Thursday, January 23, 2014

What Motivates Learners to Want to Learn?

Have you ever wondered about motivation and what motivates us to learn? Kathleen Cushman presented in our Personalize Learning Webinar Series on Tues. January 21st by explaining that you start by drawing a straight line between... 
  1. what young people tell us about their learning experiences; 
  2. your own practice as educators and; 
  3. compelling scientific research into mind, brain, and education. 
Then she shared the eight simple rules of thumb that help us create the conditions for high motivation and high levels of mastery in the your learning environments! 

Kathleen invited four learners to share how they feel about learning:

Jason wants Somewhere Safe That I Can Be  - I Have to Feel Okay

I’m not from what you would call maybe the best neighborhood, but I think like here it’s like somewhere safe where I can be, like if I need to stay after school one time because I don’t wanna go home or I need to stay after school because I don’t feel like taking the bus. There’s people here that are easy to talk to, and it’s not like a setting where you have to limit yourself to what you’re seeing. It’s like more of you can be open with the person. We have this thing called crew, and we have a saying, “What’s said in crew stays in crew.” 

Amanda and The Green Car Project - It Matters

I took a class about fueling the car for tomorrow 'cause New York taxis wanna go green ’cause we’re running out of oil. And it really didn’t interest me at the beginning ’cause I didn’t care about cars ’cause I usually take the train. But once we like started to learn that mostly everything that you use uses oil and we’re at some time gonna run out, . . . we learned different approaches to different fuels. It was really interesting to see what fuel was better and what fuel’s gonna work and . . . how’s the economy and everybody's gonna be affected. 

Maranda Being Sixteen in Different Cultures - It's Active

I took an anthropology course called “Sixteen.” We had to be anthropologists and create a documentary on what it’s like being 16. It could have been sports, relationships, authenticity on being a 16 year old. It could’ve been anything. We went to this place where we had dim sum. And, it was very different. We had chicken feet—that was one of the main things that really stuck out to people. But the purpose of it was to step out of our preferences, step out of our person, you know—alleviate and completely, rid of our biases and take a look at something from an outside perspective.

Rashaun You Gotta Keep Going -- It Stretches Me

A coach, he knows what limits to push you to, and what limits you gotta work hard to. I feel teachers know when not to push you over the limit, but they know when you’re not workin’ at your hardest point, so that they will push you. I’m in a band at our school, and my teacher helps us with the singin’—I sometimes get to a point when I’m just like, “You know, I can’t push. That note’s too high.” And he’s like, “It’s well within your range. You gotta keep goin’ at it.” And I’m like, “Really, I can’t do this.” and eventually I keep pushin’ at it. I go through all the cracks in the voice until finally it comes through and I get it.

Kathleen Cushman just let us know in the webinar that The Motivation Equation is now a free ibook that you can download. It tells the story how Ned’s Gr8 8 conditions show up in classrooms like yours. It’s filled with audio and video of actual teachers, learners, and learning scientists commenting on the highly motivating lessons these teachers came up with. Check out Kathleen's guest post...

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