Use this space to share your thoughts and comments as you read The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning on the Tuned out Child. You can share your own thoughts, quotes from the text, or build upon others' thoughts, or all of the above...
After reading just the first couple of chapters, I am starting to understand what Lavoie is saying. When a student doesn't want to do work or make an effort, we usually say he/she is unmotivated to do so. Lavoie says the kid IS motivated, but motivated to avoid doing the work. It is worded in a way I've never heard before, but I get it, especially when Lavoie says says, "Poor school performance and productivity are temporary; motivation is permanent," (pg. 11) because I went through something like this in middle school. When I was in middle school I guess you could say I was just motivated to not care about school. I tried to get out of classes and stay home from school and I'm not really sure why. My school performance was poor, but it was temporary. Once I reached high school I stopped acting like an immature kid who thought she was too cool for school and I shocked everyone with how "motivated" I was to excel in school.
My biggest question at the moment is what do we do as teachers to motivate a kid who is only motivated to sit quietly and stare into space in the classroom?
Vanessa, reading the book made me think of the same question. How do we get students motivated in what we are teaching? I hope this book helps us answer that question because as teachers, we will want our students motivated in the subject at hand.
Also reading page 18, it is hard to agree with Lavoie's statement that as adults we do not face competition in our adult life. I believe that we have all experienced competition after we've graduated from high school.
I discussed with my husband and asked if he has ever experienced any competition. He told me that he feels it every day at his job. He is competing to obtain the next genius spot at his job. He currently works at Apple and in getting the genius spot, he will be getting a large raise. His "team leaders" often say to him that he needs to be more competitive, he has often been told that he is a great candidate, but lacks competitiveness.
Also when we graduate from high school, we face competition in the college application process. When we are rejected by our top schools we think that we weren't as qualified as our peers.
Once we graduate college, we look for a job. Again we are faced with competition. We go to interviews and know you have to be best candidate.
Also when I speak with my teacher mentors, they often tell me that I should be dual certified in order to be more marketable. In turn this would make me more appealing in a competitive job market.
Erika, I totally agree with you about competition. In today's world, it feels like everything is a competition. You compete to get into schools, onto teams, then when you're on the team, at work you compete to be the best, even companies compete to be the best. Competition is everywhere so I also disagree with Lavoie; adults face plenty of competition.
Competition can be good and bad. Students that have a lower self-esteem, competition is not something that helps/improves their learning. For example, while I was in high school, I was more competitive in my math classes. In the other main subject classes I was more quiet unless I was extremely confident in my answer. So that hindered my learning in that perspective.
Early on, He starts speaking about how all students are constantly motivated and I had a hard time agreeing with this statement. I understand that he tried to make the point that everyone is motivated but motivated to do different things. Some students might be motivated to try and sleep in your class. Yes that does count as a motivation, but I believe thats an easy way out. Being a high school student a few years ago, I know that I was highly motivated the first few months of school and then when It go to like the second marking period I began to tail off. It is impossible for someone to be constantly motivated on one task. I do believe students, just like with everyone else in every aspect of life do have good and bad days and do have their motivation rise and fall. While reading this part, I felt myself kind of getting angry at the point he was trying to make.
Even the greatest rewards cannot enable a person to accomplish a task of which he is incapable.
I enjoyed reading about the 6 P's of motivation and really liked the informal assessment he included. I am creating a unit plan in one of my other classes right now, and I made a similar survey to this so that I could get to know my students better and hopefully figure out what kind of learners they will be. Each student will be motivated by something different (people, praise, power, prestige...) and it's important to know to be a successful teacher.
I agree with Lavoie's theory that all kids are motivated, some just are motivated not to do the work. It was interesting to read it and think about it like that; the kids actually are doing work by not doing it. I liked how he compared motivation to a marriage; some days it is hard and can be a struggle but the couple never gives up, they are always "motivated" to make things better and the love is forever. This is the same for education. Some kids may be having an off day and may not be in the mindset to focus on class that day. We as teachers cannot automatically jump to conclusion that the student is lazy and unmotivated.
Jumping ahead, I liked the chapter on "Praise". Today there is a lot of excessive praise that may not be doing the children any good. Some children look for the praise and reward to get them to do something for all the wrong reasons; they are constantly looking for you to say "good job, great work". However, some kids need that praise and approval to feel like they're doing things right and accomplishing things. This becomes a hard decision then for us teachers as to where the praise should or should not be given. I found it interesting that the phrasing of the praise effected the child's response. When they were praised for their intelligence, they became anxious and nervous about giving the right answer and picked questions that they knew wouldn't be a challenge. However, when they were praised for their effort, they were more focused on learning and remained interested. This may be one way that we can correctly praise our students: encourage and praise their effort instead of praising the fact that hey got it right "because they're a smart student." There needs to be some happy medium that we can establish to praise enough but not to much. It feels good, as a student myself, to hear the teacher say that was "good work"; when you've worked really hard on something, hearing it was good does make anyone feel good about themselves and in my opinion will keep them motivated to keep up the good work.
I agree that when teachers use rewards they cause work to turn into play, this is why they need to be carefully with students because we can turn activity that they enjoy into something they no longer want to do. I agree that reward systems do not work for all students, they do not provide long lasting motivation. I feel that it is a great idea to set a goal for their students when they are doing activities which can be boring. I agree that parents need to be careful when they give matrial rewards beacause the child may feel that if they are not rewarded then they are not loved. I feel that it important for teacher to apply this to when working with students if you want a child to respect you then it must be earned. This book has many great points.
After a few weeks of observations and reading this book, I have seen the "child motivated by power". He transferred in and already has the reputation as "that boy". No teacher wants him in the class (based from what I heard in the teachers lounge) and he is always disrupting the class. But I don't think they have read this book and know the difference between defiance and noncompliance. He does huff and puff and cause some disturbance with yelling out or getting up, but he doesn't physically do any damage. After all his complaining, he still does copy the notes and want to get the homework assignments that he's missed or not handed in. I saw that the teacher in the beginning would try to argue back with him but now she is actually the brokenrecord technique. Since he loves to get up and walk around she'll say once in a strong voice, "In my classroom we stay in our seats until the bell rings." And no matter what his excuse is she will repeat this each time getting softer and he does eventually sit down. I saw that he always likes to participate when he gets responsibilities, which is something Lavoie suggests. She will have him collect the Do Nows or hand out the workbooks and he gets very excited. She also knows that he has responsibilities outside of school like getting his little brother from school, so if he lets her know in advance his day is going to be hectic, she'll allow his homework to be handed in a day later, also another of Laovie's suggestions.
This also goes with Lavoie's suggestions of the parents role in motivation. Some of the students I observe have a rough time at home and their parents don't really care what they do in school, which affects then the students motivation in school. All of the students in my class have some kind of learning disability and it is clear to see that some don't get the support that Lavoie says they need at home.
Lavoie made great points in his book. He really picked apart every child perfectly. Lavoie is also completely right when it comes to motivating children. Children have a hard time getting motivated, however if you understand the type of child they are it becomes that much easier. Creating a community within the classroom makes it easier for students to communicate with each other and with me (the teacher). The student has to be aware that they are able to come to me with any problems that may be occurring. It is also important on my end to allow the students into my life and see what makes me, me. Showing them pictures of my pet or me doing a favorite past time is important. It allows students to see you in a different light, more like a regular person. Students also love to see that teachers care. According to Lavoie, the "popular teacher" remembers a child's birthday or calls the student's house to report about good news!
One thing in particular I loved reading was the teacher/students conferences. Allowing students to put input into their learning can really help a teacher. It allows the teacher to see that the students understands their strengths and weaknesses. ALso I like how the parent can play a part in the student's success in the classroom. Establishing a relationship with the parent shows that the students' success means a lot to you. When it comes to the parent/teacher conferences I think it is a great idea to send a questionaire sheet home for the parents to fill out on what exactly they want to talk about at the meeting. This allows more time to hit the important points and less time for the things that do not really matter all that much. Having the parents on your side makes your job easier and makes you stronger.
Rick Lavoie's websitePhilosophy