In coaching Rhonda’s online course, I’ve also purchased her new book. I’ve been reading chapter 1 and going along with the course’s assignment, so I can better give feedback to students. Much of it (so far) is review for me because of all of the ALL-ED courses I’ve taken with Rhonda at Math for America (probably part of why she asked me to coach!).
In chapter 1, I’ve been reading about motivation: both the ten facts about it and the “ABCs+M” of it. Here’s one video that I think should tell you why we should NEVER award “merit” pay for teachers who increase their student scores.
In the ten facts about motivation, the first one is dispelling the myth that motivation is a personality trait – something you either have or DON’T have. I wish I could convey this one better to my colleagues. So often, I hear my co-workers complain about “unmotivated students” and how their students don’t do anything for themselves – and I wonder to myself “Do your students feel autonomous? Do they feel a sense of belonging? Do they feel competent? What’s their self-efficacy for this task like? Do they find it to be a meaningful use of their time and energy?” If not, NO WONDER they’re not motivated! Sadly, rather than being self-reflective, I think sometimes teachers just feel too overwhelmed with the day-to-day and don’t question these premised – What can we do as educators to create an environment where our students feel ABC+M of motivation daily?
I think it’s funny, actually, because we often say that we can’t motivate anyone to do something, and while I think that’s true in many respects, I think that if we create opportunities for students to feel autonomous, belonging, competence, and meaning in the work we ask them to do, we create an environment that is conducive to motivation!