Burks Bulletin

Everyone Can be a Leader Including You!

Motivation Matters!

"Students cannot predetermine what score they will receive on any given task. However, they can control how hard they try. Much of the content knowledge assessed on tests becomes obsolete in a relatively short time. How many of us really need to know the seven products of Argentina? Desiring and making the effort to learn are far more crucial to later life than any specific information students may acquire. Honoring effort and giving effort and achievement equal weight can transform motivation in students."

What does this mean to you? How do you give 'credit' for effort? Do your students know that effort is as important as a grade? How do they evaluate their own effort? Please respond in the comment box below.

7 Ways to Encourage Effort

1. Never fail a student who tries, and never give the highest grades to one who doesn't.
If a student can succeed without trying, the work is not challenging enough. These students need a higher level of challenge, and they should seek it out themselves if their teachers fail to provide it. Although determining the level of challenge is the teacher's responsibility, students need to be taught that getting by without effort is not acceptable. Taking the initiative to elevate their challenge needs to be expected of the best students.

On the other side, how can any student who tries be a failure? What more can we expect a student to do? Once again, it is the teacher's responsibility to provide the appropriate level of challenge. No student should fail just because the teacher is unable to provide a reasonable level of challenge.
2. Start with the positive. WHen going over an assignment, start with what the student did well. "Marty, you got numbers 3, 5, & 6 correct. That tells me you can do this work. Let's figure out why you missed the rest and how you can get them right."
3. See mistakes as learning opportunities, not failures. We learning from our mistakes, in all aspects of life, and this is even more important for students to understand in the arena of school of learning. Mistakes should never be seen as failures, but as diagnostic tools that tell students what they still need to learn.
4. Give do overs. Let students who want to increase their scores learn from their mistakes and try again. This expression of initiative clearly shows effort. This is true for all scores, including district assessments. While the DA's will not be rescanned, the important thing is that the student learns what they are suppose to learn, not what score they receive. We cannot allow them to redo STAAR or MAP but we can on all other tests.
5. Give students the test before you start a unit. Take the test yourself. This way, they and you, can see what they need to learn, what the priorities are, and how to organize the learning.
6. Limit your corrections. Too many teacher corrections on a page may overwhelm the student. You do not need to correct every problem, only the most important ones, or even better the student corrects them to learn from their mistakes.
7. Do not compare students. students should never be measured by the achievement of others. Parents may want to know how their child compares with others, but a standards-based reporting system reports progress in relation to the identified learning objectives/standards, not in relation to other children.
Imagine a school where every child does his or her best, and none give up hope of learning. Isn't that where you want to work? Try these strategies and Burks will become that school.