Jigsaw Discussion and Reflection on Motivation
Within our home group discussion on the articles related to Motivation, there was a common theme running through the 3 articles Lulu, Matt and I read which was primarily how to engage struggling students, or how to engage students to get motivated about reading. One of the articles which we discussed, “Reading, Gender and Engagement” looked at the role of gender and it’s influence on reading, providing examples of five developed countries (United States, Germany, Korea, Finland, and Ireland) and middle school students. Girls tend to do better in reading, especially print reading; whereas the gap between males and females narrows for digital reading.
While the gender article provided recommendations how to motivate boys more to become interested in reading, the other two article on the “Seven Rules of Engagement” and the “The Social Side Of Engaged Reading For Young Adolescents” was more targeted to HOW to engage both girls and boys. Here are some ways to increase motivation in students:
1) Students’ readings have some connection with their life.
2) Students can access a variety of reading materials, for example comics, novels..
3) Students are given choices about what to read.
4) Students are able to socially engage and talk to their peers about what they read.
5) Students are praised in a way that reflects their efforts, more than the result.
6) Students get time to read in classroom, and it can be anything they enjoy, fiction or non-fiction.
7) When students think they are reading something that is a little challenging they have the incentive to read it.
As someone who enjoys reading, especially fiction, I felt reassured that even this type of reading is fine, because it reading should be a process of “social engagement” where the reader becomes engaged with the writing, the plot, characters and stories to the extent they can visualize themselves in it and how they would respond to a given situation. It’s all about engaging the different senses to enrich the reading process.
One of the things that I don’t necessarily agree with in the readings is that it’s not probably always the best idea to have a male figure be a mentor to a male student to improve their reading. The motivation does not have to rely on the person being a male, just someone who can be an effective of change. Another one of the articles (“The Social Side of Engaged Reading for Young Adolescents”) focuses too much on catering to the students likes constantly. Sometimes it’s important that students are taught that new things can be fun and meaningful if they are willing to take a step outside what’s familiar, otherwise, how else will they learn about the world around them, which is important to critical-thinking. Reading should not be about only what one likes, although it is a big part of reading, but not the only way. I really do agree that access to books is a very important issue facing a lot of students especially in the developing world.
It is not that they are not motivated enough, it’s that they don’t have the opportunity.
If students had more opportunities, they would run with the readings and motivation would not be such a problem. I also tend to think that family and home plays a big part in how students think about reading. This is again about access. When there isn’t a figure to model after due to lack of a reading environment then the student would not know any better. A self-motivated individual is rare, and that person is someone who is able to rise above their surroundings to motivate themselves and doing this through books can be very empowering. I have seen such examples.