How to motivate primary and middle school students

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This is a talk for primary school teacher education students in Guangzhou, China. It begins with an analysis of the question about motivation and then considers to theoretical approaches to answering the question.

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How to motivate primary and middle school students

  1. 1. How to motivate students (primary & middle school) Dr Robert Shaw School of Management Guangdong University of Foreign Studies Wednesday 21 May 2014, 2 pm
  2. 2. Teachers’ Law of the People’s Republic of China Article 7 Teachers shall enjoy the following rights: (1) to conduct educational and teaching activities and carry out reform and experiment in education and teaching; (2) to engage in scientific research and academic exchanges, join professional academic societies and fully express their views in academic activities …
  3. 3. Today 1. The question asked 2. Teaching-learning in the west 3. William James 4. Traditional teaching methods & motivation 5. John Dewey & China 6. Modern education & motivation
  4. 4. Question asked How should teachers motivate primary and middle school students to learn English effectively?
  5. 5. Questions asked The question suggests: 1. Precision: middle students, English, effectively 2. Motivation is separate aspect of pedagogy 3. A model of teaching-learning 4. A silver bullet
  6. 6. There are no silver bullets in education
  7. 7. There are no silver bullets in education
  8. 8. The silver bullet 1. Simple questions do not have simple answers 2. Teachers sometimes look for “tips” that will help them in the classroom tomorrow 3. China needs teachers who are both: a. Trained in practical skills b. Educated
  9. 9. What de-motivates students? 1. Rote learning (drills, memorising) 2. Meaningless material 3. Learning without a goal 4. Fatigue
  10. 10. What de-motivates students? 1. De-motivated = bored 2. What do students find boring?
  11. 11. Teaching-learning in the west: two approaches to education 1. Traditional approach 2. Modern way 3. . 4. . 5. .
  12. 12. Teaching-learning in the west: two approaches to education 1. Traditional approach 2. Modern way 3. These ideas apply to all student grades/levels 4. Different theorists and teachers develop these two approaches in various ways 5. William James (traditional) & John Dewey (modern)
  13. 13. Traditional approach 1. Ideas about schooling came from the family and the army 2. Professional teachers 3. Scientific approach 4. Needs of mass education 5. William James was influential
  14. 14. William James 1. American 2. 1842 – 1910 3. Philosopher, psychologist, physician 4. Pragmatist
  15. 15. 1. Comprehensive textbook 2. Operant conditioning 3. Attention 4. Motivation
  16. 16. Examinations
  17. 17. How do we motivate students? Traditional approach 1. Positive reinforcement a. Rewards for success, rubber stamps b. Kind comments c. Stars, certificates, notes to parents 2. Negative reinforcement a. Punishments b. Negative comments
  18. 18. Two kinds of motivation 1. External motivation a. Motivation based on something external to the task itself b. Operant rewards & punishments c. Examination learning is an example 2. Internal motivation a. Motivation that comes from within the student’s relationship to the task b. Learning because you love to learn c. Learning incidental to some activity
  19. 19. Modern approach 1. New goals: thinking, creativity, originality 2. Education as a way of life 3. Humanistic approach 4. Needs of the individual 5. John Dewey was influential
  20. 20. John Dewey 1. American 2. 1859-1952 3. Philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer 4. Advocate for pragmatism & liberalism
  21. 21. 1. Thinking is like breathing 2. Reflective thinking is what is important 3. We cannot require it of students 4. All we can do is set up the right conditions
  22. 22. The On-going Dance of John Dewey and China: A Western Philosopher becomes a Second Confucius 西风东渐化孔子,今世 前缘谈杜威
  23. 23. 1919-1921 Columbia University Student Hu Shih became a leader in the New Culture Movement Arrived a few days after 4 May 1919 Effect on university leadership
  24. 24. John Dewey
  25. 25. American children are taught the list of ‘modern’ inventions that originated in China. They are not taught, however, that China invented the boycott, the general strike and guild organization as means of controlling public affairs.
  26. 26. Modern approach - motivation 1. Motivation relates to curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation 2. Internal motivation best 3. Let them learn 4. Child centred 5. Encourage and support
  27. 27. Modern approach – in China
  28. 28. 38 Curriculum What you teach Evaluation How you assess Pedagogy How you teach
  29. 29. 39 Textbook What you teach Examination How you assess Teacher How you teach Traditional education
  30. 30. The three evils of teaching 40 1. Curriculum 2. Evaluation 3. Pedagogy
  31. 31. The three evils of teaching 41 1. Curriculum Textbooks 2. Evaluation Examinations 3. Pedagogy Desks
  32. 32. The harm done by textbooks 42 Textbooks 1. Kill student motivation 2. Stop the teacher from developing 3. Freeze the curriculum 4. Give a foreign view of what is important
  33. 33. 43 Artwork by Qiu Ying 仇英 c.1540 Civil service examination candidates wait for officials to post their marks
  34. 34. 44
  35. 35. The harm done by examinations 45 Examinations 1. Kill long-term student motivation 2. Reinforce external motivation 3. Make education unjust for students 4. Waste time and energy 5. Focus on low order skills (next slides)
  36. 36. 46 Benjamin Bloom
  37. 37. The harm done by desks 49 Desk layouts 1. Say who is in control – teacher centred 2. Limit the forms of motivation available 3. Levels the student experience
  38. 38. 50
  39. 39. 51
  40. 40. 52
  41. 41. 53 1. Reinforces the idea the teacher is the authority 2. Undermines student confidence 3. Make us teach classes & not individuals 4. Limit our teaching methods (tutorials)
  42. 42. Pedagogy for motivation 1. Be a creative thinker yourself 2. Do not teach English Set up the conditions for thinking and encourage the students to work in English 3. Projects based on the students’ interests 4. Ask students to keep a personal glossary 5. Reward, reward, reward ……
  43. 43. Curriculum for motivation 1. Enquiries / research in English 2. The safety poster 3. The nature walk 4. Teach an elder or a friend 5. Personal communications - blog, Skype, email
  44. 44. Thank you

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