‘70’s, there was one girl who kept a very short haircut and had rough and tough interests. It never occurred to any of us that she might be a lesbian-the term was not known. Rather, she was a “tomboy”-a girl who was boyish.
Let’s face it. Even the youngest children can search their pressing questions on a computer. Good ol’ Google has made knowledge acquisition as easy as click, click, click. In today’s digital and technological environment, with our techy students, the future of the teacher-run classroom might be on its way to becoming obsolete. Or is it?
Student behavior is notoriously more challenging for the educator. Students quickly bore in the traditional classroom where the teacher is the lead and disseminator of information. For students used to quick changing, full color images flying at them from their iPads, frontal teaching no longer flies for their acquirement of knowledge.
A recent discussion with a friend shed light on the importance of a good school principal. Deciding where to live, she and her husband went to visit a potential school for their child. Her husband was interested in the curriculum. She, on the other hand, paid close attention to the principal’s relationship to the students.
Was there a healthy balance of warmth and respect? Did students feel that the principal was there to help or just discipline? Were students clear about how they should behave and what they should be doing at any given time? The mother rightfully felt that the best curriculum without the structure and warmth in place would not lead to student achievement.
As educators, we all know that the most successful students are those where parents and teachers work hand in hand for the betterment of the pupil. Teachers can only do so much without parents’ cooperation and participation.
Therefore, I read with interest some recent studies as to the best actions parents can take to help their children succeed in school. The findings were surprising.
A study from the University of Essex in England based on statistics from 15,500 pupils between the years 2004 through 2010 found that girls were most likely to remain in school, not become prematurely pregnant, earn better wages, and partner with successful men if they had mothers who nagged them. Yes, you read that right! Pushy mothers who expected their daughters to go to college succeeded in dropping the teenage pregnancy rate by four percent which led to other positive milestones.
When I was in school, give or take some forty years ago, there were perhaps three “fat” kids out of a class of 250 people. I am friends with one of them on Facebook. Today, he is a handsome man who still refers to himself as “the fat kid”. His childhood stigma never left him even though his weight has.
He once posted on Facebook a group picture taken in elementary school. True, he was much heavier than the rest of the kids in the picture. However, it struck me that today he would be considered “average”.
A recent study published in the journal Child Development has taken educators and psychologists by storm. Following a ten year study of the behavioral habits of 184 subjects, researchers found that those students considered “cool” in Jr. High School, ended up with statistically higher dysfunctions by the age of twenty-three.
At thirteen, these “popular” students and “cool kids” often had older friends, were the first invited to parties and lived “beyond their years”. This means that they partook in pseudo-mature behaviors such as abusing alcohol and drugs and risky sexual activities.
Have you ever been in the middle of an important conversation and someone checks their iPhone? Or, you are speaking with a friend and a third party walks up. You are not introduced to the newcomer and your friend goes off and has a conversation with her leaving you by yourself. Perhaps, you are sitting in a room of associates and one person specifically calls the name of some others to sit together for lunch overlooking your presence.
There are many examples of inconsiderate behavior. What they all have in common is that you are left feeling invisible, unimportant and hurt. Every class has invisible students. They tend, at least for a while, to cause no trouble, be quiet, introverted or have a difficult home life. The teacher may not even remember their name because they fly under the radar while others are grabbing attention.
Recently, I watched on Facebook a video about teens teaching elderly people how to use a computer. It is both humorous and heartwarming. For me, it was also a tear jerker.
This short documentary demonstrates that young and old not only can bond but also enjoy what each has to offer.
All too often these days, the younger generation do not feel a purpose in their lives. Interestingly, this feeling is the same with the elderly. Matching the two groups together fills voids in both of their lives.
We at Hertz Furniture are pleased to announce the recipient of our 21st Century Learning Commons Grant. Crossroads Academy of Kansas City has been awarded a furnished learning commons valued at up to $50,000. The prize includes furniture, design, delivery and installation.
The grant was open to all US charter schools opening a new school in 2015 or 2016 whose state association participates with BuyQ (formerly known as Momentum Ventures). BuyQ helps charter schools reduce operational costs through group purchasing contracts for products and services. Applications for the grant were accepted from April 1 to May 16, 2015.
Harris Rosen, the wealthy business owner of Rosen Hotels and Resorts, decided 21 years ago to invest both financially and with his time in a failing neighborhood to see if a significant investment in education would change the future of residents.
Decades later, Tangelo Park is a thriving community which has gone from being crime and drug ridden to over 450 students receiving full college scholarships from Mr. Rosen personally.
When Rosen began his education campaign in this neighborhood of 3000, almost half of the students were drop outs. Two decades and his $11 million dollar investment later, nearly all high school graduates continue on to higher education.
Last week we suggested that now is a great time to get control over your work space. Now we are going to share some step-by-step suggestions on how to organize your office.
1. To get started, first clear away as much unwanted and unneeded stuff as possible. Choose an area where to begin. Is your bookshelf overflowing with outdated resource books? Are magazines piling up in corners? Throw out whatever you can. If you think something might be useful, label a boxes “give away” or “store” and then DO IT. The faster you move things on and out, the faster your office will be a functioning space.