Some time ago a colleague and I were talking about how the ways that we talk to students about learning can help or hinder the cultivation of student beliefs in learning. This is an important topic in terms of labor-saving for teachers because we all speak to our students anyways — be it through in-person instruction or small-group conferencing or asynchronous video — so we might as well do that talking in a manner that enhances motivation rather than in a manner that hinders it.
So I decided to do a one-take video on one way of talking to students about the Value of learning. (You may remember that Value is one of five key beliefs I see as fundamental to an intrinsically motivated learner. See my brief primer on those beliefs here.)
It's not perfect, but I hope it can prompt some conversation between you and your colleagues about the ways that we talk to students about learning.
What I'm trying to do:
- First and foremost, I want to help my students to trust in the value of learning. This “value belief” (one of five that I write about) is integral to helping students do work with care.
- I'm approaching the value belief in this case by speaking to the reality that the utility of learning things is not limited to their observable utility. This is remarkably more effective than always harping at students about relevance.
- I want to create a world of wonder for my students; or rather, I'm trying to give them the eyes to see that they already live in a world that is wonderful. This is a place where we learn because learning is good and learning is something we're designed to do.
- I want to speak to what it means to “show up” to a class. College/career readiness guru David Conley talked about this as student ownership and described it as an unavoidable necessity in any successful educational endeavor.
How do you speak to students about the beauty of learning? Do you have any videos of this instruction? If so, please share in the comments!