How will you end your year- Roaring like a Lion or quietly like a lamb?
As I was driving home from church yesterday thinking about the chores around the house I had been promising my wife I would do and finding reasons to put them off, I was hit by the idea of motivation. This went around so many topics like personal motivation for me to stop putting off getting in better shape. I know I feel and look better when I do it, I just haven't found the motivation to do it consistently. I thought about the things around the house and why I wasn't doing them sooner was because it was easier not to, or I found other things to occupy my time. I thought about school and how we use grades. We often tie grades to motivation. What are grades, but a measure of learning. How are grades used - as determining factor for class rank, scholarships, and future opportunities. We aren't going to get into a long drawn out discussion of grades, but this was another example of the idea of motivation.
What motivates us and students to learn, and do? I love to learn not because I will get a better grade, or a pay raise, although that would be nice. I learn because I want to be able to do something. I watched a couple youtube videos about installing an over the range microwave because I am a visual learner and the written instructions for the installation template sucked. Even after the video and using the tips I learned, I still had to redrill a couple of the top holes as my measurements were off- stupid useless template. Couldn't have been operator error. But I would not have looked up this video, read through a manual, or done any of the prep work or learning for this project if I wasn't going to use it almost immediately. I was motivated to know the best ways to install a microwave so I researched it before I attempted it. I also learned through the process and figured out some things to do better next time- hopefully there will never be a next time.
This week's chat is going to be about motivation. What motivates you, how do you help others find their motivation, what motivates students, and how can we use these factors to create better learning environments for all students?
Q1 What do you enjoy doing? Why? What about that activity is enjoyable or fulfilling?
Q2 What do you enjoy learning abut? Why?
Q3 What motivates you to learn new things or try or do new things?
Q4 What areas of life do you need help finding motivation?
Q5 What motivates students? How do you know?
Q6 How do you motivate students? How do you know you are successful?
Q7 When students complete tasks are they creating products for you the teacher or the world? What impact can the intended audience have on motivation?
Q8 How do you use grades, points, scores? Are they seen as the goal of learning, or just one aspect of the learning process that is focused on continual growth?
Q9 How do you tap into student interests to create engaging lessons for students?
When we were kids we used to play outside for hours. I was talking to a colleague the other day about how we used to shovel the driveway and play basketball well after dark, so much so that my dad installed a floodlight to illuminate our court. We played what we called night games, kick the can, flashlight tag, hide and seek. We rounded up the neighborhood kids to play baseball and football in our designated yards, there were some that were better for baseball and others for football. We would have Tecmo Bowl tournaments in the neighbor’s basement for hours on rainy days, and yes even sunny days.
Growing up we played, had fun and enjoyed the sweet satisfaction of victory and the bragging rights that came with winning, and learned to deal with the disappointment of losing. Games taught me many life lessons and I continue to see their value in education. I am a huge fan of the work of Michael Matera and his book Explore Like A Pirate. I work with a colleague Jon Spike who is a proponent of using games in the classroom and helped me implement my first BreakoutEdu. Reuben Hoffman shared his version of Monopoly to help students understand stratification in society that I used in my sociology class. I created a baseball review game on my smartboard with moving baserunners and a scoreboard based on a review game I learned from Tim Cannon in a class I took in my 2nd year of teaching.
Education should be FUN! Yes education should be fun, engaging and interesting for students. If we can leverage games to create a fun learning environment. Let’s explore games!