For this entry, I researched Bam Radio. I listened to two of the podcasts provided that spoke on how to do a few things well and also how to cultivate student motivation.
The first podcast that I listened to was “Every Classroom Matters- Improving Teaching by Doing a Few Things Well” ~ George Couros. In this podcast, George spoke about an innovator’s mindset which should be looked at as powerful learning first and technology second. He spoke about how less is more and everything should be made as simple as possible. One example of this was school wide/district wide initiatives. Most often trying to implement theses initiatives cause individuals, both staff and students, to become overwhelmed. The focus is done at doing everything average rather than taking a few things to be done amazingly. George viewed it as taking a plate and filling it with work. Rather than overfilling our place, we want to have small portions that we can focus more on. One personal experience he spoke of was professional development. As a technology mentor at his school, he was asked to hold ten meetings where he would introduce ten different apps that can me used in the classroom. George had found that teachers were reluctant to use them because there was too much choice for the apps that they didn’t know where to start. Moving forward, he then chose three sources of technology (Word Press, Google Apps- Drive/Classroom, and Twitter). In a three year focus period, they would focus on working with these three technologies and really learning how to utilize them within the classroom setting. By limiting things down, it alleviates that strong sense of being overwhelmed. It seems that it is build into our culture that provides so much choice and the mindset that teachers need to be all things to all children. George mentioned that it was crucial that educators develop as a school and not necessarily as classroom teachers. What he meant and the example that he provided regarding this statement is that while I may not be an expert on technology, I can find someone within my building that is an expert, and learn best practices through them. We need to find the strengths within these people in order to dive in deep. So much time is spent trying to be everything to every child which they don’t always need. Once relationships are built based on trust, educators experience our students in a different way and in their own light.
When we as educators try to do too much, it often takes away from the educator that we truly are. We shouldn’t have to put in extra hours before or after school in order to craft the perfect lesson. When that connection with your students is formed, the lessons as a whole are more meaningful and the students tend to do a much better job. As educators we need to set ourselves boundaries, set a time and when time is up it is okay to move on and come back as needed. Prioritizing is also key as an educator. Most people take on too much and have a hard time emptying their plate when it becomes overwhelming. It’s not that teachers don’t want to do things, but often times they are asked and the hardest part is saying no. Teachers are encouraged to say no and at times it is more than okay. If they are asked to perform a task that places them out of their comfort zone, saying no is more beneficial being that they may know that they are not fit to fulfill a task
The second PodCast that I listened to was “How Skilled Teacher Cultivate Motivated Students” ~ Larry Ferlazzo. This podcast touched on an inquiry that I had coming into this course which was really building student motivation. Larry spoke that the key is to help students tap into their own energy to in turn motivate themselves intrinsically. He stated that extrinsic motivation will work to encourage behavior that is basic, however it will not work to encourage behavior or work that is creative or related to high order thinking. There are four main qualities that allow intrinsic motivation to take place:
- Autonomy- feeling like the student has a voice in what is being done
- Related- what they are being asked to do is helping them as a student
- Relevant- the purpose of a task is related to their hopes and dreams
- Competence- feeling that they are capable. The goal is not to reduce their intrinsic motivation and failing them, but rather we want to build up their motivation.
Larry stated that by providing cognitive choice such as homework, what would they want to do that would help them the most. Teaching learning strategies to the whole class and allowing students to determine which strategies they are comfortable in using. The basis of motivation is metacognition- encouraging students to explore what is most helpful. He brought up a good point that teachers are not around all the time. Therefore, we have to prepare them beyond the classroom and build their confidence to be able to apply strategies constructively. Help student stay motivated by providing feedback, praise and effort. Create situations where students provide their own feedback to themselves and their peers. Giving students to monitor their own progress on classroom tasks so they can follow their own success. The last strategy that was suggested was “plusing”. This means that when you comment on someone’s work instead of saying “but”, replace it with the word “and”. This works on adding to what work is already in place rather than criticizing what is right there.