Monday, October 13, 2014

Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose

In a meeting last week a student made a statement that I feel was very profound. He said, "We should be able to decide the classes we want to take. We can show what we are interested in and then take classes that support that. Then, we would really be ready for college or a job after high school. We shouldn't have to take classes just because it is a requirement that we take it. When we are in a class we aren't interested in, we won't do as well." The truth of the matter is that there are many more students that feel the same way as this student. We obviously cannot put aside the state requirements for high school graduation, but we need to take this student's statement to heart. We MUST attempt to make every class as relevant and meaningful to our students as possible.

Every class has a purpose and a connection to the real world. I am calling on all teachers to find that connection and meaning and capitalize on it. If you teach English, bring in the journalists and published authors to talk to your students. If you teach math bring in the engineers, the chefs, and the carpenters that use math daily in their professions. Let students experiment with new ideas and applications. Our students need to be able to think critically and to apply their knowledge in the real world. We want our students to be great successes upon graduation.

When students feel purpose and meaning in what they are doing that they will in turn find intrinsic motivation. Ask yourself this before you hand out an assignment, "How will this assignment improve the success and ultimate productivity of my students?" If you can't find an answer to that question you should rethink the assignment/activity. As a No Excuses University school we are preparing ALL of our students for college and career. We need to ENSURE that our activities, lessons, assignments, and projects are truly preparing them for success in college and career.

I have mentioned Daniel Pink in previous posts, but now is a great time for everyone to read DRIVE by Daniel Pink. You have to watch this short ten minute video from Youtube. It is an RSA animate video that depicts the fundamentals in DRIVE. RSA Animate DRIVE

I also found an audio book recording on Youtube of DRIVE. I have provided you the link here. AudioBook recording of DRIVE

Many more great things are in store for Fairfield High!

Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence! 


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