How Do You Draw Kids Back Into Learning?
Education professor Maurice Elias writes on Edutopia: “When students are disengaged from school and learning, we need to strategically reach inside them and rekindle the natural motivation to learn that all young people have. In fact, they are learning all the time—just not proportionally much in the school context. And when they are disengaged, there are often good reasons and we have to counter them.” Elias offers four techniques to re-engage students, including this one: “Change Students’ Personal Theories. [Stanford University psychologist] Carol Dweck focuses on building intrinsic motivation and a great way to do this is to take a moment to have students in secondary school rate their beliefs about questions regarding their own potential. Some examples include: ‘You have a certain amount of intelligence, and you can’t really do much to change it.’ ‘You can learn new things but you can’t really change your basic intelligence.’ ‘No matter who you are, you can change your intelligence quite a bit.’ (Rate from strongly agree to strongly disagree) One reason for disengagement is, ‘what’s the point?’ This needs to be actively disputed and students need to believe that they can learn and get smarter and better. Having teachers lead them in a conversation about this is very powerful because some students have come to believe that their teachers doubt them”: http://bit.ly/IrtLo9.
I like this idea of not just passing along information about neuroplasticity to students, but “actively disputing” (in a gentle way) their mistaken beliefs about fixed intelligence. Have you found a way to re-engage a disaffected kid in learning?