Motivation In A Bilingual Classroom

7 PAGES
1459 WORDS

Motivation In A Bilingual Classroom

Common Classroom Practices:
A Psychological Approach Regarding
Motivation in a Bilingual Classroom
2
Students want and need work that enables them to demonstrate and improve their sense of themselves as competent and successful human beings. This is the drive toward mastery. But success, while highly valued in our society, can be more or less motivational. People who are highly creative, for example, actually experience failure far more often than success. Biehler (p. 225) claims that studies show that when CAI used in conjunction with a teacher's lessons, is particularly beneficial for low-achieving and young students.
Before we can use success to motivate our students to produce high-quality work, we must meet three conditions:
1. We must clearly articulate the criteria for success and provide clear, immediate, and constructive feedback.
2. We must show students that the skills they need to be successful are within their grasp by clearly and systematically modeling these skills.
3. We must help them see success as a valuable aspect of their personalities.
All this seems obvious enough, but it is remarkable how often we fail to meet these conditions for our students. Take skills. Can you remember any crucial skills that you felt you did not successfully master because they were not clearly taught? Was it finding themes in literature? Reading and interpreting primary texts? Thinking through nonroutine math problems? Typically, skills like these are routinely assigned or assumed, rather than systematically modeled or practiced by teachers.
So how can we help students master such skills? When teaching your students to find themes, for example, deliberately model interpretation. Ask your students to give you a poem you have never seen, and then interpret it both for and with them. If they are reading primary texts, use what we call the main idea strategy. Teach them how to find the topic (usually a noun or noun phrase), the main idea (a sentence that states the text's position on the topic), and reasons or evidence to support the main idea. If students are concerned about writer's block, remember that perhaps the most difficult task of a teacher is to teach how to think creatively. In regards to behavior modification it's noted in Biehler(p.237), in the case of primary students there is a possibility that some students will come to realize that the teacher rewards them only when they've done what she wants or has completed a task accurately.
These are not revolutionary ideas. They simply illustrate how easily classroom practices can be improved, thus increasing the chance that your students will succeed.
“But what of the criteria for success?” Teachers define success in many ways. We must not only broaden our definition, but also make sure the definition is clear to everyone. In this way, students will know when they have done a good job, and they will know how to improve their work.
To achieve this clarity, we can present examples of work that illustrate high, average, and low levels of achievement. Such exemplars can significantly motivate students, as well as increase their understanding of their own ability to achieve.
It has been pointed out that students who are bored by school and unmotivated in the eyes of the teacher nevertheless find plenty of motivation for playing a sport. The obvious question, then, is what is motivating about a sport? Think about a group of young people in a baseball game. The very things that motivate them to work hard and do well playing baseball can be adapted to the classroom. Let's look at them:
1. Teamwork. Humans are gregarious and like being around each other. Young people and adults usually like working as a team. Yet often the learning activities we assign call for individual effort. Young people especially complain that they don't like doing homework alone, yet we often insist that it be done that way. By designing more team assignments, we can exploit the benefits of teamwork, where the weaker students will learn by having others help. And, of course, since teaching someone something is the best way to learn, the students who teach each other will learn better than if they were learning alone.
Why not let or even encourage your students to do their homework as a group? You

Read the full essay 1459 words