Motivated Minds | Authentic Learning for Increasing Motivation Part I | Audioblog Episode 17

Listen to the full episode here

For the next few episodes of the Audioblog we are going to talk about my new favoritest book by Deborah Stipek, PhD and Kathy Seal Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning

Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning

This book is written for parents but I think this is just the essence of Authentic Teaching.

Today we are going to discuss chapter one.

One of the things she talks about is, encourage your child’s interests and passions outside of school. What I love about this is she talks about adults and how they got their start. She talks about a professor at Stanford who’s daughter passion for geology that she for from trips she and her husband organized to the Natural History museum and she became a petroleum engineer.

She discusses nurturing your child’s interests outside of school because in school, they frequently have fewer choices, told what, how, and when they will learn and it is often graded and assessed which can hurt their motivation.

Direct Experience

This is the ultimate authentic teaching.

Before a camping trip, get a map of the stars.

My mom asked me what do you remember about Daddy? What are your biggest memories and my first favorite memory was automatically his giant brown portfolio he had of newspaper clippings and magazine articles about places to visit all over Long Island where I grew up.

She talks about going to an area if you are studying culture, we used to always go to Chinatown because my mom wanted food to cook, but when a friend of mine came it surprised me that chinatown was somewhere she wanted to go.

She talks about learning about sports teams in the paper if your child wants to go to a football game.

I often feel that because my step-daughters were mostly grown when we got married, but I often feel that you can discuss television shows a lot.

Fan the Flames

When your child has a passion, if a child loves rocks, take them to a museum, take a field trip. I talked about when we were doing a unit on economy and money in Wonders at the end of the year, I took them to a bank, I thought this student would make a natural banker.

Dr. Suess’ Oh the Places We will Go

Reminds me of Pat Flynn and his son Keoni, goes to this school where they had these classes in the afternoon about things like calligraphy or cooking or different explorations and Pat asked Keoni what would you do, and Keoni said he would create one about Disneyland and I know Pat was a little surprised but went with it.

I was doing this unit on Dr. Suess’ Oh the Places We Will Go and one of my second graders was supposed to be researching places he wanted to go but he was looking up shoes and I felt like that was a great way to discover what’s it like to go to a professional sports game.

What’s Advertising?

We were reading about one of the first female journalists and how she wanted to write about women who work in factories and how hard it was and the conditions and fires etc before there were labor laws and unions, and my students didn’t really understand why a newspaper would care about advertisers?

Don’t expect your child to develop an interest at age three, but they might develop some plans as students.

Lopsided kids

Teaching your students to do an adequate job on things you have to do but do a superb job on the subjects that really interest you. We often expect students to do their bests on all subjects and try their hardest on all topics. What I love is she says, you might be surprised that recognizing your child’s passions might encourage them to try harder on their less favorite subjects. Kids respond to adults who understand and approve of their interests.

She understands that time can be limited but encourages parents and teachers to bring their own interests into the classroom. Share what you are learning and talk about them in the car, online at the bank or supermarket. Where are teachers waiting? Outside the bathroom, in the cafeteria?

Breakfast after the bell

I liked to do a read aloud at that time, but that would be a great time to share resources related to your passions. When I went to college I remember we had a 4 hour class one night a week, but my reading teacher would read to us for 90 minutes of it. We read The Watson’s Go To Birmingham and I can still remember her bringing in a record player.

Museum Visits

Don’t read every single word but the ones that stand out. Ask your students/child questions to engage them, don’t just walk around passively.

Refrain from modeling reflections on learning. If you don’t like math, try to find things you like. Show you understand how your child feels, but try to find a silver lining.

External Rewards Motivate too

External rewards like praise from parents or grades can work hand in hand with interest.

Maximizing a child’s love of learning through play

Let’s get some authentic lessons in our classrooms!


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