Skip to main content

Motivating Children to Learn.

Larry Ferlazzo blogged recently about how to "motivate" a student to learn in a classroom setting. There are some very interesting responses over that way, including 1) finding out WHY the student doesn't want to learn the material, and 2) not giving all the answers/making the student strive and accomplish on his own.

I watched the video and read through the other responses and it struck me that the fact that the student MUST be in that room and MUST take that class would set things off on the wrong foot, just to begin with. Just imagine if the state demanded that YOU learn high school chemistry every weekday for the next year, and "your future" depends on whether you do well. (Or so your parents/high school counsellor tell you.)

I'm not saying that in an anti-school or anti-teacher way, but really. What if that coercion happened to you for 12 years straight? And you copped an attitude? And the state's response is to keep you in school until you're 18? Several states are raising the dropout age and/or requiring a certain number of credits before leaving school is an option, you see.

What if that were you? Having a local school to go to where the teachers know advanced subject matter such as physics or calculus is a very precious thing. It just isn't going to feel that way if you are FORCED to go under duress. I think being forced to go is just going to make people resentful. It's going to make for unhappy teachers, too, because guess what? Unhappy and unwilling students are nowhere near as fun to teach as children who are eager and excited about the subject.

And then I had another thought: WHAT HAPPENED to those cute little kindergarteners who all thought they could do great things? What happened to them? They turned into these surly teens who think history sucks and Dad knows nothing. It can't be all hormonal, this unwillingness to learn, or new video games with boring instructions would not sell out. What we need is a really high-level maths game with kewl graphics and unlocked rooms and stuff. Give those out instead of textbooks. Tell the kid they MUST get to the Throne Room of the Amber Palace by June 1 or fail in their quest. Just a thought. What you teach in class, the student will go home and try to play! Better than homework or even the old Choose Your Own Adventure series classic. I always died in those or wound up becoming a possum or something. :)

Comments

  1. Well..I put in my 17 years in school .. And then 25 at a desk. Not sure that it was time well spent --- but it did enable these retirement years :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeahhh, lots of retirement years. I'm remembering you retiring at something ridiculous like 44 and having to petition for an exemption so you could live in the Old Folks' Town you currently call home. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well if they made PSP/Playstation games that had 'hidden learning' in them we would all be on a winner! Griffin certainly would win for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Coercion is certainly not helping. I got to hear a lecture in college from a guy who ran a boarding school for kids who dropped out of school. The first thing he did was make class not mandatory. He said that it often took a couple of months for the kids to detox before they could discover that they wanted to learn.

    ~Luke

    ReplyDelete
  5. Chris, I wish I could market this stuff! If Nintendo put a few math problems in with Zelda, it would still sell!! :)

    Luke, DETOX is probably the best word for it. I'm not saying it's ALL school's fault. Sometimes we adopt toxic attitudes to our own detriment! And it probably took a couple months for these folks to settle in and get to the point where they could even start to answer, "What do I want to do with my life now?"

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Non-troll comments always welcome! :)

Popular posts from this blog

Reading Curriculum: ABeka Book and BJU Press

Did you know that in the state of Missouri, homeschoolers must teach reading as a separate subject?  I don't know how anyone could homeschool well without teaching their child to read... but OK. 

I got many of my ABeka books used and collected them over time.  I'm glad I came across these readers early in my homeschooling years.  It teaches children to read step-by-step.  I don't think I've seen a more effective reading program for the elementary years.  The children love the stories, and what I appreciate about them is that there is a rich and varied language even in simple-to-read books in this series. 

My set is pretty old, and some are even from the 1960's and no longer listed in the reading series.  I think if I had to do things over again somehow, I think I'd just spend on a curriculum set and be done with it.  That's the thing, though, with homeschooling.  By the time you figure out what the perfect curriculum is for you, your children have graduate…

Homeschooling is NOT So Hard.

I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.

We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.

But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…

Holiday Gifts for the Homeschool Teacher!

Merrymaking hint:  leave this post up on your phone/ computer for your family to "accidentally" find!  Let the magic begin!

 All teachers love a little appreciation every now and then, including homeschoolers.   I don't know about you, though, but I don't want any apple crap.  So first rule:  no apple crap! 

Otherwise I'm pretty open.  I love getting gifts, even if it's just something small or simple.  One thing I love is when my children want to help out and make lunch or clean up or put their laundry away.  Or just behave themselves and get their math done.  This is a really big thing when you think about it.  

And from the adults in my life, the gift of coffee always shows love - or rather, someone not wanting an "I need coffee" emergency in the middle of winter after a big snowstorm.  Somehow, I always have a lot of coffee in my pantry during the winter months.  (Guess why.) Thanks, D! 

My gallery of homeschool appreciation pics: