“FOCUS” – [Especially you boys at the back] by @YouthConnected_

Striking the right chord

It’s a stressful time of year for both students and teachers alike. This stress, coupled with teenage hormones – and teachers frantic worry of a) their students results and b) if they will have a job after said results; is a cocktail of combustable emotions.

Fortunately for the teachers; gin is freely available at the off license – fortunately for the students…oh. Poor students.

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Adam Watts and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

Do you have a blog post which you are proud of? Submit your blog post for reblogging on UKEdChat.com by clicking here.

Anyway – if just put together a short piece of knowledge on motivation and incentives. In my own personal experience I’ve found striking the right chord with what motivates the young people I work with is an effective way to keep most behavioural issues at bay – which is of course much more preferable to having the headache of dishing out the discipline. Hope you find it of some use yourself!

Extrinstic Motivators (Incentives)

Extrinsic motivators come from outside of the individual and can be achieved in the success of a task; such as a bonus at work, house points in a school, praise and good grades etc. There is a down side of using such motivational techniques, although for short term targets it is very effective.

Negative effects; turn school tasks into undesirable means of obtaining a reward, negates intrinsic motivation (over-justification), only effective on short term targets.

Knowledge of Results.

The theory:

Receiving feedback promptly is a powerful motivator, especially when the news is good! Skinner, not Frank, but rather the behavioural psychologist, suggests that students should have immediate knowledge of results for the results to mean anything to the student.

However, very importantly, as powerful a motivator this is when the news is good, it is equally as devastating if the news is constantly bad. You can imagine that a student would get pretty bored of throwing his/her hand up if every time the response to their answer was “No, that’s not a good answer, you have not learned a thing”. If used effectively this can also assist in the development of intrinsic motivation.

In Practice:
In the classroom this can really help to raise self esteem and motivation, especially with shy students and/or pupils with S.E.N. When asking questions to the class, start off with basic questions!

 (quite often a teacher will ask a question…no hands go up…re-phrases the question…no hands go up…seems puzzled, simplifies question…still no hands…”OHH COME ON…YOU MUST KNOW THIS”…pretty rude and un-motivating eh?!)

Asking basic questions, questions you know your weakest students will know the answer to, so when you ask them…they give you the answer…you say “YES WONDERFUL ANSWER”, and they’re left feeling pleased as pudding. Get them used to the feeling of being right, and guess what…they like it!!!

Step it up a notch, yeah sure they’ll get some wrong, but they’re raising their hand. Giving it a go, and feeling more confident.

Reward and Punishment.

The Theory:

Hurlock is the name, and 1925 was the year, and yes times have changed but children haven’t really…nope, I’ve looked at some pictures, and children in 1925 look just the same. It was Hurlocks experiment which categorically suggests that praise, is a hugely more effect method of motivation than punishment or ignoring.

Brophy (1981) identifies some key aspects of teacher praise as well as offering some criticisms; so here come the do’s and don’ts…

In Practice:
Praise should be:

 – Timely (Immediate = most effective…don’t ‘come back to that’ just praise it.)

 – Simple (one thing at a time)

 – Direct

 – Unambiguous

 – Put across naturally

It shouldn’t:

 – Sound like you’re rewarding a pet for not scratching the sofa

 – Be rewarding compliance (ideally should be for good learning)

 – Come so freely that low standards are thought to be acceptable

All the best.

Image credit: By Mark Hunter on Flickr under (CC BY 2.0)

About @Chilledu 2303 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat. “Mastery is an unattainable illusion”

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