Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Increase Intrinsic Student Motivation

 Last year one of my students, Casey, came into my class on the first day of school and proudly announced, “I hate reading. I’m not good at it. I hate your class!” All of this on the first day before she even let me introduce myself!! 
    I thanked her for sharing, and promised her she would not feel like that at the end of the year.  She promptly rolled her eyes, muttered, “yea, right!”,  and slouched in her chair.
    When the day came for the Truth Statement Activity, the first item Casey put on her list was “I hate reading!” I helped her change this statement into, “I work hard at learning to like reading.” She looked at me like I was crazy stating that it wasn’t true, and it never would be! I smiled and told her it would be, just give it time!
    From that point forward, anytime she had to read something, I would have her write her Truth Statement at the top of the passage, or on a paper near by.  I then made her say it out loud (trust me, there were tons and tons of eye rolls, but begrudgingly did it.) Little by little and day by day she worked hard on her reading assignments; learning to work hard at something that did not come easy to her.
    When it came time for end of year state test, I hugged her, told her she was going to do amazing, and that all of her hard work on learning to like reading will pay off! Before she started her test, she wrote her truth statement on the front cover of the booklet, and off she went.  Casey annotated all over the passages, highlighted key words in her questions, and put so much effort into checking over her work.  To say I was proud is an understatement!
    When the scores came back a couple of days later, Casey grew 23 points! She went from a level one to a proficient level three! Through the repetition of telling herself she was going to work hard, she did, and it paid off big time!
    Students walk into our classroom with years of baggage.  While we would like them to have experienced the best teachers, positive parenting, and great friends, this is not often the case.  I believe our number one job as educators is to help students discover their purpose in life, and to nurture and encourage these discoveries.  

We have to turn their negative self talk into positive truth statements that will help them grow, learn, and discover. This activity, when reinforced daily, will do just that! 

 Happy Teaching,

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