Kathleen’s work - Fires in the Bathroom - What Kids Can Do - produced in collaboration with young people - makes voice of youth public Almost 3 years ago - internship coordinator at ISA - host Kathleen’s visits to school - Practice Project Reading lots of new and exciting work from cognitive psychologists and educational neuroscientists about motivation and mastery As always decided to go straight to the kids to explore some of these same questions about their learning . And so in the course of this project she’s asked hundreds of adolescent students, all around the United States . . . CLICK “What does it take to get really good at something?”
That brings up two big issues that we as educators worry about a lot: PAUSE FIRST: What makes young people WANT to take on a learning challenge? PAUSE and SECOND: What and how do young people need to PRACTICE, if we want them to master the knowledge, skills, and the habits they’re going to need throughout their lives. CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
So at the beginning of the Practice Project Kathleen and the kids really dug into the question of what it means to be “good” at something. PAUSE Educators refer to this as mastery ... and cognitive researchers often call it “expertise” -- but with the kids she just called it “getting good.” Kathleen started by asking the students to share examples of things they were good at in order to unpack what it means to get good CLICK through 4 examples on next 4 slides
Here’s how we did that, in our Practice Project-- and by the way, you can do this project with your students, too! CLICK for next slide
Tell me about something you already do really well (in school or out) What first got you interested in that thing? What was hardest when you first started? Who did you look up to and ask for help? What made you keep doing it even though it was hard ? Once you got pretty good at it, what made you want to keep getting even better? CLICK for next slide
Then she taught the students some basic interview techniques and had them ask those very same questions of adults who they thought were experts at what they did -- fixing cars or surgery or playing an instrument -- or teaching school . . CLICK for next slide
NEXT . . . the students compared the process the experts described to their own experience getting better at things . . . and they saw that they had a lot in common -- in how they thought about things , and in how they actually did their work . (We’ll come back to that later on.) CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
AND FINALLY , we asked ourselves -- Is anything SIMILAR about getting good at things OUTSIDE of school, like basketball, and IN school, like math? CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
In comparing all of those examples -- adults and young people, out of school and in school -- there were two factors that always had to be present before any of us start to WANT to DO or LEARN something . . . You have to VALUE it CLICK for VALUE -- that is, it matters to you somehow -- (and don’t forget, that value can come from anywhere--being with particular people you admire , or using the knowledge in a way that’s important to you . . . it CAN come from the substance of the material itself, like math . . . but it doesn’t need to, in order for us to attach value to doing it ) . . . PAUSE And at the same time, in order to want to do something , you need to EXPECT CLICK for x EXPECTATION on next slide
that you CAN succeed at what you’re trying to do! THAT COMBINATION is what makes all of us WANT to start something and to keep at it when it gets hard! CLICK for = MOTIVATION on NEXT SLIDE
Sparkle is happening! The huge insight from this . . . Motivation ISN’T something you have FIRST -- it’s the PRODUCT of these two other factors!! CLICK for NEXT SLIDE with complete equation
ANY time we really listen closely to people talk about wanting to learn something , we hear these two FACTORS of Value and Expectation come up. Remember -- if either factor is ZERO , the product -- Motivation -- will turn out to be ZERO , too! CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
Let’s listen to a few more students, and see if YOU can identify either FACTOR -- value or expectation -- in what they’re saying to us. Darrian is describing watching an artist at work on a painting-- CLICK : “Wow! you can’t do that yet, but maybe someday...” -- Neither factor is ZERO, is it? Ruben’s dad is an auto mechanic in San Antonio CLICK (father gets him started on cars, “I can do everything”) -- Again, neither factor is ZERO... Rachel is talking about working out a math problem in a small group CLICK “I think I can do this now...” Someone has helped Rachel get to the point where she can expect to be able to do it! CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
[New point] Their motivation isn’t just about getting started--it’s about keeping going! So when Kathleen asked young people what helped them stick with something through the long hard period of practice -- on the way to getting really good at it, here’s what they said . . . CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
Here’s RJ, from San Diego, talking about a robotics project he got involved in CLICK [talks about social experience with others] CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
This is Lonya, from Chicago CLICK - hater-motivator CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
This is Tysheena, an 8th grade ballroom dancer from New York CLICK - climactic moments of achievement, in competition CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
When Umma was in 7th grade, she hated to read. She said it took her 30 minutes to read a 8 page book. But in ninth grade, a girlfriend got her hooked on vampires! CLICK - fun, reading CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
And here’s Tysheena’s dance partner, Dan CLICK - inner win In different ways, these kids are all talking about the kind of motivation that comes from inside us , aren’t they-- not from people telling us what to do ! -- PAUSE -- Nonetheless, there’s one more absolutely critical ingredient that brings us to a high level of performance . CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
That element is practice . . . . CLICK But not just any practice , it turns out. It has to be a certain kind , which researchers call . . . CLICK “deliberate” practice. CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
Like most of us, kids GET the idea of this special kind of practice -- because they’ve experienced it already , in all kinds of things they learn ... many of them outside of school. For example, let’s listen to Tacara compare her favorite hobby, cartooning, to getting better at softball. CLICK FOR AUDIO. All Quotes & Photos automatic once audio begins. First photo appears with audio. DON’T read list aloud! As Kathleen and the kids had these conversations, they began to understand why researchers draw important distinctions between what they call DELIBERATE practice and other related activities-- work, performance, play, rote repetition --which will NOT automatically improve performance. It’s not necessarily enjoyable . But it has certain elements that make it EFFECTIVE, whether you’re learning cartooning, or softball, or ballroom dance . And it also is effective in the classroom . Let’s take a look. CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
In their conversations with Kathleen, the students -- like researchers -- began to draw important distinctions between DELIBERATE practice and other related activities-- work, performance, play, rote repetition --which will NOT automatically improve performance. Express Purpose -- Claude then Vivian, talking about their homework assignments CLICK for Claude -- Then CLICK for Vivian -- Then CLICK for NEXT SLIDE and BULLET/PHOTO -- AUTOMATIC
Involves attention and focus -- Again, here’s Claude CLICK for AUDIO -- Then CLICK for NEXT SLIDE and BULLET/PHOTO -- AUTOMATIC
Geared to the individual -- Of course, any particular task will be easy for som e of us and hard for others . CLICK for CLAUDE AUDIO then CLICK for CHRISTINA AUDIO then CLICK for NEXT SLIDE and BULLET/PHOTO -- AUTOMATIC
Repetition or rehearsal are also an essential part of deliberate practice. Here’s Christian talking about how he memorizes artworks for his AP Art History class. CLICK for AUDIO CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
Let’s not forget, deliberate practice is designed to lead to new knowledge and skills CLICK for NEXT SLIDE
S tudents THEMSELVES say these 4 things matter most to them when it comes to motivation and high performance : CLICK for First, that we understand and analyze their strengths-- CLICK for Second, that we help them connect with accomplished adults to see how they got good at what they do -- CLICK for Third, that we infuse VALUE and the EXPECTATION of SUCCESS into everything we ask of students -- and CLICK for Fourth, that we think hard together about what IS and IS NOT deliberate practice . -- PAUSE -- By taking up these questions of motivation , practice , and high-level performance , we -- in a joint effort with the young people at our sides -- can make our own the compelling research about how we all develop as learners and people. As we’ve seen and heard today , we can bring this powerful understanding into our work with youth every day-- just by asking them to think about it with us. Here’s Denise from Oakland, California CLICK for Denise audio & photo STARTS AUTOMATICALLY
Thank you very much! I look forward to talking with you about your questions and ideas, when you stop by our blog at Fires in the Mind dot O-R-G! CLICK for final slide with book cover, website, funder
Fires in the Mind
FIRES IN THE MIND What Students Can Tell Us About Motivation and Mastery
What does it take to get really good at something?
Think about one thing you’ve practiced in your life <ul><li>What drew you to it? What value did you put on it? </li></ul><ul><li>What made you feel you could succeed at it? </li></ul><ul><li>What motivated you to keep going when it got hard? </li></ul>
What makes students keep at a challenging task?
Steady and satisfying work (often with others) What makes us keep at it?
The hater or the motivator What makes us keep at it?
The thrill of competition What makes us keep at it?