Boredom and its opposite. Strong, R., Silver, H., Perini, M. & Tuculescu, G

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Strong, R., Silver, H., Perini, M. & Tuculescu, G.  (2003)  Boredom and its opposite.  Educational Leadership.  September 24-29.

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This interesting article tackles the subject of motivation by asking “reluctant learners” questions, discussing, administering surveys about motivation and boredom.  They found four “natural human interests that (if included in curriculum) not only eliminate boredom, but create its opposite: “abiding interest in the content that students need to learn.”  These interests are:

  • The Drive Toward Mastery—When students “did not think they could succeed . . . they shut their minds down.”  Tools for increasing mastery are clearly defining the goal of the lesson or unit, give students opportunities to see models of different competencies, model skills clearly, give on-the-spot feedback.
  • The Drive To Understand—“appears in our delight in puzzles, excitement about new ideas, and sensitivity to flaws, gaps, and contradictions.  Tools for increasing understanding are organizing units around questions designed to provoke thoughts/concerns, use rich and challenging text, teach to collect, organize weigh the value of different points of view, allow students to challenge and correct each other.
  • The Drive Toward Self Expression—We all have a drive to be unique and some craving to have that uniqueness recognized.  This is about expressing creativity.  Tools—allow choice, model strategies students need to shape projects, make a rich set of samples available, build in time for students to explore their work.
  • The Need To Relate—interact with others, share and work together.

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