May 2008 Archives

Since I have started writing for this blog, I have read countless articles about student motivation, but I have never read something quite like what I came across today in The Arizona Republic. The article, "Student brains hold clues for instructors," argues that thoughts are triggered by emotions and consequently, by exploring the relationship between emotions and thought, teachers can effectively tap into student motivation levels. Well-designed learning environments help students "feel" the need to choose to become inspired, motivated, and eventually empowered. They are at the root of a positive disposition that leads to academic success.An effective teacher ...


This story in the Baltimore Sun chronicles the growth of a chess club in the Baltimore public school system over the past few years. According to the article, the program has not only helped kids learn how to play chess and improve their concentration, it has also helped keep them out of trouble and improve their academic performance all-around. Here's what one of the chess coaches in the article had to say: "I've watched kids, particularly girls, who had very little confidence build a huge amount of confidence. I've seen it over and over, academically and the way they carry ...


The Learn & Earn program in Fulton County, Georgia that I reported on awhile back just finished up its 15-week pilot program, and this article in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution profiles one of the participants who found the program, which offered students $8 an hour for studying, successful. "It was his success that really got him excited," said [Jailyn Brown's] mom, Alanna Taylor. "He got more benefit from his good grades than the money." We'll have to wait until the summer to get the official results from the program, and there's no word yet on whether the program will continue past the ...


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about online education. It started when I read this article written by my colleague Andrew Trotter about a book which predicts that by 2019, 50 percent of all high school classes will be taught online. That same week, the poll on edweek.org asked readers "Is the trend toward delivery of education online education a positive development?" Not sure exactly what I felt about the subject, I decided not to vote, but to just watch and see how the question played out in our highly unscientific survey. In the end, out of 131 total ...


A story in The Houston Chronicle yesterday once again brought up the ever-controversial topic of student incentives. This time, though, the article focused on giving away prizes for perfect attendance, rather than high test scores. According to the article, under No Child Left Behind, the amount of federal funding each school receives is partly contingent on attendance rates, so even schools with attendance rates in the 96th percentile feel pressured to motivate kids to come to school more often, since even one percentage point could mean thousands more dollars in federal funding. However, not everyone thinks this is a good ...


This commentary on edweek.org starts with (for me at least) a counterintuitive sentence: "Kids love science." The author of the article, Ellen V. Futter, goes on to talk about how and why students turn away from science as they get to middle and high school. She presents suggestions for how educators can help fuel kids' enthusiasm for science and encourage them to continue studying science as they get older. One of the suggestions she made particularly hit home for me. She says: K-12 teachers should be empowered to adopt hands-on, inquiry-based teaching methods that present science as a thrilling ...


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