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.