And…we are back. It’s been a week since diving into Distance Learning Take 2.
This piece aims to serve as a kick-starter, to shift us from the “I have no idea what I’m doing” parent to the “I can do this” parent educator. It’s here to prompt your thinking on ‘motivation in learning’ as I share what I’ve seen in schools and spark your thinking around what you already know.
As we step back into our role as a parent educator, what have we learned? I asked parents what they would stop and what they would START doing, this second time around.
|Following the schedule minute by minute||Tweaking tasks to suit my child’s mood and energy levels. e.g. write a narrative about your weekend became ‘write a narrative about the LEGO characters you used on Sunday’|
|Feeling like when I’m not helping one child, I’m failing them||Figuring out what engages my child and meeting them halfway|
|Entertaining my child||Using more pen and paper where I can|
The overarching theme within the responses was ‘motivation in learning.’ I was happy to close my laptop as the children returned to face-to-face learning last term, but hearing this theme among parents sparked my curiosity. Can we recreate motivation from the classroom at home?
Motivation in Learning
The research within motivation is complex. Take a moment to reflect on what motivates you. Your drivers differ and evolve. Constantly.
As do children.
The learners I have observed across schools, have a variety of drivers, but in the classroom, here are the top three motivators;
- Relationships – with peers and teachers
- Emotions – feelings within the classroom from day to day and task to task
- Challenge – each moment being a balancing act. Is the task challenging enough to try, but not too challenging that they don’t know where to begin.
As a first year teacher, I thought learning had to be ‘fun.’ Picture me, staying up until the early hours of the morning, designing the most ‘fun’ learning tasks. As you can imagine, our little individuals don’t all think alike, so I was striving for unachievable goal. That’s what I’m hearing across parent educators; “I feel like I’m constantly entertaining.” And getting nowhere.
You are not an entertainer. You are an educator. Set them up and let them go. Explore.
Learning is uncomfortable. It IS sometimes boring. It is usually a STRUGGLE. And it often doesn’t feel right.
Think of your most recent learning. Small or big. That dinner you failed, the hobby you mastered or that PB you made on your run. How did it feel in the beginning?
So how does this translate to home?
In the classroom, I start every term with a ‘Student Study.’ Taking out a large binder folder, each page is devoted to a child with their photo centred on the page. Around each child I write what I know already.
- J likes football, he plays for the Sharks.
- A likes reading, she has the entire collection of Billie B Brown at home.
- E loves craft and spends each Friday crafting with her Mum after school.
Why? This ticks off each of my top three motivators. I engineer a relationship through positive conversations and REAL listening. I’m building emotion and feeling within the classroom, making learners feel safe because I ACTUALLY care. Lastly, it leads me to where their challenges are.
- J likes football, but hates maths…How can we relate the two?
- A likes reading, but thinks she has terrible handwriting…How we encourage her to use pen and paper more?
- E loves crafts, but will not put up her hand and share…How can I create a space for her to get used to the sound of her own voice?
So, dear parent educator, you already have this head start. You know this about your child. And much more. So how are you using this?
My NEXT post is all about HOW.
How to move past the “I’m bored,” “I don’t get it” and “can’t you just do it for me?”
My prediction? It has little to do with boredom and a lot to do with MOTIVATION!