Steve Reifman

Steve Reifman

Introduction to This Blog Series


Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Over the next several weeks I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.


Choosing a Classroom Aim (Part 3 of the Series)


After learning of the pioneering work done by the Enterprise School District in Redding, California at the beginning of my career, I decided to adopt a classroom aim for the 1997-1998 school year.  Rather than adopt Enterprise’s aim of “Maintain learning while increasing enthusiasm” verbatim, I chose to modify it.

Introduction to This Blog Series

Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Over the next several weeks I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.

 


The Overall Aim (Part 2 of the Series)

The process of establishing purpose begins on a general level with the introduction of the classroom aim.  The aim is the overall objective you and your students work to accomplish.  The first brick in the foundation of a quality classroom, the aim begins to answer the question, “Why are we here?”  Once introduced, the aim pervades every aspect of class functioning, driving decisions and determining goals.

Introduction to This Blog Series

Establishing a sense of purpose is one of the most important responsibilities teachers face at the beginning of each new school year. Over the next several weeks I will share a variety of ideas that I have used to help students better understand why it is important to come to school every day, work hard, and learn as much as possible.

Character education has been a very popular topic in recent years. In the noble effort to build character in children and respond to this important societal need, schools have launched a wide variety of initiatives and started a great number of programs. In my experience, the most effective character education initiatives cannot be add-ons.

When I speak of add-ons, I am talking about guest speakers, special assemblies, and other periodic activities that are not part of a student’s core schooling experience. In no way do I mean to put down guest speakers and special assemblies. In fact, I have seen many excellent ones throughout my career. The problem is this: unless character education efforts are embedded in the daily fabric of classroom life, results are likely to be disappointing. Effective character education cannot be “something extra” that we offer our students every once in a while. Results will only be powerful and lasting when these efforts are a consistent component of our classroom experience.

This blog post marks the end of my 13-week series on nurturing students’ intrinsic motivation. As I  close out my discussion of this topic, I want to distinguish between recognitions and rewards.  Many consider them to be one in the same.  In fact, I vividly recall a course I taught to a group of teachers where I was pointing out the dangers of using extrinsic rewards and suggesting instead the nurturing of intrinsic motivation based on the ideas described in this blog series.  One member of the group, however, drew the conclusion that, because some of the recognition ideas involve notes and certificates, now we are supposed to give students rewards but call them recognitions instead.  He saw no clear difference between the two approaches.

In my previous blog post I described how consistent, thoughtful recognition can make students feel valued, boost self-esteem, and nurture intrinsic motivation. In this blog post I will present a list of ways, formal and informal, in which teachers and students can offer recognition on a regular basis.  Try as many of these options as you can.  You will notice an immediate change in your classroom environment.

Introduction

This blog series has reached the tenth and final force I have identified that brings out the best in children by appealing to the best in them.

Instead of trying to gain temporary obedience from our students through the use of rewards and punishments, these forces help us in our attempts to win our students’ hearts and minds and enlist a genuine commitment to the worthwhile aims and objectives we are trying to promote in our classrooms.

Introduction

This blog series continues with a description of the 9th force (out of 10) I have identified that brings out the best in children by appealing to the best in them.

Instead of trying to gain temporary obedience from our students through the use of rewards and punishments, these forces help us in our attempts to win our students’ hearts and minds and enlist a genuine commitment to the worthwhile aims and objectives we are trying to promote in our classrooms.

Introduction

This blog series rolls on with a description of the 8th force (out of 10) I have identified that brings out the best in children by appealing to the best in them.

Instead of trying to gain temporary obedience from our students through the use of rewards and punishments, these forces help us in our attempts to win our students’ hearts and minds and enlist a genuine commitment to the worthwhile aims and objectives we are trying to promote in our classrooms.

Introduction

After sharing a story in last week’s blog post about the “bird signal” I used with a former student in an attempt to inspire him to be his very best, I return this week to describing the forces that nurture intrinsic motivation.  This post introduces the 7th of 10 forces I have identified that bring out the best in children by appealing to the best in them.

Instead of trying to gain temporary obedience from our students through the use of rewards and punishments, these forces help us in our attempts to win our students’ hearts and minds and enlist a genuine commitment to the worthwhile aims and objectives we are trying to promote in our classrooms.