Sunday, April 9, 2017

#iatefl2017 Motivational teaching by Nicholas Thorner


A very interesting talk about motivation based on new book Motivational Teaching.
Starting his talk, Nicholas Thorner mentioned the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is used to be associate with pleasure, but even people with low dopamine can feel it.
The truth is that dopamine is released before the actual action, so, that's why it is called an cation chemical. It also has a second function, it codes information for future reference.
What are the principles for motivation?

But it's not just about the reward. What will happen if I don't do this?
How is this translated in the learning context? Embarrassment among peers?
What are the cognitive rewards in Learning?
  • successful outcome of interection
  • progress
  • satisfaction of finishing a task
  • self-esteem
Students do want to learn, but sometimes they don't feel the motivation. They want to learn because they have to or their parents make them or there is peer pressure and this brings them to a demotivating state.
 What we have to realize is that once you get started, it becomes easy, so for example if you have a well designed / planned activity, flow might happen.

An example of a reward in creativity is the 5-day-streak: Create lesson plans every day, 5 days in a row, like people do in social media (i.g. snapchat) where they post every day in order not to lose the streak.
Spend sometime  raising commitment to the task before the task.
Here are some examples for both teachers and learners, giving reason and reward:

Give them the:
  • Why
  • How 
  • What
Increase their reward factor.
Give them the chance to be creative with an extra task.
  • When 
  • Where
Take away all possible excuses.
Give them a reward if they keep the streak.


Nicholas Thorner continued giving ideas for planning and motivating like this map:
He advised teachers to name their lesson plans "lesson strategies" and that they should make learning something relevant to them proposing lost of ideas.
You can find the session video  and more information over here:

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