Getting to know kids and motivation.

In the grad class on reading I took earlier this year, the first session was all about motivation. Reward systems came up.  Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.  All that good stuff.  However, both the articles we read and the class discussion led us to what TPRSers already knew: you can’t P enough.

That’s right.  They suggested getting to know your kids.  They suggested caring about your kids as people.  They suggested choosing texts to read based on student interest.

A secondary teacher in our group moaned about how hard that would be with 150 some students.  No, you can’t get to know 150 some students in several days, but we know how to do it.  We know we can use the Circling with Pictures (Scott) or Circling with Balls (Ben–I love the original title) to start to get to know our kids.  We can learn their names.  We can stand in the door and notice them, per Love and Logic.  We can greet them and treat them like people.

It’s a trick, really.  If you remember their name and remember something else about them, even if it is only asking if their colds is better, they think you know them.

Last year I was doing a get-to-know-you activity with some continuing students (I wanted to say ‘old kids.’), and one of them complained, “But this is silly, you already know all about us.”  I must have fooled them pretty well.  I don’t know all about them, but I know a little bit about many of them.

In any case, if the kids perceive you care, they’ll be more likely to work for and with you.  If you can’t love the kids, get out of the teaching business.

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