Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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12. Expectations for Success - Motivation and Learning

Questions for Reflection

Question 1: The students in the geography class seem to be enjoying the work they are doing in the "expert jigsaw," but it appears they are essentially collecting sets of facts about countries. Is that what would be called an "authentic task?"

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Question 2: As students work on the "expert jigsaw" activity, each student is supposed to have a certain assignment within the group. How does the teacher really control that when some kids want to "show off" their abilities beyond their assignment? Others in such a group may become less motivated when that happens.

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Question 3: The biology teacher allows students to truly experiment – that is, she allows failures and helps students learn from them. How does she prevent students from carrying the "failure is fine" to an extreme – where students accept, and even aim for, failure because it might be "cool?"

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Question 4: The biology teacher seems to be pushing the students with the broken egg pretty hard toward a correct answer – even dismissing one suggestion about "using a microscope." How does that fit with the suggestion that students be given a lot of leeway to come up with their own hypotheses or solutions to problems?

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Question 5: The eighth-grade technology teacher said each student had a specific task in building the bridge. What happens when one student just doesn't hold up his or her end? Or worse, tries to cover a failure by talking down the whole activity?

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Question 6: It appeared that the eighth grade students enjoyed the negotiating part of the toothpick bridge project, and certainly that's part of what makes the activity authentic. But how do bartering skills improve standardized test scores?

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Question 7: The high school students in the writing class were working on essays that appeared to be based on their personal experiences. How does the teacher motivate students to get past the surface – that is, to overcome their resistance to sharing their personal feelings or what might be embarrassing experiences?

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Question 8: The high school history teacher tried to ensure that every student felt that his or her ideas counted – that was an important motivator to participate in the discussion.

However, not all students come to class equally prepared. Some will have studied the text closely, and others, perhaps, not at all. If all ideas expressed are considered equally valid, what's the motivation to prepare for class, and how will they be prepared for other activities or assessments?

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Return to support materials for Session 12.

Instructions on how to use the Questions for Reflection activity

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