January 2008 Archives

Click here to watch an interesting video about curiosity. Although the speaker, Seth Godin, talks about a lot of things besides just education, curiosity is a huge factor in student motivation, and he speaks eloquently about why it's important. Also, about 2 minutes in, he raises an interesting point about education. "For seven, ten, fifteen years of school, you are required to not be curious," he says. I have to say, I'm not sure I agree with that, and some of the other things he says, but I am sympathetic to his point. Check out the video, and let me ...


When should educators take race into account when running schools and when should they remain colorblind? Debra Viadero tackles this question in a recent Education Week article, "Teachers Advised to 'Get Real' on Race." No matter how busy you are this week, it's worth taking the time to read this article. The implications it has for student motivation-related issues are huge. And it's also a topic worthy of a discussion among readers of this blog. So read the article and then let's get a conversation going regarding the question: Should educators be race-conscious or colorblind?...


Diane Ravitch, over on her Bridging Differences blog, has written a post about cash incentives. She discusses how paying low-income students for test scores is supposed to promote equality, and why she's critical of that movement. It's a thoughtful post, and worth checking out....


A few months ago, I wrote a post about a new study which concluded that kids weren't reading as much. As an avid reader, motivating people to read is something I'm very interested in, and so I was excited to see this article in The Oregonian, which attempts to answer some of the questions I raised in my previous post. Here's an excerpt: School librarians say they know the secrets to drawing kids away from TV and computer screens and into books. But it requires an insider's knowledge of young adult books. And with fewer and fewer librarians in Oregon ...


This story in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer highlights a statewide effort in 35 Ohio school districts to help a few hundred freshman boys graduate. The program targets boys who have at least one of four factors that deem students "at-risk" for dropping out--being overage, having failed two major courses in eighth grade, having been suspended, or having been frequently absent. Each student in the program meets with a "personal motivator" every couple of weeks for encouragement and guidance. Every school that participates also has a "graduation action team" that consists of teachers, parents, clergy, and representatives from the business and ...


If you haven't seen it already, the Research Center here at EdWeek has put together a thorough evaluation of states' individual education systems called Quality Counts. Of particular note to readers of this blog may be the Chance-For-Success Index (requires Adobe reader), which evaluates students' likelihood to succeed based on each state's figures on thirteen benchmarks--including family income, level of parents' education, parents' employment, preschool enrollment, high school graduation rates, and annual income, among others. Those factors play a major role in motivating students to do well in school, and can make a big difference in student achievement. This issue ...


Once again, offering students cash incentives to boost test scores has been in the news a lot lately, and the idea seems to be gaining traction. According to this commentary in the Christian Science Monitor, a cash rewards system in Texas has had some positive results so far. Check out our incentives and rewards page for past posts about this topic....


I spent the holiday weekend at my parent's house in Richmond, Va., where my Dad raised an interesting (if not harebrained) theory about why students aren't motivated to study science. The real downfall of science education, he said, are all the safety regulations that prevent kids from "doing anything exciting." Some of his favorite childhood memories were formed while he was hunkered down over a chemistry set, where he would mix chemicals and perform experiments that sometimes resulted in a spontaneous combustion or a singed eyebrow. If science education were more like that, he argued, kids would be more interested. ...


We would like to introduce you to a new feature on our blog designed to help you read more about the subjects that interest you most. If you take a look over on the right-hand side of the blog, underneath the "Recent Entries" section, you'll notice a new section called "Categories." We've gone through and organized our past blog posts into subject areas, so that when you click on a category, you will see all the blog posts ever written in the history of Motivation Matters about that subject on one easy-to-read page. Since motivating students relates to a wide ...


Education Week's Lesli Maxwell has written a number of heartbreaking, and sometimes inspiring, stories about schools in New Orleans this year, and her latest, 'The Hurricane Messed a Lot of Us Up,' is no exception. The story is about a 16-year-old student, Giovanna Batiste, who returned to New Orleans after spending two years going to school in Houston. Now that she's back in New Orleans, Giovanna says it's harder to learn. "People come in late, or they talk over the teacher and you can’t hear the lesson," she says in the article. "Or they clown around so much ...


There's an AP story up this morning about Naomi May, who began teaching elementary school students when she was 18 years old and is still teaching today--70 years later. That's longer than a lot of people live! She's now 88 years old and has been in the classroom long enough to teach some of the grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, of her first students. Ms. May was so motivated to teach that even after she retired in 1981, she couldn't stay away from school. "I live just across the fence and I could hear the bells," she says in the article. "They...


My attention was first directed to the Atlantic Street Center after reading this article in The Seattle Times last week. The Seattle-based nonprofit aims to help low-income families raise healthy, successful, academically eager children through a variety of services such as tutoring, study skills instruction, and cultural awareness workshops. Eager to know more, I e-mailed Darcy McInnis, the organization's communications coordinator, and she agreed to answer a few questions about what the organization does and how it increases student motivation. Her responses touch on a lot of issues we write about in this blog--parent involvement, early childhood education, community involvement, ...


A recent column in Education Week offers an update on the cash for test scores debate, which we have covered on several occasions in this blog. This update sheds research light on the debate by examining a new report by a professor of labor economics at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. The study found that when students and teachers in some Texas public schools were offered up to $500 for each passing Advanced Placement score, AP participation and scores increased....


As a science-challenged student in my younger years, I did everything I could to avoid taking difficult science classes even though I lived in a family of scientists (my father was a college chemistry professor and my older brother followed in his footsteps.) As a parent, I have tried to overcompensate for my scientific limitations by encouraging, prodding, and pleading with my boys to see the beauty, power, and potential career possibilities that science offers. Unfortunately, I believe my efforts are failing. I am sure there are a number of reasons. But high up on the list is a reality ...


This week's poll on the Education Week homepage may be of particular interest to the readers of this blog. It asks the question, "Do U.S. students spend enough time and effort on academics in high school?" So far, out of 179 total responses, the overwhelming answer is no. Twenty-six voters (14 percent) said yes, while 153 voters (85 percent) said no. This is by no means a scientifically sound survey, and there are still four days to go before the voting officially ends, but I doubt the end result will change significantly. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on ...


My colleague Andrew Trotter has written a story about a documentary called 2 Million Minutes that compares 6 high school students from three different countries--India, China, and the United States. As you might imagine, the documentary examines the steadfast dedication of the Indian and Chinese students in contrast to the relaxed attitude of the American students. It's worth noting that all of the students the documentary follows are bright students who are at the top of their class. According to the story, both the Indian and Chinese students emphasize their long-term career and education goals when talking about their education, ...


This article in the Orange County Register is an inspiring story about a man named Matthew Peterson who has created a series of educational computer games that teach elementary school children math skills. In the games, students use math concepts to help an animated penguin named Jiji overcome obstacles--like filling a ditch, building a bridge, or crossing a river, according to the article. The games rely on spatial-temporal reasoning, and do not require the use of language skills, making them a good fit for ESL students. So far, the schools that use the computer games have made significant strides in ...


One of the greatest motivators for young people and adults alike, at least from this amateur philosopher's perspective, is an attitude in which you appreciate what you have and realize that many others are not as fortunate. I know that sounds very basic and maybe even a little corny, but in coaching this generation of middle and high school boys in lacrosse, I have come to the sad conclusion that most middle class and upper middle class kids don't truly appreciate what they have, whether it be natural athletic ability or a comfortable home to sleep in every night. They ...


Last week, we asked you which topics you'd like to see covered in Motivation Matters in 2008. We really appreciate all the helpful feedback, and in keeping with one commenter's request for more discussion of special education students, we'd like to direct your attention to this Wall Street Journal article available on edweek.org. The article talks about one Floridian school district that has successfully included 65 percent of their special education students into general education classes. Some experts are skeptical about the benefits of the trend, but as the article points out, "research shows many students with disabilities make ...


I read a story yesterday in The (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer about a new middle school program that selects a handful of overage eighth-grade students and puts them into accelerated classes aimed to get them back on track with their high school peers. Since the program targets students who are behind, I was interested to see how the program motivated typically under-performing students to work twice as hard as the average student to catch up. The article didn't go into the program's methodology in great detail, but one of the students cites smaller class sizes as a reason ...


Tara Parker-Pope, the author of a new health blog at the New York Times, points to an interesting study of teachers in Germany. It suggests that overly demanding parents, not unruly students or long hours, might be the biggest reason why teachers lose their motivation to teach and eventually quit the profession. I am sure many former teachers in the United States would agree. And, in fact, some had strong opinions to voice in response to Parker-Pope's posting of the study findings. Their comments are worth reading because you can feel the deep levels of frustration in their words. Here's ...


Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Reward Incentive Programs: Awesome!!! Nice write-up. In this present scenario of economic downturn read more
  • milan hotels: I believe that all schools should adapt to the citizen read more
  • best life coaching: I also disagree because motivation is needed everywhere and in read more
  • find a life coach: This is a good way of promoting arts and education read more
  • www.instituteforcoaching.com: citizen school is best schools for all over they motivation read more

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here