Thursday, June 24, 2010

Learning Strategy: Motivation from using affirmations

Several years ago, I signed up for one of these internet services where they send you a motivational quote of the day. My ulterior motive was to collect good writing prompts for my GED students, but I have found the affirmations to be useful for many other things. Besides using them as prompts, I have found them personally rewarding. They also have helped me to connect with other quotation lovers (I didn't know there were so many out there) and to share strategies with other teachers.

Today's quote was:
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the sea.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Too often teachers, who love details and words and literature and school, forget that the students often do not share that love. Their lives and homes are fragmented without a true connection to education. Although they WANT an education, they don't have access to it. They really need help in developing the love of learning because once they love learning, nothing will stop them.

Many come to school understanding the concept that education is good, that education will fill a gap in their lives. But they haven't learned that learning is work: hard work. Unfortunately, most students believe that all they need to do is come in and sit in a chair, look at the teacher, and push a pencil. Few students come in each day with "What will I learn today?" on their minds and "How will I know if I learned anything?". So how do we take students who have become passive and show them that learning is an active sport.

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