Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Motivate w Fear or Hope?

Any ideas where this tee box might be located?  (Hint:  Think $600 a round)

What is a better motivator?
In education, there are as many ways to teach and motivate as there are teachers.  We all have ideas on grading, homework, technology, tardy policies and even disrespect.  Today, let’s consider the difference between using fear and hope as tools for motivating students.
Remember the phrase "don't smile till Christmas?"  My first year, back in 19XX, I actually made it till Thanksgiving!  A student, Rachael looked up one day during that short week of Thanksgiving and noted, "Mr. McCracken, I didn't know you had dimples."  Of course it was the first time I had actually smiled. I don't remember much else about that middle school or student achievements but that use of fear was a tough way to break into the business.  I do remember I let up a bit on them later but that quote stuck.  I was using fear as a tactic to manage their behavior, keep them in line and prevent anyone from acting up.  Punishment and not consequences was my method of classroom management. 
Fear comes through intimidation, coercion and force.  Hope comes from an expectation that things could get better.  Hope is internal and comes through relationship.  Hope grows from a thought that things might get better.  Hope is intrinsic but is painted, articulated and planted along with the nourishment of others.   When consequences are applied with justice, fairness and student input, a hope for a better future is fostered in the student.   Students begin to see their actions leading to consequences.  They learn to adjust their own behavior.  On the other hand, punishment administered grows fear, fight or an idea of revenge.  The best discipline does not diminish hope.
Typically a caring adult walking alongside a youth begins to draw an image of a better tomorrow through a process (not an event) involving the student:
Step 1-Relationship 
Any cursory glance at earlier posts would lead a reader to expect this.  The adult must pursue the relationship knowingly and expectedly looking for the better future. (Green eggs and ham)
Step 2-Confidence in Self
The teacher must display confidence and security lending credence to the situation knowing they can handle anything.  Knowing they can actually manage and control the situation, even if the students cannot.  Students are more likely to put trust in someone that demonstrates the ability to address challenges, and models how to handle things that are too big!
Step 3-Confidence in Others
After a teacher or leader has demonstrated the ability to address challenges before his wards he gains credibility in the eyes of the student.  To capitalize on this position of strength and power, leaders that trusts and delegates to others are really adding value and esteem and confidence to the student beyond the usual test or assignment, both building the student in his own eyes as well as others observing this quick little “test.”  Passing this off the cuff “test” really raises self-worth and creates an environment where everyone is comfortable taking risks and stretching their limits.
Step 4-Sharing a vision of hope
After this success is reached, the master teacher can begin to lay the seeds of accomplishing anything, reaching any goals and sharing personal as well as professional success inside the minds of students.  Big, hairy, audacious goals!  Often times, there is no one else that can or is able to share or articulate this shift in locus of control.  The student begins to have a direct impact on his own future.
Step 5 Persisting while the student learns
FAILURE IS VITAL HERE, but (quitting is not) failure is not the end.  To teach resiliency, persistence and “ stick to itness” a student must be secure enough to fail and realize that just because he missed the mark, he is not a failure.  This confidence is only demonstrated after the prior 4 steps are displayed and observed and part of the new Champion paradigm.  We must teach students to continue, after they miss their goal, then realign goals and try again.  Think basketball, free throws, layups, 3 point shots and half court shots!  We start small, fail, try again, get better and adjust our boundaries till we know the go to person on the team for the outside shot!  In golf we start with the short irons, then learn longer and longer clubs till we master the driver.
#onthemap  #winwar

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