Your opinion, please

Discussion in 'General Education' started by motiv8r, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 25, 2009

    Hi,

    Background:

    I've posted in these forums before, getting ideas for motivating students to learn a variety of school subjects.

    I'm compiling a set of "sales pitches" that teachers can use. The sales pitches' purpose is to motivate students to really make an effort to learn the material, or at least to not hate the schoolwork so much. Ideally, students will keep trying when the assignments get tedious or difficult, rather than doing the minimum effort or giving up entirely.

    I want to somehow present, to as many teachers as possible in America, the results of my work. Hopefully, some of those teachers will then use my material in the classroom.

    My question:

    Should I contact the state Departments of Education, the local school districts, or the teachers individually?

    I need to not step on any bureaucrat's toes or violate protocol. :eek: :eek: But I also want to contact the people who are most likely to make this happen.

    Contacting just the state governments would be easiest. But if they can't be counted on, I'd rather do the extra work of contacting people locally. I've actually considered applying for a private foundation grant to do this work, but I can't count on that money. :2cents: :2cents: :2cents: :2cents: :2cents:

    Many thanks for reading this and for any guidance.

    Have a great summer!
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Jul 25, 2009

    If you are charging for professional development, your timing is bad. I know many districts in Southtern California are not paying for PD at all this year and speakers already lined up have been cancelled.
     
  4. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Unless you have some kind of proof your idea is going to work, I'm not sure any school or government is going to buy into it. Budgets are too tight right now.

    If you'd be willing to train a few teachers at a school (with permission of the principal of course) to try your method/idea out, you can collect feedback from the teachers on how things went and what problems they found.

    You can look for a grant though, but you'll have to provide an overview of your idea. I know you can hire a person to help you write a grant-- certain language and things need to be included in them (boyfriend's mom helps companies write grants), but even that is rather expensive.
     
  5. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 25, 2009

    I should clarify

    I figured schools would not want to pay. I planned on charging money to nobody except the foundation that would fund me.

    Also, I don't plan to train in person. It would be too time consuming to visit every school.

    I was hoping to do it all by email and maybe telephone. I would have to supply all the materials on a website. Much more efficient this way.

    But I do like the idea of meeting a few teachers in person. I need to look into that.

    I will look at some books on grant applications.

    Thanks for your ideas.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Personally I wouldn't buy into this if it were strictly on the computer. I'd want someone to show me how it worked and how to use the materials. The upstart to train in person might be time consuming, but it's worth it if you are looking at making money off this.
     
  7. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    OK. Maybe it would be good if I show teachers a video of a teacher lecturing the material to students. Or I could do that in person, but I can't imagine travelling to every school in America; that would take forever.

    I was assuming that I would simply provide the material, which is just a small amount of text. Teachers would then either print it out for handouts or stand and lecture it. There's not much to it.

    I would not ask for money from any school or teacher. I figured my only hope of getting money would be from a philanthropic foundation.
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jul 25, 2009

    motiv8r,
    If you want someone to consider your ideas, be prepared to answer the following questions:

    --"How many years of actual teacher experience do you have?"

    --"What is your background in meeting the needs of various groups of struggling students and at-risk youth?"

    --"How will your 'sales-pitch' meet the specific educational needs of these young people in a way that is not currently available or with a method that is not currently be used?"

    --"How many years have you used these 'motivational sales pitches' and how did you measure the results?"

    Before someplace like a state board of education or a specific school district would consider endorsing a program, they would want to see documented academic studies produced by professionals (generally PhDs or EdDs who are also experienced in experimental design and data analysis.) These studies would take a great deal of time to set-up, analysize, and then of course, those results would have to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Do you have the education, experience, and resources to assemble such a team?

    As a teacher, I would be highly skeptical of taking advise on how to motivate students from someone unless they had a long-standing reputation of being a teacher who motivated students over the course of say 10 or more years.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 27, 2009

    I find my kids are motivated and engaged in learning because I model enthusiasm, a love of learning and a 'we're all in this together, let's have some fun with it' approach...you can call that a sales pitch if you want, I call it good teaching.
     
  10. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2009

    Thank you for this reply

    I certainly lack the experience and reputation that is needed. I'm simply someone with ideas that seem, intuitively to me, like good ones.

    That's an outstandingly good idea you suggested, proving the program using properly designed studies and having peer review.

    There's only one way I can push for that: I have to contact an organization that has funded education-related studies in the past, and somehow convince them to consider my ideas. I will have to pique their interest creatively and show why I'm pushing my ideas, because I'll have no reputation or past relationship with the organization.

    Thank you very much for this reply you posted.
     
  11. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Jul 27, 2009

    Good luck with this endeavor! Even with a lack of experience, keep in mind that educational reform projects all over the country are taking off, and many of those leading these movements do not have the credentials listed above.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 27, 2009

    I have been following your posts since you first presented your idea and, I must admit, I'm still confused about what you want to do. These questions are exactly what I was thinking about, myself.
     
  13. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2009

    Just want to have all teachers see my material and decide for themselves

    My apologies for not providing enough background info.

    I want to have as many teachers as possible look at my lists of motivational statements. I hope they decide for themselves if they believe those statements are valid; if so, I hope they use them in class. By "statements" I mean those lists of reasons to study math and other subjects that I've posted in this forum.

    I've been assuming that teachers don't need experts or authorities or bureaucrats to tell them whether my material is worthwhile. Teachers are thinking adults with life experience. Can't they just recognize whether my statements make sense?

    A couple teachers already have told me they're going to present my statements to their kids. They'll just copy text I posted on the forum (e.g. make a classroom poster of my list of reasons for studying math). :thumb: That is exactly the reaction I was hoping for, all along. :thumb:

    It's that easy. I can imagine no risk for any teacher trying this. Even if a teacher has doubts about whether my statements will work, it takes very little time for him/her to just try it.

    I don't have a doctorate in Education or other expert qualifications. I have no business telling any educator what to do. I understand that some teachers are fed up with various people trying to control what/how they teach :banghead: ; I'm not trying to do that.

    But I do have experience as an education consumer (student) just like everyone else. Plus a certain amount of life experience. I'm nothing but a guy who thought "Why did nobody tell me the reasons to care about the stuff they force-fed me in school? That sucks, and I'd feel better if future students were treated better than I was."

    I am not making any suggestions about curriculum changes. In the lists of motivating reasons I've been posting, I just tell students about the real-life benefits of learning.

    I do like the idea of experts doing rigorous testing of how students respond to my material, and publishing the results in a peer reviewed journal. That will take a long time, if it happens at all. But no teacher needs to wait for that.
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2009

    If I'm following you correctly, the main problem I see is that, as you've said, there's not much to it.

    We can come up with statements as to why each specific subject is important. We can tell our students that math is important for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, until they are motivated intrinsically, it's all quite useless. We can't "lecture" a student into being motivated as you have suggested, and the likelihood of any of your research getting any money is slim, considering it flies in the face of the existing research on motivation.

    I think your heart is in the right place, and it's wonderful that you want to help out in the area of motivation, I just think you need to go back to the drawing board with your idea.
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jul 28, 2009

    Are you looking to make a profit off this?
     
  16. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I can't see that either, considering the fact that many of the sales pitches have already been posted here...
     
  17. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jul 28, 2009

    I think this is the problem people are trying to point out to you. Good teachers already make their students aware of why the information they are teaching is important and what the real-world applications are. Poor teachers (the ones who don't) who don't take the time to this incredibly basic component of teaching certainly aren't going to go the extra yard and seek out a "motivational script."

    The last point is this. You are basing this "need" on what you didn't get as a student in one particular class -- I belive it was a computer class. What you think will work for you doesn't mean it will work for others. What motivates you, won't necessarily motivate others. This is why any system needs studies to determine if it actually does what the designer intends. What didn't motivate you, may not have been an issue for others. What motivates you might not motivate anybody else.

    Just because a person "went" to high school and noticed something lacking in one class does not make him qualified to develolp a program and start selling it (or even giving it away) to teachers.

    You say each teacher should judge for him or herself. Fair enough. Just don't be surprised when most teachers judge it to not be useful to them. To put it bluntly, just because you think it is a great idea, doesn't mean it is.

    You're asking for opinions on a teachers' forum -- and you are getting the same answer over and over -- you just don't want to hear that opinion. Basically, you've thought of a list of reasons why a high school student should be motivated to learn in a computer class. This is not new. This is not unique. This has existed for years. If your specific teacher failed to make you aware of it, then that is his/her shortcoming, but it certainly is not typical of most high school teachers.
     
  18. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2009

    How do they reach being motivated intrinsically?


    Intrinsic motivation is the best, no doubt. But can you expect all or most students to have that motivation, even with an enthusiastic and skilled teacher?

    Also, given that some teachers will be less than enthusiastic (or even inept occasionally), shouldn't there be something extra in place to encourage kids to push past that obstacle? I don't know if my material is the right "something extra", but it seems like there should be SOMETHING, anyway.

    Do selfish practical motivations have value as a booster to motivation, at least in the beginning?

    I recently read a book "Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else" by Geoff Colvin. Among other claims, the author states that great performers in various fields are not always motivated from the beginning. Sometimes parents or others push them at first, trying to get their kids going, and after a while the kids start developing internal motivation.

    Are you sure that this initial push can't be assisted by appeals to self interest? I'm guessing that it can, but I cannot prove that. It's an intuitive guess on my part. :)
     
  19. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2009

    I would if I could, but I doubt I can

    I wouldn't mind! I don't think there is any way to do it, though.

    Conceivably, an education-oriented foundation could become interested in my materials, and have qualified people improve it and make it more fit for use by teachers. Then I could offer to push it out to the right people (state Boards of Education? School districts? teachers?). Since I am motivated, they might choose me. But if a lot of work was involved in that (seems likely), I would want to get paid.

    I'm actually a contract computer programmer, but I have no work right now. I have the time to do it - now. Though, by the time this stuff is all ready, I may have moved on to other work.

    My gut feeling is that there is no money in this.
     
  20. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2009

    It seems I am creating resistance!


    Uh oh. Now I've done it. I'm not sure if further explanation/argument will help, but here goes. :blush:

    You say good teachers already do this and poor teachers never will. OK. What about so-so teachers, who could become better? What about rookie teachers just starting out?

    Even with good teachers already doing this, they might appreciate pieces of my work. They might want to cherry-pick items they like, modify them, and use them. That is, unless all North American teachers already have ready access to, and awareness of, every motivational point I make. Do they really, without exception?

    I can't recall any of my middle school or high school teachers providing any real discussion about why their subject matter was valuable to me. Perhaps I'm forgetting, but I don't think so. Were all of them actually poor teachers?

    You are right, I did this work because of my personal experiences. It's also true that what motivates me won't necessarily motivate others. Whether it works for others must be discovered. Yes, just because I think it is a great idea, doesn't mean it is.

    It may seem presumptuous for me to think my observations are valid for others. But, in a lot of ways, I'm not especially unique; I'm a person like everyone else. So my observations could be valid and useful for a fraction of the students.

    Formal studies might be the only path for my material to be accepted by government agencies or educational foundations. Formal studies might also be the only way to feel highly certain that my stuff helps.

    But formal studies aren't the only way for TEACHERS to decide whether my stuff SEEMS to work. They can decide based on trying it and either (1) noticing students' reactions and intuiting what effect it's having, or (2) providing my material to half their class periods and comparing those students performance (test scores or whatever) to that of the students who never heard about my stuff.

    Maybe some teachers aren't motivated to wait for formal studies.

    You said, at the end, "This is not new. This is not unique. This has existed for years." I admit I only researched by Google searches. I failed to find anything quite like the motivational stuff I wrote. If anyone out there happens to know an accessible resource having stuff like mine, would you post it here? Not just for my benefit, also for anyone reading this thread. Thanks.
     
  21. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Jul 30, 2009

    A search for "student motivation" on Amazon brought up over 8000 books on the subject, some of which probably cover your ideas. Just because something doesn't show up in a Google search doesn't mean no one has written about it before.
     
  22. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jul 30, 2009

    I did a google search of the terms "student motivation technique" There were Results 1 - 10 of about 3,750,000.
     
  23. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Jul 30, 2009

    Just out of curiosity, motiv8r, how many of the 3,750,000 did you look at?
     
  24. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I think that, in all reality, most teachers already feel comfortable in their ability to motivate their students. Those teachers who are new to the field or who have questions about motivation have probably already researched using google and have availed themselves of the 3,750,000 choices. I fear your info will just be choice # 3,750,001.
     
  25. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2009

    Impractical and a red herring?

    Recall that RainStorm said "This is not new. This is not unique. This has existed for years." If that's true, why can't he/she just tell us where to find it? Why must I go on a lengthy quest?

    It would be far too time consuming for me to actually sift through thousands of books and millions of websites. :reading: Especially since I am not being paid to do it.

    Are people suggesting I must do that nearly impossible task anyway?

    Or that only researchers who do that work will produce worthwhile motivational material? Nothing guarantees that that's true.

    Originally, I actually did google search terms like the ones suggested in the last few posts here. I'm sure I stopped after checking websites on the fifth or whatever google result page.

    I stopped partly because much of the material seemed to focus on techniques to be used throughout the year or to assist teaching a particular topic. All that is great, but I am trying to provide something separate, to be used in addition to all that.

    I'm trying to provide a very direct answer to the cliche question "Why do I have to learn this?"

    I actually checked both google and amazon for that phrase "why do i have to learn this" but ran into the same problem: the resulting resources still seemed focused on techniques to be used throughout the year or to assist teaching a particular topic.

    However, I did locate a few websites that tried to directly answer the question. I studied their answers, and integrated what I thought was valuable.
     
  26. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2009

    I agree


    Those who already feel comfortable in their ability to motivate their students might see no reason to consider my ideas. But, if they are open-minded and interested in improvement, who knows?

    Yes, if I do nothing but post my writings on a website, I might be choice # 3,750,001. That's why some kind of campaign to publicize the material would be needed.
     
  27. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    That's because these techniques are the ones that work. Your ideas are fine for responding to students' questions about the importance of what you're teaching, however for inspiring motivation, it's not going to work. If students don't like the work, talking about how learning trigonometric functions will help them with calculus in the future, or in University or engineering or whatever it is... these things are too far off for students with difficulty being motivated to care about.
     
  28. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2009

    I'll throw my 2 cents in too. I believe your heart is in the right place, but a lot of us teachers, including myself, like to be completely genuine with our students.

    I personally would much rather tell them my reasoning for why they need to know it, coupled with my undying enthusiasm for everything I teach, and sprinkled in with humorous moments and other events to keep the students motivated and interested.

    The last thing I want is to have somebody telling me how to motivate my students that they have never seen before. I don't want my school to spend money on all this stuff that we've heard so many times. I've been to conferences and I wonder- why?? Why was this money absolutely wasted to hear this woman drone on and on about this topic that we all have heard before?

    Realistically, what can you tell me that I couldn't find with a simple Google search? Are your ideas really that groundbreaking? I really mean no harm no foul with this response and I apologize if it seems a bit pointed. I really wrote straight from the heart! Looking forward to your response.
     
  29. motiv8r

    motiv8r Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2009

    I won't waste money, if nothing else

    Don't worry, I won't cost you or your school a single penny! My ideas are free. And since we're on the Web, you can easily escape my droning! :lol:

    I totally agree that you should truly believe in any ideas you present.

    If I knew what subject you teach, I might be able to create a list of reasons that students stand to benefit by learning it. When you read my list, you might notice one or two reasons you agree with but don't currently present to students.

    In my writings you might recognize ideas you've fleetingly thought before, but never put into words. We all have stray thoughts that vanish too quickly, right?

    It's true that I don't know your students and I can't customize my ideas for them. Only you could do that.

    But certain truths are universal, and some things I say might work with most or all kids.

    You would have to see my ideas to decide.

    Some of the stuff I found via Google is similar to what I wrote. But some of my stuff I never saw when reading websites about motivating students (though maybe the ideas can be found elsewhere).

    :thanks:
    :)
     
  30. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 31, 2009

    You sound like a creative soul and I'm not trying to be rude or put you down, but I hope you are not putting all your eggs in this one basket. I think that you have received a representative set of opinions about this particular endeavor.
     

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