It is halfway through this module already and I am learning quite a bit about the cognitive aspect of teaching and learning. It is very informative and interesting. The book we are reading for this class is by David Perkins and it is called Making Learning Whole : How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education.
In unit 4, I read chapter 2, Make the Game Worth Playing. I have learned that people are interested in learning something not only because it seems easy or practical, but also because it has to do with intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is very important because it is a feeling that comes from within without any outer or extrinsic incentives like grades or money. I have learned that extrinsic motivation turned out to be negatively related to achievement and on the other end intrinsic motivation predicts greater achievement and positivism. As children, many of us were extrinsically motivated- we would do things to get candy, ice cream or just because we knew it would make our parents and teachers happy. Growing older and wiser, we come to the realization that intrinsic motivation leads to happiness and success and that is what truly educates us.
In a class of pre kindergartners, you can see the extrinsic motivation. Some children would get in line, sit on the rug or listen attentively to a book because of the rewards to be given. They would do these things because they know if they do they will receive a sticker, get to be the line leader, or have some extra juice at snack. At this young age, we can not expect to have the children be intrinsically motivated by nature. It is up to parents and teachers to show the children that happiness and success come from within and that we should do things not only for the reward but because it is benefiting us in certain ways, shapes, and forms.
To make the game worth playing, the game being education and the experiences that lead to learning and understanding, teachers have to show children and students why we need to learn what we are learning. As teachers, we also need to show students that learning is essential and fundamental. We must find ways to grab the students’ attention and keep them motivated. It is very different doing so with pre kindergartners than with college students. Like I have stated, with my age group, 4 and 5 year olds, there is a lot of extrinsic motivators but in time we have to turn it over and teach that the rewards that come from within last longer than any candy or sticker. Time is what it will take for a child to comprehend but we must never give up and show them that the game is worth playing.
To do so we have to learn what it is that is really worth learning. Sometimes we have to sort through and pick what is worth learning. One great thing is to make the most out of beginnings. When we are first starting out something, it can be difficult, intimidating and the progress can be slower than expected. We can never give up and make the most out of beginning new projects and things of that nature. When we understand something finally, we must also make the most of it. We must value it to stay intrinsically motivated. Expectations and choices, we all have them. Let us make them shine and take what we can out of them. Choices have so much to do with what we learn and how we learn it. In order to make learning whole and get the most out of the game of learning, we have to embrace the challenges and let out imagination grow. I wonder…there are wonders of learning and to really see how to make the game worth playing check out page 77 of the above mentioned book. It is a good reference for teachers. Let us wonder.
We also have to remember to work on the hard parts because without them there would not be challenge and without challenge there would be no learning. This starts from pre kindergarten and works itself all the way through life.
Good luck and happy teaching. As I always say, I am a lifelong learner and I love to learn everyday. When I teach, I learn. It is the circle of life.
Some sites with good information:
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html – great video here
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/inmotiv.htm – hmm…they are saying intrinsic motivation does not exist….. i do not agree.