Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Creating a Motivating Learning Environment

In his presentation “Mindsets for School Success: Effective Educators and Resilient, Motivated Learners,” Dr. Robert Brooks identified characteristics of motivated learners and of teachers who foster motivated mindsets. I’ve combined his ideas into descriptions of a classroom environment that fosters motivated learning.

The motivated learning environment:

  • features a teacher who is supportive and available, is not judgmental or accusatory, and can be described as a “charismatic adult”—one from whom the learner “gathers strength”
  • fosters the belief that the ability to learn is based largely on the learner’s attitude and effort—that learners have a “sense of responsibility for their own learning”
  • fosters the belief that learner effort will result in learning
  • accepts mistakes as a part of the learning process and helps learners understand that mistakes are expected and accepted
  • features a teacher who believes that from birth every child wants to learn and succeed
  • features a teacher who recognizes that all students are motivated, but some are dominated by “avoidance motivation” as a means of self-protection
  • features a teacher who asks, “What can I do differently to help this student become more helpful and successful?” when dealing with learners dominated by avoidance motivation
  • honors each learner’s “islands of competence” while nurturing additional growth

Dr. Brooks suggests teachers give themselves the following daily reminder: “Today may be the day I say or do something meaningful in a child’s life.” He also suggests teachers reflect on the following:

  • Would I want anyone to say or do to me what I have said or done to this child?
  • What do I hope to accomplish?
  • Am I saying or doing things in a way that students can understand what I am attempting to communicate?
You can find a series of articles entitled “Creating Motivating Environments” at his website: www.drrobertbrooks.com.

Brooks, R. (2007, Nov.). Mindsets for school success: Effective educators and resilient, motivated learners. Presented at Learning and the Brain: Using Brain Research to Enhance Cognitive Abilities and Achievement.

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