Friday, April 26, 2013

No More Pity Parties!

I have spent some time lately thinking about motivation and engagement, my own, my students and my colleagues.  I've been reading books, participating in online discussions and talking with my teacher friends about our struggles with motivation and engagement.  Two books in particular have really helped me to frame my thinking, the first is Helping Boys Learn by Dr. Edmond Dixon and the second is Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess.  I have also found the The Principal of Change blog by George Couros, while not specifically related to motivation and engagement, to be thought provoking and challenging. Conversations with my friends in the staff room, and in the virtual staff room,  have really caused me to think more deeply about the apparent lack of intrinsic motivation we seem to be experiencing both within the confines of the classroom and beyond our classroom's walls, and how we go about addressing more than just surface level engagement.

So where is it? What happened to intrinsic motivation? Why are we struggling to engage beyond the surficial? It seems to me that we are having many of the same conversations over and over.  I know that I have been guilty of playing the blame game.  I blame my own lack of motivation on mandated assessments, the obsession with high-stakes testing, increasing curricular demands, the list goes on.  What I have realized though, is that I can bemoan the current state of affairs, or I can take an active role and be a changemaker.  I am responsible for me, and I am responsible for my attitude and my instructional practices and it is time I acted like it.  

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