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In the teacher’s manual for every instructional program, there is a suggestion about the ideal way to use the materials. For many teachers, however, the ideal way is an impossible dream. So, what do you do? Improvise and create implementation models that match your circumstances.
All of us do some things because we like to. We also do our best to instill in the children we teach and others this same feeling. Intrinsic rewards are wonderfully motivating, but we are not born with the ability to generate this motivation. We learn it through a variety of processes, starting at an early age.
The dream of every physicist is finding the theory of everything. The dream of every teacher is discovering how to engage every student. How wonderful it would be for them...and us. There is no single definition for engagement, but it is one of those constructs we recognize when we see it. Engaged students are attentive and interested in what they are doing. They are curious, hopeful about what they can accomplish, and enthusiastic.
Let's get right to the point. Students are most interested in what they are interested in. In any classroom, the range of interests is infinite and changes whimsically. However, there are two things nearly every student is interested in: movies and music. That means movie scripts and song lyrics can be amazing reading resources in many ways.
A foundational ability of humans is the willingness to try things to see how they work out. This might be the most important talent we have developed.
A colleague and I have been looking at progress and outcome measures for a number of students using different interventions. After much plotting and discussion, we came to a remarkably insightful conclusion that I would like to share with you.
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