What's your Motivation?

A parent came to the last Student Education Planning meeting of the year with me years ago. He asked me what I have been teaching his child for the year. I started to talk to him about the curriculum we had gone over and he smiled and stopped me. He said, "My child comes home everyday and I ask what was learned at school today and everyday the reply is, nothing." He went on to tell me that he knows that I taught him something because his child loved going to school and he appreciated what I had done for his child. He joked with me about how children are and that he felt his child had learned more than he was letting on.

I was reminded of this story as I read David Warlick's blog about the responsibility of learners. He talks about how we need to have a purpose to want to learn and there are three components to education we need to look at. 

My team was talking about the levels of students during our first year flexible grouping the students for Math and Language. Mark had noted that the middle group of students have the ability to be in the upper group except they are not motivated to do so. They understand the work, they get it done when we ask, they do the bare minimum and no more, and are the first to get out of the class when it is time. The lower and upper group does all their work, they stay in a little longer to get more help, they try to do more than is expected and they show improvement. So the difference between the top and the middle is how motivated the student is. 

As I look at these experiences, they are telling me that we need to motivate the middle group. How? I am working on that, but they need to have ownership and a need to do the work. They need to see that it is a benefit to them and will be in their life. Part of the motivation should come from the use of technology in the classroom. This has brought motivation to a few students and brought them to life in our classrooms.

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