Monday, 30 March 2020

Student Engagement & Motivation: A Few Tips!

Although there is significant research/evidence/readings about engagement and motivation individually, there is also an clear link between the two. I'm sure many would agree, that students are likely to be more motivated in the classroom to complete tasks, asks for help, aim for success, if they are engaged in their learning. This seems obvious, but unfortunately can be easier said than done to achieve. I am struggling to motivate some students, struggling to engage some students, and struggling to motivate AND engage others. As a result, I decided to complete some research on tips to increase student engagement and motivation.

For your reference, these are the articles and videos I read/watched and have summarised;

Key Points Related to Engagement:
  • Provide students with a sense of ownership
  • Give opportunities for student choice
  • Use activities that promote curiosity
  • It's important to build connections between home and school (see how I'm trying to create positive connections here)
  • Give explanations/insight into why the students are learning those things/completing those tasks, the bigger picture
  • Learning needs to be adaptable to reflect differences in student needs
  • Include tasks that encourage group work and collaboration

Key Points Related to Motivation:
  • Teacher expectations need to be positive, high and realistic (see high expectations blogpost here)
  • Quality of Knowledge > Quantity of Knowledge
  • "Students' motivation is strongest when they believe they are socially accepted by teachers and peers and their school environment is fair, trustworthy and centred on concern for everyone's welfare." (The Education Hub) 
  • Make links between the learning, and students' overall/ongoing goals
  • Students need to feel confident that they can meet the level of challenge and have the skills needed for a task, in order to feel they can be successful
  • Rather than comparing to others, encourage students to focus on personal improvement
  • Provide ongoing, reinforcing, positive feedback
  • Actually discuss what motivation is, why it is important and what strategies can be employed to increase motivation


A quote to finish, from Rob's YouTube video, that left me thinking...

"When things are too dull and too easy, the students get bored. And we know that when the work is too difficult, and too confusing, the students get frustrated. Both of these situations led to students switching off..."

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Teachers, A Tip: You Can Always Be Better!

This week during our department meeting, we had a rapid PD on 'reflective practice'. This article delves more deeply into what reflective teaching actually is, which I recommend reading whether you are a student teacher, or you've been in the profession for years! Spalding describes reflective teaching as "a more systematic process of collecting, recording and analysing a teacher's thoughts and observations, as well as those of their students, and then going on to making changes". According to Dylan William, reflective practice is important because every teacher can improve.

I feel confident I am already quite reflective, but I enjoyed and appreciated having the time in this meeting to briefly dissect and discuss our integrated curriculum so far. I plan on writing a more detailed reflection on Topic 2, the integrated course I was part of creating and am now teaching, in a couple of weeks.

The task we were given, visible below, was to identify possible gaps in students' learning, what helps and stops student learning and finally strategies moving forward to support these students. The overall consensus of our discussion was that the integrated curriculum is positive, but naturally there is some fine tweaking to be addressed, such as the need to increase student self confidence, reduce students feeling overwhelmed and the balance of student centred learning and teacher-directed learning. I have identified and briefly described three strategies I am going to try implement into my integrated topic, in hope to address some of the tweaking aforementioned!