The Art of Motivation

Translated by Sayyad Hassan Naqavi

Key words: students, positive behavior, motivation system, type of success, expected behavior, sense of reward

My first year of teaching happened by accident. I did not get a college degree, but instead decided to go to New York after graduation and participate in a program that offered an alternative degree. I had no experience running a class. One of the first pieces of advice I heard from almost every coach was to create a symbolic economic system! That should start from the first day. I did the same, and with determination I launched this symbolic economy in the classroom. An economy that included losing points, earning points, and allowing students to buy weekly prizes.
The first type I tried to implement in the third and fourth grades was that students were given a certain amount of points per day, but for every thing they did that went against the rules in the class, these points were taken away from them. Students were upset when they lost a point, and instead of learning not to break the rules anymore or to influence the behavior of others, they approached it as a point that was lost and inaccessible. They were watching! As a result, many students gave up any effort to improve the situation for a day or a week. This system actually exposed more contradictory behaviors.
Instead of changing my approach, I changed my financial system from a scorecard to a ticket. I started this style of encouraging them for every positive behavior and handing out tickets among them, but it still had the same result for them. Eventually I stopped distributing tickets and scorecards and only encouraged and praised their positive behaviors. But this method did not go very well. Because they still adhered to class rules if they had a scorecard because they were previously motivated by the scorecard or tickets, not by the behavior itself. I found that external reward not only reduces a person’s spiritual and natural motivation, but also becomes a barrier to the internalization of what we expect from each other.
It was here that no one in the class felt good about themselves anymore, and that included me. So I read books on student motivation, and I learned from these books how important it is to admire effort, to respect exploration, and to encourage students to discover things that can motivate them. These skills need to be clearly designed and then practiced.
Another thing I studied was the “system of raising responsibility without anxiety” and I decided to start over. So instead of setting rules and setting expectations for the class, we talked: In class we talked about the different kinds of choices we make and how each of these choices can affect our lives and what is around us. influence. Instead of going to the school store on a weekly basis to buy sex prize tickets, we held weekly meetings where we talked about our successes and goals in life.
This is for us when we come together and solve our problems. A large part of our discussion is about the number and types of choices we make during the day. We may make bad choices and we may also have different choices and high levels. What could be the consequences of these choices and how do we feel about them? These conversations help us focus on behaviors instead of on people.
It is not always easy to help my students get through the years in which they have been taught to exhibit expected behaviors with tangible, external, teacher-controlled rewards. But in the end, they come to the conclusion that they too have the power to choose and to do the right thing. That was their sense of reward. Some students needed more support, and instead of using a ticket or a scorecard, they designed stickers to mark the compliments they received from classmates or teachers. They are looking for a role model in their lives to find times of challenge and times of success.
Some students need more structured verbal encouragement and ways to express feelings and frustrations. As we added these sections to our daily schedule, the classroom changed and became a kind, productive, and thoughtful environment. We could now learn, have fun and enjoy our time together. Leaving an external network of the motivation system is not quick, easy and hassle-free, nor does it form the same for everyone. But it is quite possible to allow children to develop their inner motivation so that they can make better choices as they grow older.