I reflected on what I thought I do in the classroom to motivate my students before I reading Roerig, Brinkerhoff, Rawls, and Pressley’s contribution, the first chapter of Taylor and Duke’s Handbook of Effective Literacy Instruction: Research-Based Practice K-8. I didn’t think on it too long, but jotted down:
Share my passion for learning
Reinforce good habits and behaviors
Allow for student choice when possible
Set goals and confer with students– giving them what they need when they need it. As well as
allowing students to self-select goals
Co-construct assessment guidelines that values their input
Advocate for best practices with parents and colleagues
After reading the chapter, nothing seemed brazenly new or out-of-the ordinary from what I was trying to accomplish in my own room. There were two sections that caused the to pause. The first was on page 29, when they mentioned giving students “active tasks to do while reading independently” before cooperative learning. I wondered if I needed to rethink how my kids were doing independent and partner reading. Why can’t they just count on independent reading as a time to just read? And what happens when the book they have chosen doesn’t fit the task? They can’t work on identifying characters if they have chosen to read a nonfiction book. I think this active practice they speak of would work best for me to do during guided reading lessons.
The final ‘Looking Ahead’ section of the chapter caused me to shut down. When offered 18 questions to ponder, I choose zero. There’s a whole year’s worth of ideas for professional development here, which might prove useful to teams who only need to focus on motivation and nothing else.