IT’S BREAKING NEWS, FOLKS.
The above article is a great idea for use in the classroom!
Okay, maybe not so breaking. Science as a subject has been “embracing failure” since…well, since forever. Pick any famous scientist, and through any experiments or learning journeys they embarked on, they had plenty of failures. This blog post explains it perfectly:
Science as a whole has been embracing failures for centuries, and science classrooms should absolutely be doing the same. Creating an environment that allows students to fail creates a thriving, motivational classroom. An environment that embraces failure is key to having intrinsically motivated students.
It’s been proven time and time again that intrinsic motivation makes students more willing to truly learn information, and improves long-term true understanding of material. Using treats and pizza parties works for some situations, but a dream classroom is a classroom full of students who want to learn, not students who have to be bribed to learn.
— Sarah Wayland (@ParentGuiding) September 27, 2017
How do we do this? I have some thoughts:
–Make homework (and classwork) meaningful.
I don’t know about you guys, but anytime I HAVE to do something, it automatically makes me not really want to do it. Students are the same with homework and busywork. However, if we give students work that actually means something–work that they are interested in–then the homework will peak their interest rather than diminish it. Then when grading this work, focus more on how they were thinking about the questions rather than whether or not they got the right answers.
-Apply teaching in the margins as much as possible.
Don’t be afraid of getting away from the curriculum! Students aren’t going to fail the standardized tests on your subject just because you’re a few days behind schedule. Encouraging students to wonder and ask deep questions will help foster a more goal-oriented classroom.
Have students write their goals on a strip of paper, then make a paper chain to represent class goals made up of student goals!
-Instead of giving a grade, give feedback.
Try a weekly grading report; give students anonymous access to their grades, and have students graph their progress on a chart, then write a bullet point or two to describe 1) what they felt confident in that week and 2) what they felt they needed more help on. When it comes to grading assignments, allow students to see it more as “I need improvement” than “I got a bad grade”; again, encourage the failure part of it! It’s okay if you need to improve, there is NOTHING wrong with that!
The “Charlotte’s Web” example is a great technique for classrooms; give students freedom in how they do assignments and allow them to express their knowledge!
-Praise EFFORT, STRATEGY, and GROWTH, not just results.
Encourage students to be bold in giving answers. Praise their creativity and curiosity instead of shooting down “wrong” answers right away, as tempting as that might be. Be careful when students give a wrong answer to not correct them right away; instead, encourage them to think about what might be a better answer. This will make students more excited to learn instead of just focusing on getting right and wrong answers.
-Get to know each student personally.
This will allow you to connect content with whatever the students are interested in. In order to peak students’ interest in your curriculum, you have to know what interests them in the first place! Also, assign teamwork based on student interests for a specific topic; allow students to have freedom in what topics they delve into!
These are just some techniques that will create an environment encouraging intrinsic motivation. Find what’s inside your students and bring it out of them–they are all unique individuals who can learn in completely different, incredible ways! Do what you can to find what motivates them, and do everything you can not to destroy that motivation–even if it means something as crazy as embracing failure.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!