RSS Feed
  1. A Test of Patients or A Drama-Display-Break

    July 24, 2014 by corndogs

    A mixed motivated classroom does not work for anyone. The distraction that a very low motivated student brings to a classroom can create different reactions. The reactions can range from a test of a student’s patients to a drama-display-break from schoolwork for others. This blog post looks at just the moderately motivated student and the low motivated student’s possible reactions.

    The moderately motivated student can be a on the edge of becoming highly motivated, but the boredom of waiting for the teacher to deal with the very low motivated student can push them to derail. The consent waiting is both a waste of their time hence a byproduct of this consent waiting is disengagement for these students. The drama show that is being played out in front of the class is infuriating to some students who are willing to learn. Having to patiently wait on instructions or the lesson to continue slows down the pace and makes it hard to concentrate. The moderately motivated student could easily become a highly motivated student if allowed to work at a faster pace and if given a meaningful incentive.

    The low motivated student could work well in a typical classroom if they have fewer distractions from the very low motivated students. This constant stopping to handle disruption divides their concentration and gives them an out for not doing the work. The excitement of watching the very low motivated students disruptive behavior is much more interesting then any schoolwork. The low motivated student is looking for a distraction for several possible reasons. It may be that they have a learning disability and the work is a struggle for them, or they do not see the need and have no desirer to learning the material, or they lack the concentration to stay on topic. Whatever the reason, the low motivated students are often grateful for the distraction of the very low motivated student misbehavior. Getting the low motivated student to concentrate on the lesson again can be a challenge. Getting the class back to the concept being studied can be a struggle and take up so much precious time.

    The mixed motivated class is a struggle to education at every student motivational level. From the students willing to work to the students struggling to work, the system as a whole does not work (even though the low motivated student think the distractions are exciting to watch). Giving students something to work towards, like more personal educational freedom, could significantly increase their motivation levels

  2. The Goal of Education & Its Codependency

    June 20, 2014 by corndogs

    Education reform is becoming increasingly important. Sir Ken Robinson during a TED talks ( ) states that education today is still based on the model for the Industrial Age. Or maybe it’s that we still view students as objects in a factory.

    Here is the “story” that is being told to the current education system:

    Students are vessels we pour knowledge into. And if they are not learning it is because we are not pouring it right. Someone must be to blame. We need to figure out who it is and get someone else to do the job of pouring. Or maybe this new container will pour it differently, and that will fill them with knowledge. How about if we change containers every year until we find one that will get the knowledge in. Every year we will claim that this is the best container, and demand it be used. Who cares that the people pouring do not buy into the wonderful new container because there will be a new container the next year and every year after that. Students need us to pour knowledge into them. It is not like knowledge is ready available, today. Students need to be force to learn it.

    This force-feeding of knowledge is combine with the old notion that students need to be made into model citizens that give back to society. The view that education needs to make productive citizens out of each and every student is outdated. The term “productive citizen” also has a kind of authoritarian sound to it. It does not encourage people to jump on board. It brings out the rebel in most of us, and makes us wants to cause problems for the system.

    If this is not what our educational system is about, then what is it about? What is the ethical goal of the education system? Give everyone a chance at living his or her life’s dream? Making sure the less fortunate do not get taken advantage of?

    Also, what is missing from then current system that needs to be addressed? Why are all these school shootings happening? Why are children being bullied to death? Where is all this unhappiness coming from?

    Maslow theory states that we have a “hierarchy of needs” within us, and we cannot more forward unless these needs are meet. These needs start with the most basic needs and build up to the most fulfilling. The highest need section is self-actualization, and within this section is “acceptance of facts.” It is not until all of the other needs are filled that this is accessible. This is not new information to any of us, yet when do schools exhibit their knowledge of this theory? How can a student be taught facts and calculations when they fear abuse or neglect? How can a student learn to divide fractions when they are afraid of what might happen at recess?

    Again, what is our end goal? What would benefit our people as a whole? We need to know why we are educating the students, so that we are clear on a goal that works for all.

    Students from a low-income social setting will have their own challenge. If your entire family has never finished high school, of what use could it be? What would motivate you to do more in your life than everyone you love and care has done?

    Then there is the challenging task of helping the unmotivated student. Even these students that are struggling in school are getting mismanaged. They are given a great deal of help, but it is a co-dependent kind of help. It does not lead to self-reliance, but to dependence. The system tries so hard to help these students, but ends up further disabling them.

    Can you imaging what it must be like for a student who has been hand feed schoolwork to then walk in a place of business, to try and fill out an application with no one to help him or her? No one would be there to explain what each section is trying to get you to put down. We have crippled some students until they are unable to give of themselves.

    The current system is missing the mark in their approach to students. The system is not working and it is not because good people are not trying hard enough. It is the structure of the system that is missing the mark for most students, teacher, administrators and the society as a whole. We, as a society, need a new defining goal that works for everyone!


  3. The Two Golden Keys to Education

    June 10, 2014 by corndogs

    Every student deserve a life well lived.

    The education of students is a tricky business. Not all of them want to be educated. They do not see the need. What could help?

    Teachers know there are two golden keys to education. The buried treasure all educators seek. They are motivation and engagement. Yet, how do we unearth these or instill them into students. The education system desires both of these for the students, but what is the system offering as an incentive? What leverage do teacher have that could keep students motivated every school day?

    Grades work only for the students that are already motivated in school, but they are not that important to a large percentage of students. Getting into a good college is too distant of goal for many young minds. Giving classroom points can work, but it can be a large investment of school time that is so precious, and many of the low motivated students do not buy into them. Some teacher resort to using peer pressure by giving group points, which can be a frustrating for highly motivated students, and their parents.

    The highly motivated student is a wonderful commodity in a classroom today. These jewels of the classroom are the peer pressure in-group projects to keep everyone on task. Furthermore, they are used as blockers in the seating chart to keep the low motivated students apart. A mixed motivated classroom is a delicate balancing act. Then the highly motivated young people are the students the teacher can count on when there is classrooms issue that needs taken care of.

    In other words, they are prized tools for the teacher. Working with the variety of students, it is the teacher’s most logical choice. This is a large part of classroom management. Managing the students to the best of your ability. Much class time is spent on managing the lowest motivated students. Their lack of desire for education makes teaching them quite a challenge.

    Students who are motivated are valued in the classrooms only as an asset for the teacher. Their motivation is not pushed to its limits because the teacher has his or her hands full dealing with everyone else. They are not given equal teacher time, but instead used for the teacher’s leverage. A highly motivated student does not get more freedom for their efforts, but they become the extra babysitter in the classroom. The return on the highly motivated student’s investment is an “A” on their report card. This incentive lacks sincere payment for a job well done. If the student can keep the motivation level high though high school and college, then maybe they will be paid well in the career they choose. This is a long wait for a student who is doing the right thing in the school setting.

    The motivation level of a student is the deciding factor is school success. By grouping students into motivation levels, we can look at specific traits they exhibit and needs they have. The four categories that will be used are: low motivation, moderately low motivation, moderately motivated, and high motivated. Any student can move from one group to another depending on their emotional well-being and by what the incentive is to do well. The current system of education does not deal well with the importance of either of the two factors of motivation. A student’s emotional well-being is a significant factor in the school setting. Yet, it is completely ignored. And once again the incentive to stay motivated needs to be meaningful and in the present time, not in the faraway future.

    When looking at engagement, it is very personal. It is a connecting within a student with ideas that stir their being. This connection can be foster by giving choices in a setting that let’s them explore. As educators, we know that project based learning is the best way to engage students, but projects do not always teach basic knowledge that students must have to do the projects. Basic knowledge needs are the foundation that freedom of project based learning has to have to make exploration meaningful.

    Furthermore, projects can be great for the motivated student, but the low motivated student can become the ships captain and take the project time into uncharted territory. If not watched carefully a mutiny can occur. Moderately low motivated students can jump ship and be on board with the low motivated students in an instant. Once there, it is a long way back to being in charge of the ship again. No one forgets where the low motivated students have taken him or her. Something is then lost at sea. Respect. It is a teacher biggest fear when doing projects.

    The two golden keys are well known and prized; yet how do we get the students want them. Also, the current system does not value the motivated jewels they have. They only use them to keep order. When what the highly motivated student desires is to be set free with only a charted course and the stars to guide them. They are the explorers and innovators of the future. If only we could let them lead the class off into uncharted territory. If only the low motivated students would follow the highly motivated student. If only we would give them a treasure worth following them for.

  4. The Reasons for an Unmotivated Student

    May 30, 2014 by corndogs

    Today I have been thinking about unmotivated students and why they are unmotivated. As hard as teachers try some students never respond to the natural desire to learn. What could be more important in their lives, or what is blocking them?

    The first reason might be they have trouble learning, and cover it by being the bad boy or girl. This is a survival mechanism that keeps their self-esteem from drowning. If their behavior is the problem then no one will bully or tease them about their stupidity, or learning disability. Being in trouble is preferred to the struggle of learning or the social stigma that goes with it.

    Or they have social or emotional issues that require all their attention. Learning to deal with life’s challenges can be a struggle for adults. Children with faulty coping skills can make a mountain out of a molehill. Then there is the extreme, mental illness, and it can effect every part of your day and night. Existing and surviving in a social world can take up all the energy they posses with little resources left for intellectual learning.

    Another reason might be that they do not see education as a significant force in their life. This might be that their family system does not support it, or their family system does not reflect its importance. If everyone they love did not finish high school, why would they want to be more then the ones they love? If the ones they love value personal power, pride, and being in control over everything, how can the gentle act of learning be valued? What would motivate this student enough to try a different way of life?

    The last one I can think of is abuse or neglect. How can information be more powerful then dealing with trauma? If they are coping with abusive issues, facts and figures have little meaning. There is a bolder sitting on top of them, and the pebbles that an education can give them won’t move the bolder.

    For all of these students, they will need to have a motivation strong enough to over come their learning disabilities, see beyond or get help to handle their illness, go above (or against) what they were raised in, or get help to deal with the abuse. Then this motivation needs to be strong and significant in their current lives to make it important enough to try to make change happen.

    Today learning is still focused on intellectual learning. This is the most shocking concept to me. When students are struggling with life’s challenges that their emotional issues are not beginning dealt with. Facts and concepts are still being pushed upon them when what they need most is help dealing with life. A sieve will not hold water. There is no receptacle in their mind to hold information for these students. They have bigger issues to deal with. The current system is a slow kind of punishment for them right now. There is no light at the end of this educational system for them.

    Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is common knowledge in the educational world, but it is ignored. Instead like a junky, the system pushes facts and concepts on already stretched to breaking minds. The goal of intellectual learning is the most important goal. School shootings do not seem so impossible when looking at how social issues are pushed to suppression under the weight of learning facts and concepts.

    Teaching coping skills and happiness training could yield great results. Harvard University most popular course is nicknamed the “happiness class.” This is a need for everyone, especially the ones who have so little.

    Motivation is an inside job. The balance of meeting their social and emotional needs, and giving them something that is highly motivating, is the educational solution for these unmotivated students. Give them the social tools, and the daily school structure that gives them something to strive for. They are not bad kids. They (like all of us) are just trying to live their best lives with the information they have. Teaching new information is what educational system is good at, right?


  5. Hello world!

    May 28, 2014 by corndogs

    Starting a blog is a funny thing. Well maybe not funny…maybe scary. Good ideas seem to haunt me with their consent nagging. In other words, I have something to say that I hope someone wants to hear. It is information that is burning inside of me that wants to get out, but has no outlet…until now. Thank heavens for the Internet, and its reach, or I would be driving my love ones crazy with my consent rambling on a subject they could careless about.

    So what is my subject, “The Current Education System and Educational Reform.”  My family is so lucky they live in during the age of computers and the Internet.

    Why is the current educational system not meeting the needs of anyone involved? It all starts with a very powerful word, “motivation,” or the lack of it. Fifty years ago, the lack of genuine motivation was filled with fear motivation. It involved being motivation to do well in the classroom in order not get paddled by the principal. Students lived in fear of being call down to the principal’s office, and the principal reaching in the drawer for the paddle. Then to face their parents when they returned home, and getting a second punishment, which could be, even worse than the principal few swats.

    These days are gone, and good reddens. No one wants students to live in fear. Yet, now how do teachers motivate students to keep them on task? Right now the system often tries to work with the students to the point of enabling them, and if that does not work they often turns to verbal bullying unmotivated students because they have nothing to bargain with. The unmotivated student has little invested in succeeding, and cares very little about their education.

    The dysfunction of the current system runs deep from administrator to troubled student to overworked teachers and even to motivated students. The current system robs everyone of freedom and the joy of learning. Is there a fix? I believe there is, and that is what this blog journey is about. First, we will explore the dysfunction from many points of view. Why? Because the problem has to be described in detail in order to see the solution (by the way, I am an instructional designer by trade). Then this blog will look at a possible solution to the educational mess we are currently in. What I propose may be surprising, but it meets so many needs, and reflects the world outside of school, that I think it might work.

    My family will be so happy if I have someone to talk to about this. So send me a message and let’s get discussing the issues.