Motivation Article Review : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Keys to the Might of Motivation by Anne T. White, The Education Digest, March 1997, p.62-64.

Submitted by: Paul Brownlow

Anne Fields article discussed motivating students to learn. Her wish was to have students as anxious to learn as sled dogs are to run. She cited a survey by The National Association of Elementary School Principals, which indicated that 97 percent of them felt it was important to find ways to motivate students (p.62). And, she said, community and business leaders want eager employees because they can teach them the skills which are needed to be successful.

Field listed and expounded on six areas that teachers could work on to get students more interested about their own education. They were as follows: 1. Show enthusiasm yourself. 2. Involve parents in their childs education. 3. Make learning meaningful. 4. Vary your instructional techniques. 5. Provide specific feedback. 6. Show concern.

If a teacher is not excited about their profession, it is tough for students in that class to feel motivated. A teacher needs to demonstrate a passion for the subject they are teaching. Otherwise, students will become bored and lose interest in learning and school.

I have always felt parents should feel welcome entering the school. They are the driving force behind their childs education. If they do not feel welcome, they are not going to help support their children in their educational endeavors. When this happens, the value of education is undermined by the family, which has a devastating effect on the generations to follow.

Students are always questioning why they need to know the material you are teaching about. If a teacher cannot give a reason why, maybe they should change their curriculum. People, including students, quit working on projects they do not consider meaningful. Just think for a minute if there are any projects you are doing right now that have no meaning to you. If you do, they must make you feel miserable.

With all the new technologies available in education, teachers are able to make their classrooms inviting and interesting. Nowadays, a normal teaching day can include multimedia, videos, computer assisted instruction, Internet, plus much more. This makes it easy for teacher to vary their instructional techniques. Today, few teachers stand in front of the classroom and lecture everyday, unless they like to hear themselves talk.

I found the authors fifth point about providing specific feedback relevant to my own teaching. It is so easy to just put a grade on a paper and hand it back to the student without any specific feedback. Even the general praise comments like Great Job or Good Work do not mean anything if they do not know what the great part of their work was. In order for students to improve and excel, they need specific feedback on their work. A teacher needs to point out both the good and bad parts of the assignment.

Fields last point is very important in todays classrooms. Students need to know that teachers care about them and the work they are doing. In some instances, school maybe the only place where they feel cared about. If students feel safe in school, they have a better chance to succeed on their work. A safe environment is necessary for kids to learn.

These ideas seem so basic to most of us who teach everyday. But, after I reflected on my own teaching style, I realized there were areas where I could improve. With minor adjustments and improvements, teachers can make a world of difference for the students they connect with everyday.

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2000


Hi Paul, Yes, your article is very basic, but we all need to be reminded of these factors including myself. I have not provided feedback for a long while as you plug away on your own in our cohort. I do appreciate your continuation of all the requirements even though you are at a substantial distance. You are right on track with your assignments and have taken seriously the tasks for which you have contracted. Keep up th good work and I will look forward to your research project as it nears completion. Grad Standards continue to be a hot issue throughout the state as districts struggle to figure out ways to incorporate packages into their curriculum. The music people have always been on top of it, so you should find some valid data as you continue your study. Thanks for your diligence and positive participation. Sincerely, Mary Ann

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2000

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