Many articles and studies have been conducted on how to motivate students to learn or become self-regulated, which means to continue to want to learn on their own with or without a teacher or a classroom or a school. The content we choose as teachers is an essential part of what motivates students to continue to learn. If we return to Ben- David’s article, which I quoted in the December 16th blog post, there are four categories of learning activities that potentially motivate people to learn:
Knowledge arts, the identification and utilization of multi-disciplinary knowledge;
Thinking arts which include problem solving, critical thinking, flexibility, creativity, innovation and risk taking;
Know-how arts, which include design, craftsmanship, technical skills and practical experience;
Interaction arts, which involves curiosity, imagination, motivation, teamwork, activism and sustainability
Moreover, the content we provide in our classrooms is only part of the formula for motivating our students to learn, especially at the end of the year. As Professor Richard L. Curwin writes in his Jerusalem Post article (January 19, 2017), “Discipline and student motivation are interconnected. Any discipline technique that reduces student motivation has no place in school.” Dr. Curwin, most well-known for his worldwide best seller, Discipline with Dignity, argues that threats, rewards and punishments never increase learning outcomes and we should therefore abandon them for more productive methods for motivating our students. He has developed four categories that increase student motivation and I would agree that they, along with interesting and relevant content, are the keys to creating self-regulated students. Curwin states that “if any of the four categories below are increased, student learning will increase”. The categories are:
- How much the teacher cares about a student
- The student’s belief that he/she can succeed
- The passion of the teacher for what she teaches
If you have ideas which utilize Ben- David’s four “arts” or Curwin’s four categories that increase motivation feel free to share them with our readers. I would like to highlight one which was sent to me by a new teacher in one of the schools where I teach. Jennifer Mayer created a wonderful power point presentation with YouTubes that accompany it on the History of the English language, in English of course. Take a look at her presentation which I have uploaded on this blog site. Her Hebrew speakers found it fascinating as did I when I watched it. It definitely provides a powerful example of “knowledge arts” in that it helps all of us identify the foundations of the English language, which the majority of the world utilizes today.
Wishing you all a successful end of the school year with meaningful learning and opportunities to motivate your students to read and to write over their summer vacation!