Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘Motivation’

LEARNing to Cope with Exams (Guest Post from Laurence Raw)

In Adult Learners, Assessment, Guest BLOGGERS, Our Universities on 24/07/2013 at 3:04 pm

Assessment (David Boud quote) Ver 02

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Many learners from all over Europe will have taken exams this summer; the results might yet not be known.  My fourteen-year-old niece had this experience, and unfortunately she did not do so well.  I realized that the results bore little or no relationship to her intellectual capabilities; she obtained a poor grade on account of what might be termed TESTaphobia.  As I listened to her, I recalled my days at school and university, when I was so scared of exams that I used to imagine myself suffering from chest pains, so that I could go to hospital and obtain some kind of tranquillizers.

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I read recently that British Education Secretary Michael Gove insisted that “exams matter because motivation matters … Human beings are hard-wired to seek out challenges … the experience of clearing a hurdle we once considered too high spurs us on to further endeavours and deeper learning”

But what if the need to jump that hurdle prevents learners from achieving success?  What happens to those whose wires are configured in different ways, and might need to discover alternative means of achieving “further endeavours and deeper LEARNing?”  Many websites offer advice as to how to deal with this condition (by learning from experiences, devising a realistic revision schedule, taking time off or relaxing), but they’re actually missing the point.

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Assess Lit 03

The only way to change attitudes towards exams is to change the LEARNing cultures in which they take place.  Learners have to understand that passing exams is not simply about “clearing a hurdle,” but rather providing an opportunity for them to express what they have learned.  Educators should help them to approach an exam in a positive frame of mind; rather like an actor giving a performance in front of the camera, they need to perform to the best of their ability.  And even if they do not do as well as they should, exams are not the be-all and end-all of their educational lives; what matters more is that they should feel they have achieved their own personal goals through the courses that they have taken.

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Assidere (original meaning) Ver 02

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Perhaps it’s time to go back to first principles; to understand that any program of study is not primarily concerned with the exam but with the experience of LEARNing.  This can only be achieved through negotiation; the working out of a series of mutually shared goals that educators and learners alike feel happy to pursue.  As the course unfolds, so everyone should be encouraged to reflect on its usefulness; this might be achieved through discussion, or by encouraging everyone to keep a journal to record feelings and experiences.  Learners can use this as a means to develop their self-esteem, to discover for themselves what they have LEARNed.

In this type of model, the exam functions as an extension of the journal, enabling learners to expound at greater length what they might have already recorded in their journals, and (in an ideal world) thereby manage to deal successfully with their fears.

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However this can only be achieved through educator support.  This is one thing that Gove and his fellow-mandarins in politics will never understand: learners can only develop themselves when they feel that they are part of a community.  A piece in The Guardian written by a practising  educator asks whether there is a line to be drawn between ‘helping’ and ‘hindering’ learners; whether too much support for learners taking exams is not counter-productive: “What do they learn about self-motivation and independence?  If we want them to become lifelong learners, don’t they at some point need to learn how to teach themselves?

I think this is a comment of mind-blowing fatuity, implying that there is some kind of distinction to be drawn between “TEACHing,” and “LEARNing.”

In a LEARNing community in which everyone participates and helps one another, the problem of developing motivation simply doesn’t arise.  Learners might have to take exams, but they can approach them in a positive frame of mind if they are supported by their peers as well as their educators.

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Assessment (fattening pigs)

The question here is one of shifting focus, of understanding the psychological reasons why learners fear exams, and restructuring the course of study to help deal with them.  However I fear that no one will be too interested in this solution, especially those politicians who believe that standards can be improved through quick fixes.  At the classroom level, however, I think that improvements can be made, or at least I’d like to think so.

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Laurence Raw
(aka @laurenceraw on Twitter)
Baskent University – Ankara, Turkey
Editor: Journal of American Studies of Turkey
http://baskent.academia.edu/LaurenceRaw
http://www.radiodramareviews.com

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To THUNK or not to THUNK…

In Our Schools, Our Universities, The Paradigm Debate on 17/06/2013 at 5:34 pm

Are you man made (thunk)

Does that make your brain go “ouch”!

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A lot of people ask me why I use the word thunk so often – and I do…sorry!

I’ve even had people leave a little note on my laptop (after a workshop session or presentation) saying things like this:

THUNK (post it)

Ahhh, that’s so sweet!

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The term THUNK is not mine…well, it is (it belongs to everyone now), actually – after Ian Gilbert gifted it to us in his wonderful book The Little Book of THUNKS – 260 questions to make your brain go ouch!

…way back in 2007.

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Some of Ian’s questions are just so much fun

3 Thunks (Ian Gilbert)

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I think I found the book a year later, when I was in Australia.

I used it so much with advanced LEARNers…and people who wanted to take their (already great) language skills to the next level…that I wore out my first copy! But, even younger adults just love them, too.

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Neyse, when I started the blog…it just fell into my bloggery lexicon – but my questions were not necessarily designed to make anyone’s brain go “ouch”.

I guess I just wanted more of us to “thunk”…in verb form!

…and, I wanted to build my blog on educational issues and questionsEDUthunks, if you will.

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You know, questions like:

EDUthunk 01

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Yeah…I know, my questions are a lot longer!

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This one is not too bad:

EDUthunk 02

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And, what about from that lastmini-dizi I did:

Motivation THUNK

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My head is still “ouching” from that one!

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These “ouches” are good for us all – afterall, is it not questions that drive all our LEARNing? 

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LEARNing (Adams quote) Ver 02

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Ian tells us that “THUNK” is also the “noise that the brain makes when it starts to think about a thunk“! I loved that…and I listen to my own head whenever I get a thunk down on the blog…

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Are there any EDUnoises your head is making today?

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MOTİVASYON – …when TEACHers “LEARN” other TEACHers!

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools, Our Universities, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training on 15/06/2013 at 5:25 am

A couple of posts ago…I left things with the word LEARNacy!

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Nativation (blog)

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That was a test…and a few of you still need to hit that “little, red word” (I have one of those lovely chaps/chapettes, their “happiness engineers”, at WordPress just sitting there…just for me…analysing my blog data…and she works 24/7…for “free”)!

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LEARNacy is a real word…honest to God!

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But as I have already done a load of posts on it, suffice to say…time to hit the “little, red words” again”:

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Come on…it’s weekend… – “bedtime READing” is what weekends were imagineered for!

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LEARNacy (new ver TG)

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When I work with TEACHers on motivation, sometimes I get the feeling that we (as a profession) thunk that it is a whole different story…when it comes to kids in the CLASSroom.

To get round this, I try a little exercisea little “pop quiz”…if you will:

Motivation (the QUIZ)

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TEACHers actually like this question (esp. when we take “money” off the table – I am sorry…there is nothing wrong with wanting to “feed your family” and it’s high time we stop beating up on TEACHers for “needing” what every single one of us needs) …and the answers we get would surprise you:

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Motivation (the ANSWERS)

Yes, we TEACHers are human beings, too!

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Now, I think I may have actually “stolen” this idea from somewhere – but, can’t…for the life of me…remember where. The point is that we all need to see that “kids” are not that different to us (when we get them away from the EXAMocracy mentality…and the silly pressures that parents…yes, mummy and daddy…place on their kids)!

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Many of our motivations for coming to school…are social, emotional…all that touchy-feely stuff!

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When we ask TEACHers (as I did with the idea in the last post) if they can apply (or adapt) these “understandings” to their CLASSroom practice, they can…they do:

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Motivation (the AKP plug)

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…but for some reason – this little graphic has been getting me in trouble of late! I paid bloody good money for that image!

so TOLERATE ME!

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Neyse…this is where…and all TEACHers “love” this…we get people to:

Share Share Share

YES! …again! TEACHers looovvveee sharing…and giving helpful ADVICE!

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but...

Even with all this thunking and sharing going on in my TRAINing room…I still get the occasional “question”, every now and again. The kinda question no trainer wants to get when they have just run a great workshop or seminar:

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Motivation (final question from TEACHers)

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Tony! Go on…TELL ME!

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I have another “graphic” up my sleeve…for times like that:

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Motivation (the CHALLENGE)

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Your choice!

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Just remember this one thunk – TEACHers always do it better with other TEACHers!

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BTW…Put these books on your SUMMER READing Listyou will not be disappointed!

MOTİVASYON – …when students “LEARN” their TEACHers!

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools, Our Universities, Teacher Learning on 14/06/2013 at 2:57 pm

Motivation (Hattie quote) Ver 04

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Sure, there are lots of ways we TEACHers can learn about what motivates our kids (and young adults).

One thing I have been doing a lot of recently is asking TEACHers to “adapt” their own private LEARNing to the classroom context. For example, a while back there was a brilliant bit of “informal research” that came out from:

Kaplan Study 01

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…really, really accessible from that internet-thingyyou know the one all our bloody kids are addicted to!

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When I show this to teams of TEACHers, I ask them to have a thunk about what this might be “saying” to us – as classroom EDUcatorsthat can’t perhaps put little Zeynep on a flight to New Zealand (…she would probably love it, BTW)!

This often “hurts” a few heads…

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…Of course, I just get a tingly sensationall over…when someone says:

Motivation (Eureka)

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Now, if the “climate” feels right…I might throw in another question or FOUR:

Motivation (5 FQs for TEACHers)

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…or (just) continue to look at the stuff from those lovely chaps at Kaplan:

Kaplan Study 02…and they starting wishing they could put Zeynep on a plane to you-know-where!

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The other stuff in this survey is more interesting. For example:

Kaplan Study 03Look at that % again…most governments would “kill” for a majority like that!

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And…what about “music”?

Kaplan Study 04How many of YOU did the exact same thing?

…all my early Turkish came from İbrahim Tatlıses! OK – and bit from Sezen Aksu

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If you do not much Turkish music, you have to “hit” those “red links”!

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Want more?

Kaplan Study 06

This is where start to “see” the power of paragogypeeragogy, even!

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Kids will work together on this stuff for hoursand hours….and hours – and then whine-themselves-to-sleep because they forgot to do the “worksheet” you asked them to complete for the pop-quiz tomorrow morning!

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No…I’m not going to say that we should all start watching TV or listening to music for 5 hours a day (but maybejust maybe, come up with a way to get the kids to do that after school…with their friends – because they know they are going to “TEACH others” some of the stuff they LEARNed themselves (and eachother)!

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Creativity (Angelou quote - NEW)

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AND…No (again, sorry!), the secret is for us to: FIRSTask our kids stuff like this – and then, SECONDlook for ways to use some of these elements to “spice” up the “pacing document” we have to get through.

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You “see” me?

See me (glasses and classroom)

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You “see” the KIDS?

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OK – so, how many of YOU use music / movies / TV…to do all this?

What resources do YOU use?

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Could YOU help us ALL…?

Share Share Share

Yes, right now…go to the comment box and give us a few URLs! 

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Even better…can you give us the URLs that your KIDS suggested to YOU?

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Motivation (avatar phrase)

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Sevgiyle kalın…sevgili hocalarım!

Motivating our LEARNers…or “Co-Creating” a CLIMATE of LEARNacy?

In Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Our Schools, Our Universities, Teacher Learning on 12/06/2013 at 1:51 pm

YES (red exlam tilted)

…I know!

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A few of you are saying things like:

The SECRET (Expletive)

Hey…do not shoot the “postman”!

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OK…let me call on a few “bigger” guns…to convince you:

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Motivation (and fishing)

What? 

You want a “bigger gun”?

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The SECRET (Covey)

Go ondisagree with my favourite rahmetli hocam – I dare you!

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Yes…

I am BACK

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Let me tell you…some of the real “secrets”

but...

we have to go a bit negative on our own asses (or “arses“)…just for a wee minute (go on…guess away at my cultural heritage there)!

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Firstly, “motivation” in the classroom (or out of it for that matter) is not about:

Motivation (sweeties)

Dentists just hate us when we do that!

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Nor is it about:

The ABCDs

No, you cannot watch another movie for 2 hours…Zeynep!

It’s not Friday, yet!

It ain’t

It ain’t even about the TECHnology we use:

Is is the TECH or the QUESTIONS

My “digital cheerleader” pals are gonna hate me for throwing that one in!

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It should also never be about…

Motivation (abdication and Darth Principal)

Darth…is that a “carrot” or a “stick” in your mechanical hand?

…or are you just happy to see…my kids in detention again? We call that strategy “abdication of responsibility” (where I come from – did you guess, yet)…and you’ll never pass probation like that!

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Good TEACHersGreat EDUcatorsjust know:

Classroom Management (feet)

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Oh, yes…and, always make sure this is LOUDest message in the room:

Success (in my classroom)

…through who they are, what they do and how they LEARN themselves!

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The alternative…?

Ms Pushover

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But, motivation is about sooooooo much more than “classroom management” – perhaps, we should say CLASSroom LEADERship“…

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Besides, didn’t we already say:

The SECRET (Really, really)

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As I hinted, in my post early last week:

3 things from 30 years

…that last one is kinda important, esp. the bit about the “voice“!

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When we ask “kids” and I have worked my way through pre-school to supporting PhD candidates – they frequently tell us they want certain things…things that do not vary that much:

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GREAT TEACHERS 04

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Yes, that one at the top of list…is the one they say the most (esp. when they are not very “happy”).

Time we start to “hear” it…

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OK – don’t believe me and my preference for very unscientific methods…other “big guns” (female, this time – to show you I am an “equal opportunities” blogger):

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TEACHing and LEARNing

Told you so!

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Take a closer look at MY list again – yes, I know that Julia and Jean’s has a sexier “soundbite” quality to it – but mine is also based on what kids and young adults have told me again and again…and again.

Honest – look at that face of mine…you could buy a second-hand car from me!

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What other elements do you see?

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John Hattie (quote)

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What’s all that stuff about “real”?

Yes, I know Julia and Jean said that, too!

But what does it mean for YOU…for your LEARNers?

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Another “big gun”, anyone?

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Palmer QUOTATION - Circle of Trust

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A “cannon”, perhaps?

Rogers QUOTE (Facilitation of LEARNing)

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…and three cannonballs, me thunks:

3 cannonballs (quotes Carl Rogers)

I know…another “guy” talking about “guys”!

But…he is “THE guy”!

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Yesterday, Laurence talked about “allowing” kids to keep in touch with their “childlike heart” duh…they are kids…and even young adults (and TEACHers) respond to this approach.

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It’s about being “real”NOT just “covering” the curriculum!

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It’s about LEARNingNOT just “TEACHing at” them!

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Learnacy ZONE

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It’s about LEARNacy

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Personal Reflections on MOTIVATION – Guest Post (by Laurence Raw)

In Classroom Teaching, Guest BLOGGERS, Learning & Parenting, Our Schools on 11/06/2013 at 3:53 pm
I have decided to take the day off – to allow you all to ponder my last couple of posts.
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We have been looking at the issue of motivation – and the current challenges across canım Türkiyem have been causing more than a few of us to reflect on our lives, our work and our families.
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This guest post is the result of both these processes.
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Laurence (guest post header 04)
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The question of how to motivate learners is a difficult one.
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I was talking to my fourteen-year-old niece last Sunday, who is contemplating changing schools, as her current institution is “boring” with its incessant focus on exams and knowledge-based education.  I asked her what she would like as an alternative, and she quoted her father, who had previously described her as “a creative person.
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A good education in her view should help to stimulate creativity.
Creativity (Maya Angelou quote)
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However “creativity” is a slippery term.  Entire schools exist in universities devoted to “the creative industries;” despite the positive-sounding nature of the term, many of their members are caught in the educational treadmill of producing papers and/or research, or finding outside funding for projects, so as to ensure their futures.
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Failure (failure zone)
It would be great if we could adopt alternative visions of “creativity”for example, by encouraging our learners to rearrange what they know in order to discover something they do not know.  Maybe we need to remember what the fourth century BC philosopher Mencius once said: to promote an atmosphere of creativity we need to remember how “great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.”
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I told my fourteen-year-old niece of how I used to amuse myself; as an only child, I didn’t have many friends and learned how to play on my own.  I used to make up stories, using my soft toys as characters; and subsequently wrote them down on an old typewriter.  Through this activity I learned how much I liked to write; I continue doing so to this day.  In other words, that “childlike heart” within me still blazes, even though it’s a long time since I played with my soft toys.
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A genuinely creative classroom values the “childlike heart” in all of its members, learners and educators alike.  It permits experiment; lets people take risks; and does not place any stigma on failure.  As Tim Harford once remarked, success always starts with failure as individuals learn from their mistakes and are encouraged to creative something new and different.  They can only achieve this in a mutually supportive atmosphere, once which recognizes that all of us, whatever our age and/or experience in life, have that childlike quality within us.
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Learnacy ZONE
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This is a far more important motivation for LEARNing than any of the rulescurricula, syllabi, and exams – that govern the most classrooms.  Thomas Edison was once asked by one of his laboratory attendants: “Mr. Edison, tell me what rules you want to observe?”  The great inventor replied crisply: “There ain’t no rules around here.  We’re tryin’ to accomplish somethin.'”  Exactly what that “somethin'” might be in the classroom should be determined through collaboration between educator and learners.  If everyone listens to each other, then they will learn to value their “childlike heart.”
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Risk-taking (quotes)
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None of these ideas can make my fourteen-year-old niece’s search for a good education any easier, as she decides whether to find a new school or stay at her existing one.  But at least by listening to her “childlike heart,” she might sustain her motivation; if she can find like-minded people to work with in any type of institution (the home, at school, in a private course, or wherever), then perhaps she can recognize the value of LEARNing.
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LEARNing vs TEACHing 02
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Maybe we should all recognize the importance of this.
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Laurence Raw

(aka @laurenceraw on Twitter)
Baskent University – Ankara, Turkey
Editor: Journal of American Studies of Turkey
http://baskent.academia.edu/LaurenceRaw
http://www.radiodramareviews.com

How to MOTIVATE your LEARNers…finally the “Magic Bullet” (from heaven)!

In Adult Educators, Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning on 10/06/2013 at 10:06 am

Whatever was I thunking…yesterday?

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I mean…come on…we all LOVE:

Magic

…well, at least “magic bullets“! Don’t we?

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Herhalde, yani!

If I put a post out there with the title “The best kept secret…of how to MOTIVATE your LEARNers!” – of course, everyone is going to open it up. Even my daughter took a peek…

And…curse me to high heaven…for not delivering!

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My daughter giggled…by the way!

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Now, a lot of you probably thought I was going to start banging on about “intrinsic” or “extrinsic” motivation…or at least…come up with a “third way”

Motivation (a third way)

…I did consider it! Even “hygiene“…

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A few of you might have even hoped for some insight from one of the “newer” theories of motivationyou know like

Motivation (16 Desires from Reiss)

Come on! Least it’s better that something from the 1950s…or 60s!

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I get a lot of these ideas from Steven’s (wonderful) bookI really do.

BUT, I’m not so sure I want all my learners being motivated by romance or sex…let alone “vengence“! These themes would make for some very interesting lessons plans…and I’d love to see a CELTA assessor evaluate a class like that and keep one of those dead-pan faces they are so fond of!

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Some of you…go on admit it…probably thunked that I would jump on the “Pink Band Wagon” and produce an image like this:

Motivation (Dan Pink)

Dan has had far too much press coverage already! 

I even have a link to his blog on mine!

I have to admit…I do love Dan’s work (go on…click on the picture or have a look at the video from RSA) – lots of common sense…common sense (in truth) that has been around for many, many years…we just ain’t heard it properly!

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Actually, I did kinda “hint” at the very nature of…

The SECRET (logo 02)

…in an earlier post.

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You know, the one when I told you my “3 other secrets”:

3 things from 30 years

I know, I know…perhaps, I did not spell it out as clearly as I could.

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So, I guess the time has come…time to spill the beans…tell you the location of the holy grail…open the doors to the Vatican’s vault

The SECRET (logo 01)

…time to tell you the secret of all secrets!

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Are you ready?

And, remember I am going against the advice of one of my heroes here… – in addition to risking the wrath of the brotherhood!

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I really do feel like Acun…right now…I do!

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Drum roll…

Drums (electronic)

…we are, afterall, 21st Century EDUcators…

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The SECRET…the one nobody (well, very few people) tells us about is simply this

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The SECRET (Really, really)

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Yes, I told you that this would bake your noodle!

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BUT…

Motivation (doggie thunk)

…for a day or two!

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Or…just use the “comment” box to swear at me…or threaten the life of my darling wife and first-born child – who is still giggling!

 

LEARNer Motivation …the best kept SECRET… “EVER”!

In Adult Learners, Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning on 09/06/2013 at 4:16 pm

The SECRET (logo 01)

I’m guessing “this”… is why you have dropped into the ole blog today, ehh?

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I’m assuming, for a start, you have not come here…for:

The SECRET (Victoria)

…BUT, then again!

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Rather…”motivated” by my little tease of a blog post title, you are after…

The SECRET (logo 02)

…of motivating your students…your LEARNers!

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Are you sure…? I have been doing a lot of this business lately – you know:

Truth (mini ver 02)

You know what they say about “getting” what you “wish” for…

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The thing is…with this one, I might end up having to agree with Jack Nicholson:

Handle the truth

…I really do!

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I mean…what happens, if you are disappointed by:

The SECRET (logo 02)

After all…all that glitters is not gold, my friends!

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When you hear it…you might just thunk:

The SECRET (Expletive)

…and never come back to the blog…EVER!

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I wouldn’t want that to happen…I care about you all too deeply for that!

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I don’t know…don’t know what to do…really don’t…

Gamification 08 (exploding head upgrade)Let me sleep on it…then, I’ll decide!

…and then, do it all again…on TUESDAY morning?

In Educational Leadership, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 08/12/2011 at 12:52 pm

In my last post (the 150th, remember) – I asked Troy Roddy if I could re-post his thunks on Motivating Teachers…and said I’d follow-up with some of my own…

What I liked about Troy’s post was the way he drew attention to the emotional side of motivation – and highlighted that TEACHing and LEARNing are frequently about more than “money” (the “usual carrot” so many “motivational experts” talk about). I also liked the fact that his understanding of allthingsmotivation was not about the “usual sticks” (used by those educational supervisors or managers who are, shall we say, “less endowed” in the “consciousness department”)!

 

Troy’s conceptualisation of motivation is firmed grounded on the power of “care” – and creating the conditions for improved “TEACHer engagement“, even when we do those tasks that do not give us the “buzz” we get from LEARNing and TEACHing

A lot of people seemed to like the “title” I used for the post – don’t we all just know those Monday morning feelings? That title actually came from a question I posed to a group of “new” heads at a School here in Turkey a few weeks back.

The question was:

Actually, if you “lead” a team of teachers yourself – you might want to do a version of the “little exercise” we did together. Get a slip of paper of paper (or open up a spreadsheet) and set up 4 columns:

1. Write down the names of all your teachers in the first.

2. Next to their names (in column #2) write down the qualifications they hold and the years of experience they have as a teacher.

3. In the next column, write down their birthday – and the names of all their “peeps” (partner’s name, kids’ names, name of any pets they have, etc)…

4. In the “final” column, answer the question above!

See where I am going with this?

 

Most people, when they do this type of exercise, do well on parts #1 and #2 – those who tend to do a really good job with their teams also do #3 pretty well. But, by far the most effective of “school leaders” can also complete column #4 as fast as they can draw up #1

Why is this?

 

Simple, you can’t “care” unless you know what to care about – with “individuals” (not just a “group” – or what you “think” the “group” cares about)! Isn’t that what “great doctors” do – care – one patient at a time (even with the most “grumpy” or “difficult” of patients)?

Isn’t that what “great teachers” do, too?

And, you can’t “motivate” people unless you can do “stuff” (useful stuff) with what you know about those individuals…

 

 

But, and here’s the deal, this is not really about “motivating” people!

Remember, the “secret” I shared with you all yesterday (it’s actually also embedded in Stephen Covey’s quote up the top there) – I still maintain it’s true!

For sure, MaslowHerzberg – and even Reiss, do a great job of telling us about what might “matter” to most of our peeps – and there are loads more “theories of motivation” to get through (especially if you are an insomniac)! We can also bone up on Tuckman’s Team Development Model (and even review The Five Stages of Grief – from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, if we are wondering what the hell is going wrong with all our “change” initiatives)!

The problem is that all these wonderful theories – don’t tell us much about how to “do motivation” with each and every individual we “lead”! I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say all most of the stuff we “read” (and are “told” by over-paid consultants) is “crap” – sorry!

OK – maybe that is a bit too “stong”! But, I for one would probably not get too excited about buying the book:

 

However, I might stand in line all night (with me sleeping bag and pot of coffee) for this one:

You see when we talk about “motivating teachers” perhaps what we should be thunking is “engaging” them instead – and “care” is the starting point of all engagement strategies.

We all get this for “students”, right?

So, why is it any different for “teachers”?

 

Now, you might say – Tony, just stop playing with words!

I say – Covey got it right – and all this rubbish about “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” is just that – rubbish!

There are far better “sources” for LEARNing about motivation (backed by research for all you “data-lovers”) – and most of them are just good ole common sense (and do not require that you sign up for an MBA or conduct a two-year, longitudinal, quantative, dead-as-a-doornail, PhD research project on what makes my people “tick” – that no-one will read or worse, cite!).

 

Let’s go back to that earlier questionwhy the hell do we get out of bed in the morning?

Common-sense tells us that we all have to pay the rent, cover the bills and feed the kids. Basically, we have to accept that most people go to work for the “dosh” at the end of the month. This is not a crimethis is not evil…and this does not mean that all teachers will scream out “Show Me The Money!” when we come up with an idea or two for improving student LEARNing and SUCCESS (if that’s what we are really, really after)…

Teachers are also in the “game” for a number of reasons – and, luckily, most of us can relate these to student LEARNing:

Common-sense!

 

This tells me, at least, that all those theories about “carrots” and “sticks” (especially these) – are just “dumb”! OK – you might be able to disregard my thunks (most people do)! But, let’s see what some of the “data” says…

Those lovely chaps at GALLUP (you know, the guys that tell us who will win the elections just before and after we vote – and before they are “stolen” by the guy we did not vote for) have been doing a “tiny” research project – for the last 30+ years and with around about …17,500,000 employees!

Some of the stuff they have uncovered is pretty “scary”:

And, you know what else?

OMG!

Now, I know these numbers come from a wide range of employment sectots – and I hope to God the numbers for education are a bit lower – they do suggest that the problem is not one of “motivation” and certainly not of what we can do to “motivate others“.

What’s more interesting is the other side of the GALLUP project – by working with that “tiny sample” of theirs, they have also come up with a set of “magic questions”the Q12! These 12 little questions were “discovered” after the girls and boys at GALLUP sifted through the hundreds of questions (in hundreds of surveys) they “tried out” for the project.

What they found was a fair bit of correlation  between those people that were “most engaged” – and also most “productive“, most “satisfied“, most “customer-orientated“, most “loyal“……do I really need to go on?

And, you know what…not one of the Q12 was about “dosh”!

 

Some of the most critical questions are (hell, I’ll give you ALL of them):

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?

3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?

5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?

8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?

9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?

10. Do I have a best friend at work?

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?

12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

 

Take a look at them – and tell me which ones focus on “the currency of care”

Also, go back and take a look at the “numbers” we noted above – and tell me if you can’t see a slight correlation between the 24% and the other numbers

Sure, there are some things there about “role clarification” and “resources” – duh! We don’t ask a plumber to fix our water pipes – and then hide his bloody tools!

Troy got this in nearly all his suggestions about ways to help teachers get on with the less “sexy” bits of carrying out the business of teaching – but I’m guessing it is the “way” he does many of these things that is more important than many of the actions themselves.

I say again, the vast majority of the Q12 questions focus on care, LEARNing and care…..BTW, did I mention “CARE”!

 

Oh, dear – gone over me word limit again!

Just tell me it makes sense…

OK, and to wrap up, let’s go back to that other book I’m probably not going to write. My version of Engaging Teachers for DUMMIES would have three chapters…

  • Chapter One – KNOW THYSELF!
  • Chapter Two – KNOW THY PEEPS!
  • Chapter Three – KNOW WHAT “MATTERS” and JUST DO IT!

What about YOURS?

Why do teachers get out of bed…especially on MONDAY morning?

In Educational Leadership, Guest BLOGGERS on 07/12/2011 at 12:35 pm

Those lovely “happiness engineers” at WordPress (I still love that “job title” – and trust me I have been writing a fair few job descriptions of late…) told me that this bit of scribble would be my 150th post!

Jesus, Mary and Josephso soon? It seems like only yesterday that I was trying to work out what a bloody blog was and if I had the balls to “go public” with some of my deeper, darker thoughts…on allthingslearning!

So, I had a good thunk to meself …have to do something specialsomething memorable… something uplifting!

Didn’t have bloody clue!

 

Of course, the sensible…and politically-correct thing to do is say…

That goes without saying…and I do not have to fake “humility” or note how “blessed” I am! If you guys had not bothered to hit a key, move a mouse to an icon or tap a link on your iPads… the bottom line is that I would have probably packed up me troubles in me old kit bag …and gone back to the library!

Or, would I?

I actually started allthingslearning to reduce the number of e-mail attachments I was sending to teachers on some “train-the-trainer” programmes we were running here in Ankara…but I also realised that I was also doing it for “me”.

I had a lot I wanted to “say” (my wife has been saying this for years), I enjoy “sharing” (some say too much – they have done for years)…and I do (in my heart of hearts) believe that LEARNing (and THUNKing) is the only way we can move education ahead!

At the end of the day, blogging is all about “motivation” – not just “numbers” or “hits”!

Bit like TEACHing, really!

 

I hear the Huffington Post gets around 15,000,000 “unique monthly visitors” – per bloody month (not sure what that means – something about people who eat cookies – but it’s a heck of a lot of “hits”)! WordPress itself gets just over 140,000,000 similar visits!

The thing is that a big chunk of these numbers are the result of people who are motivated to LEARN and motivated to support the LEARNing of others.

So, this post is about:

Finally, he gets to the point!

 

In a recent post (or series of posts, actually) I made a pretty “bold statement” – I said the “big SECRET” about allthingsmotivation is that:

Now, a couple of you “disagreed” with mequite strongly, in some cases…but, as me dad used to say “It takes all sorts, lad”!

That’s OK – I could be “wrong” and to prove how “tolerant” I am of the ideas of others, I did a quick search for some ideas…thoughts about “motivating teachers”.

I now find myself owing a couple more people another word of “thanks”…for LEARNing me so much!

One of these is Troy Roddy…and his great blog, The Art of Education (a blog that I discovered only yesterday). He is a bit like me…a real “LEARNing buff” with a keen interest in allthingsleadership. As I was flicking through blog posts and articles…I stumbled upon one of Troy’s posts from July of this year – Motivating Teachers.

Troy had drawn on the work of Daniel Hocam (the “Pinks” of Phi Beta Kappa and ex-speech writer for Al Gore) – gotta love a guy that gives a shout out to his “thinking peeps” (and Pink is one of the best thinking peeps I know)!

I liked the post so much that I asked Troy for permission to re-post it – so happy he obliged. It is a great read…and I’ll save some of my own thunks for post #151!

Motivating Teachers – TROY RODDY

 

By far, my most popular post is the one I wrote about the three pillars that uphold a student-centered culture.  In that post, and on my “3 pillars” Prezi, I explain how communication, a growth mindset, and motivation help keep your school focused on student achievement

That post was mostly written with students in mind, but as educational leaders, we also need to apply those same concepts to teachers.  In this post, I explore the motivation “pillar” from administration/teacher point of view.  As with the “3 pillars” post, I am using Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us  as the basis for these thoughts.

Let’s start by examining a few observations about the “work” involved in teaching.

  1. Teaching, as a job, requires one to use a wide range of skills.  It is not a factory job at which you do one task over and over again.
  2. Some of the tasks teachers perform are routine and do not require much in the way of higher order thinking.
  3. The task at hand should determine your motivation strategy.
  4. Educators, for the most part, are underpaid.  That makes an impact on their lives, and therefore, performance over time.
  5. In the absence of cash, what other “currency” is valued and available to distribute?

 


Teaching, as a job, requires one to use a wide range of skills. It is not a factory job at which you do one task over and over again.

Teaching, at least the model needed today, cannot be effective in a factory model.  Teachers must also bring a more artful approach to education.  Content knowledge, which was once the key ingredient to great teaching, is only one factor among many.  Effective teachers are flexible, imaginative, innovative, empathetic, and passionate.  These are not the qualities needed on an assembly line where following a detailed procedure of manufacturing is necessary (and also cheaper overseas!).

Therefore, motivating teachers must include clarifying their purpose (cause) and providing them the autonomy (independence) to develop mastery.  If the work of teachers was simply low level thinking and routine manual work, then financial incentives (bonuses, rewards for finishing a textbook unit, etc.) would be another effective alternative.

Some of the tasks teachers perform are routine and do not require much in the way of higher order thinking.

I find that I am trying to motivate teachers more directly when the work in question is very routine.  For example, getting grades and comments done on time for report card publication.  These less “teaching” tasks are often the ones that drive administrators crazy – much more than any real issues in the classroom.  The issue here is that these tasks are, admittedly, boring and take teachers away from what they do best – TEACH.

Because these tasks are routine, the strategies used to motivate results need to align with the task.  In other words, these tasks generally fall in the category for which some external motivation may be helpful.  Autonomy may not be an option because the reports, for example, must be completed in a standard format.  In these situations, finding the appropriate “currency” desired by teachers can provide the needed motivation to get the job done well and on time.


The task at hand should determine your motivation strategy.

As I suggest above, awareness of the type of task you need to address will guide which type of motivation strategies you should consider.  Routine tasks usually improve with external motivators.  Higher level tasks involving creativity and innovation are supported best by autonomy, purpose, and mastery.


Educators, for the most part, are underpaid.  That makes an impact on their lives, and therefore, performance over time.

Here is what I believe:

Teachers are greatly appreciated.  That appreciation take many forms.  Most educators do not get paid a salary that allows them to not need to worry about paying the bills.  For what teachers provide for their communities and our nation, a higher standard of living is deserved and, in my opinion, has been earned.  Of course, I am an educator and maybe a little biased :), but that is what I believe.

The issue with motivation strategies is that because money cannot and hasn’t been “taken off the table” it is always a concern.  This concern has an impact on the innovation, imagination, willingness to try new methods, etc.  Autonomy, purpose, and mastery will always be fighting against safety, compliance, and security when teachers are facing the tax collector and bills are due.

I am not implying that teachers need an outrageous salary that makes them completely free of financial concern.  What I am suggesting is that if teachers are thinking, “I need this job to pay the bills” more than they are thinking, “I need this job to fulfill my desire to teach and serve this community,” then adjustments to salaries may be a good strategy to motivate teachers to be better at teaching the way we need them to in the 21st century.


In the absence of cash, what other “currency” is valued and available to distribute?

This final point is one I like because often schools, administrators, and educational leaders only focus on money as the “currency” by which to engage educators.  Finding other valuable commodities hidden throughout your school may provide simple, effective, and cheap alternatives to help motivate teachers.

In my experience, outside of money, teachers value time and space.  Look for ways to use both.

Here are a few “currencies” I have used to help motivate teachers.

  • Providing food and drinks at faculty meetings.
  • Taking teachers to lunch (or paying for their lunch with colleagues).
  • “Thank you” notes and emails.
  • Substitute teaching for them to give them time to grade papers, write comments, or observe other teachers.
  • Find better space for them to work outside of class (reserve space in library, give up my office, reserve an off-campus site).

In conclusion, motivating teachers requires an artful approach and an awareness of the types of work being done.  Having motivational strategies that align with the work is important.