Post written by Matthew J. Weyers
Two years ago, prompted by a blog post that asked, "How many student assignments end up in the recycling bin within minutes of students seeing the grade?," I began thinking about the role of rewards and social interaction in education. The post's question hit close to home, and made me reflect deeply on my current practice. I decided to evaluate my 6th grade language arts and science courses through the lens of two questions: Beyond a letter grade, what motivation do my students have to do well? and, If the primary motivation is extrinsic, how can I make the project more intrinsically motivating? By the end of the school year, I had a three-pronged answer. I had to
- Relinquish a certain level of control and place added responsibility on students.
- Allow students to produce work for an authentic audience (meaning not just for me).
- Give students autonomous opportunities to collaborate on their work.
Here are some of the practices I'm using to hit these three targets.