Try and Make Me! Motivating Young Learners
Source: Coalition of Essential Schools
How do good teachers get children to believe that learning is its own reward? Since 1959 University of Wisconsin professor Martin Haberman has observed and analyzed the behavior of very effective teachers working with children in urban poverty.
Successful teachers, he concludes, care most of all about knowing children well so that they might find entry points into their learning. They deal with behavior problems not as "discipline" issues, but by working to find new ways to motivate and interest students. They measure their success by the degree of effort they inspire in students. They work with parents, rather than supervise, inform, or blame them. They stay away from letter grades, and shift the students explanation of success from "ability" to "effort" they use the class to set group norms of expected behavior and see punishments as a last resort, an indication that they have failed in their work of motivating students to learn.
In 1995 book Star Teachers of Children in Poverty, Haberman describes some e strategies such teachers use to create intrinsic motivation for learning. Ultimately students cannot be forced to learn he writes, and the game of teachers pretending otherwise is one that traditional teachers inevitably lose. In the classroom climate established by starts, learning is transformed from teacher assignments to "something we're in together" They do this, he says, by:
Knowing that it will take time to win children over to an interest-based approach and arouse their natural curiosity and interest in learning. Beginning with some external rewards for class, group, and individual participation, but watching for kids to show interest in particular activities.
From Star Teachers of Children in Poverty, by Martin Haberman(Lafayette, Indiana, Kappa Delta Pi, 1995) Tel: (800)284-3164
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