Motivation Matters Says Goodbye

When Kevin started Motivation Matters, it was with the idea that this blog would be a helpful resource for educators, parents, and community members interested in how to spark the interest of students and improve education—something I hope we've been able to accomplish over the past two and a half years. We've talked at length here about the importance of creativity and innovation, whether or not incentives lead to higher student motivation, how grades and GPA factor into students' desire to achieve, and much more. This blog has provided me and Kevin with an outlet to discuss the motivation ...


Musical Motivation

A group of kindergarteners in Schuylkill Valley Elementary School in Pennsylvania are doing something interesting this year—they're all learning how to play the violin. The hope is that the students will show how playing a musical instrument could boost academic performance and cognitive ability. We talk a lot here at Motivation Matters about the importance of using classes in music and art to increase students' motivation levels, and this study aims to draw a direct research-based connection between the two. At least one other study (PDF) has found a relationship between students' motivation levels and the performing arts, according ...


Motivated to Volunteer

Although I didn't have a chance to volunteer on MLK Day this year (I spent the day traveling up and down the Columbia River Gorge right outside of Portland instead), the idea that it is intended to be a day of service is never far from my mind. And apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks that way. This AP article details how many people across the country spent Martin Luther King Day giving back to their communities. Partly spurred by encouragement from (now) President Obama, some events, such as the Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service, experienced record ...


The Importance of Art

We are mere days away from President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, and if there's one thing I learned from the story I just finished up about school construction and facilities, it's that a lot of people have high hopes for what he is going to do when he takes office. Already, the House has released a copy of an economic stimulus bill that would give schools up to $100 billion dollars for various programs—everything from bolstering technology in schools to supporting early-childhood education. And according to this article from the Christian-Science Monitor, the arts education world is also hoping to ...


Sparking Science Interest Outside of School

This Education Week article about a new report put out by the the National Research Council discusses recent findings that informal science activities—such as visiting a museum, watching TV shows, and even conversations with family members—have the potential to improve students' learning and appreciation of science. Although it is difficult to assess how much accurate information students do pick up from informal science activities, the researchers broke up the study into six categories: They include building motivation to learn about the natural world; understanding scientific arguments, concepts, models, and facts; manipulating, testing, exploring, and questioning; understanding the nature ...


People Are (Sort of) Reading More!

One of the first entries I ever wrote for Motivation Matters was about a report that said students, and people in general, were reading less. As I mentioned in that post, as a book lover and avid reader, that news was disheartening and—quite frankly—a little frightening. It's been over a year since I wrote that post, and today a new report (PDF), which surveyed about 18,000 adults 18 and older, was released by the same organization—The National Endowment for the Arts—that says for the first time in 25 years, more people are reading literature. The ...


'Citizen Schools' Seek to Boost After School Learning

This program, Citizen Schools, combines a lot of factors we talk about here on Motivation Matters to help boost education in communities across the country. In an effort to decrease the number of dropouts in America, the after-school program hooks up volunteer experts—college students, young professionals, and adults—with middle school students to act as mentors and teachers. The volunteers are encouraged to share specialized skills with the students in hands-on learning environments. This model makes education relevant and fun for students, as well as provides them with support from another adult who wants them to be successful in ...


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