Motivation Must be Strategized

 Part 2: Motivation Must Be Strategized

As indicated last week, I am reviewing the concepts I presented two and half months ago at Convocation. As you may recall, I presented four main concepts researched by Dr. Bill Daggett and practiced by high performing and rapidly improving schools and districts. Last week, I reviewed the importance of the art of teaching. This week, I’ll review the importance of motivation. As a reminder, sentences in italics are GFPS belief statements which can be found here: http://www.gfps.k12.mt.us/content/mission.

Concept #2: Motivation Must Be Strategized
The most successful high performing schools realize that for students to be successful at content, they must be motivated to learn the content. Daggett relies on the research of Dweck and others when he sets forth these important key factors of student motivation:
• A sense of academic and social belonging
• Seeing school as relevant to their future
• A disposition to work hard and postpone immediate gratification
• An ability not to get derailed by academic or social difficulties
• A willingness to seek out challenges
• The desire to remain engaged for the long haul
He and others implore educators to pay attention to these factors in order to nurture academic tenacity and grit in our students. You may recognize these things as the underpinnings of rigor and relevance. I must admit that when I read those bullets, I get a pit in my stomach. Those are such hard things to accomplish…so hard to measure…so hard to know what to do.

High performing schools in our nation, including GFPS, are recognizing that to move forward these items must be addressed. We are addressing them by developing thoughtful implementation plans that center around these concepts. We continue to seek to create environments where students feel comfortable, safe and encouraged in their pursuit of tenacity. We are challenged to look at everything: content, delivery methods, assessment methods, grading practices, schedules, extra and co- curricular activities, building interiors…everything is on the table to ensure engagement because as our belief statement says, all students and staff learn and work best in a safe, secure and nurturing, and I would add motivating, environment. It’s why our administrators will leave no stone unturned to ensure, like our belief statements say we will, that each student will have fair and equitable opportunity for quality instruction and academic success.

All students…each student. Simple words, but admittedly, not simple to do. Some students seem to have an internal compass for grit and tenacity and others don’t. There are lots of reasons for this; reasons we don’t always fully understand. And there’s the challenge: figuring it out for the hard to reach and sometimes because of that, the hard to teach. Thus, the plans we make are important, but not as important as the GFPS staff members who demonstrate their own tenacity and grit as they never give up on these kids. I thank you for helping all students belong, find relevance, defy derailment, face the challenges and engage for the long haul. Each kid…all kids… deserve nothing less.

Take care. Be safe. Stay well.
Tammy