Plan for Motivation
In order for students to learn, they need motivation. Throughout my many field placements, I have come across many different systems that teachers have in place to motivate students. To cover all bases, I have learned it is important to implement both individual as well as group rewards and motivators. Even though extrinsic motivation is relevant, it is also necessary to foster intrinsic motivation by making learning interesting and relevant to the students' lives. In my most recent placement, in a private school for students with autism, motivation was especially important for my students who are brand new to the school. Even though what motivates a student is very individualized, this plan can help put in place a basic framework for motivation.
Plan for Motivation
In order for any person or interdependent group to be successful, there has to be motivation occurring. If we are not motivated to do something, then we simply will not engage in the task or challenge. My first priority as an educator and mentor to the students in my classroom is to establish a personal relationship with each of my students. If I present myself a positive forceful person in their lives, they will be motivated by our relationship to please me and to meet and exceed my expectations. They will learn to value our relationship and will not want to behave or perform in any way that may compromise this relationship, such as not giving enough effort to an assignment.
In every way possible, I will hold my students accountable for their own work. I will do this through self-assessments about ten times a week on various tasks. They will rate themselves on performance in a group, amount of effort put forth, or many other important objectives. We will also display pieces of work that the students chose as their best. In order to motivate the students individually, I will put in place a competition that will have the students compete against their best scores. Whether it is in the amount of correct words read per minute or the students’ test scores, the students will be motivated to always strive for their best. They need to realize that effort plays a large role in their learning. To further assess effort and progress in the students, I will have each one create a bi-weekly goal that they want to achieve. I will continue to emphasize that these goals need to be reasonable and attainable.
The sense of community plays a large role in the success of my classroom. If we cannot work together in a community of learners, our goal as a class will fail. In order to bring our class together, we will have an ongoing class competition to fill fish bowl with marbles. Whenever I observe the class working together and exceeding the expectations of the class, the students will receive a marble. Marbles may also be given if behavior was exceptional during an assembly or if I see positive behavior and students showing each other support. The marbles will be random and meaningful so the students. When the fish bowl is 75% filled, we will have a class survey on what the reward should be. I will have a small questionnaire that will be given out with reasonable choices for the students to circle. Rewarding the group effort will also provide positive and beneficial peer pressure for some students to pull their weight. This could be a teachable moment for the students on positive and negative peer pressure; most of the time only the negative type is portrayed.
I believe that in moderation rewards can be very motivating for some students. After too many rewards are used for academic purposes, the motivation to learn becomes extrinsic rather than intrinsic. When the students are supposed to perform a certain behavior in the future without a reward the likelihood of the behavior being performed is decreased. I will incorporate rewards into my class using the whole class approach. By using this approach not only do students still get motivated intrinsically to do their best, but it also alleviates some cultural or personality clashes that the usage of rewards may create. Some collectivist cultures believe that it is prideful or boastful to get recognized individually for accomplishments. To further alleviate the embarrassment of shy students I will make sure to not publically reward them but give them subtle positive feedback and reinforcements.
Along with the group rewards, I will also have a program in place that gives rewards to individual students. Every two days the students will have the opportunity to earn a seashell through working diligently, behaving beyond the expectations, or any other behavior that I feel is worthy of a seashell. Seashells will also be given out if we are playing a game during one of our lesson. Each afternoon, after the students leave, I will go around to the students’ mailboxes and drop the amount of seashells that they earned into it. The next morning the students can come in and check for a seashell and conference with me to see why they did or did not receive a seashell. There will be a prize basket in the room and the students can cash in seashells to earn a prize or coupon. The prizes will vary in “price” as will the coupons for a free homework, lunch with me, or many other coupons. This type of tiered reward system is very effective and can also be used to teach the children simple accounting and budgeting.
If the students are not motivated they will not learn and consequently I will be failing them as an educator. We must work together as a team to motivate each other to achieve. This is why I will but in place both group rewards and individual rewards. I will constantly provide the students opportunities of self-assessment so they know what they can do to improve or why they did not earn their seashell. Motivation strategies need to be useful and fun because it is motivation that pushes students to keep going even when their day is rough.