Motivation + trust = learning
Monday, March 02, 2015
As March begins, we are all feeling the need for spring break. In the Midwest, we are in need of a thaw and for the students to go outside and run.
The signs of the season tell us that we have surpassed the middle mark of our school year. By now, the goals you set at the beginning of the year are starting to show signs of either being met or needing to be adjusted. You have had time to evaluate your students, and you can plan for how you will spend the time that is left for educational success.
At this point of the school year, you really know your students and have built a trust with each of them. You can read your students' body language and their moods. You know when a student is or is not ready to learn. When they are not interested in learning, you have to pull out all of your best motivational techniques, applying the formula of motivation + trust = learning.
Motivation is communicating to the student that you believe he has the ability to do and learn whatever you are teaching. This is done with words of affirmation, a demeanor that is calm yet expresses excitement about learning, and positive facial expressions that include smiling and looking directly into the eyes of the student.
It is essential to provide ongoing encouragement throughout the lesson. Reflect to the student concrete examples of his learning as it occurs. Encourage the student to reflect back to you what he understands and what he needs further help to comprehend.
The student and teacher must work together to decide when to stop a lesson and continue another time, making sure to stop when the student is demonstrating learning and not confusion. This will build opportunities for trust.
When students trust their teacher, they are willing to attempt to learn something they perceive to be difficult. As teachers, do we ask our students, "Do you trust me?" If we allow students to engage with us in dialogue about what they need to be able to trust us, we will learn what changes we could make that would affect our teaching and their learning.
Resiliency is developed in students as they trust their teacher and risk learning. Carol Ann Tomlinson discusses the importance of affirmation, opportunity and support as components of resiliency. She expressed the importance of affirming students to be able to do work that they deem to be too hard.
By stating confidence in the student's ability to do work that is difficult, the teacher is expressing confidence in the student's ability to learn. When the student accomplishes the work (independently or with guidance), the student then builds a memory of success.
The teacher can affirm that the student accomplished what he thought he could not do. The student will more likely trust the teacher in another opportunity when work is difficult.
Learning is accomplished when a students trust a teacher to guide them to new knowledge. The teacher must use effective motivational techniques to engage the students and keep them attentive throughout the lesson.
The result is an accomplishment for both, as the teacher's greatest goal is for her student to learn and grow, and the student's chief goal is to accomplish what the teacher is teaching and to learn.
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