Since recently doing research on past and present studies on child psychology, child development, and the way children learn, I have been extremely interested in what motivates children to learn. Actually, I have been interested in it longer than that; I have watched as children in my own class have seemed bored or listless, fighting over the same toys for lack of anything better to do, and have seemed bored or talkative during circle times.
I have completely changed my approach to each of these areas, making each optional for the children rather than mandatory. I have even made art optional and more child-directed; I set out the supplies and stand as a guide and the children can come do their art however they wish. Since I have three-year-olds in my class, more guidance is required than would be for a six-year-old or even a four-year-old class, but when the children sit down to do their art now, they are engaged because they made the choice to do art. Just yesterday I sat and watched a boy cut paper with scissors for over an hour, watching the way his hands worked the scissors and trying to figure out the best and most effective way to cut the paper. It is moments like these that make my job worth it – the moments of watching a child explore and discover and show in many ways the fact that they are learning, even if they don’t have a teacher there to tell them what to do all of the time.
So after that experience, added to the research I have recently been doing, I was delighted to come across this blog post talking about motivation. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!