I’d like to thank Daniel Pink for putting my educational philosophy so eloquently and so simply. When I usually start talking about my pedagogical theories with my friends, or colleagues, or parents, or administration, I start taking up all kinds of time trying to explain my constant push toward internal motivation and away from grade shaming. I reference all kinds of texts I’ve read and motivational speakers I’ve heard. Finally, about thirty minutes later (and about twenty-five minutes after people have stopped listening), I get to the end of my mantra.
I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s Drive this week and I came across this beauty of a quote–five words that sum up my educational thoughts: “Only engagement can produce mastery.” I look at it like this:
- Change the seats so students face each other and then create the classroom environment so students don’t get yelled at for talking. That collaboration is essential.
- Create assignments that matter, that go beyond the classroom. For my writing class, we try to reach out to authentic audiences. Daily assignments are meant to help us get better for that purpose.
- Be prepared to make changes mid-term. I had to do this with my vocabulary work last week. Students just didn’t care about how we were doing it. So, I made changes to aim for more engagement.
- Not everything will be fun and engaging all the time. You may have to fake it and be okay with mildly engaging activities from time-to-time.
- When students get choice, they MUST make the reading/writing topic/journal entry engaging. If it isn’t, that is squarely on them.
- They should also, calmly and appropriately, ask the teacher why a certain assignment is being done. We teachers need to have answers to this question. If asked nicely (no sass allowed), most teachers will happily give the reasons.