Monday, April 11, 2005

Impetus

I'm not too keen on the word "motivation" because it seems to me that we teachers use it lazily to cover a multitude of classroom woes without really knowing what we mean. But it seems that, like me, some of my old chums have been grappling with the whole problem of initiating and then maintaining blogging impetus (okay then, motivation by any other name).

Via Graham comes this link to the highly motivated hipteacher: "I love and adore using blogs with my students. In my experience, writing, revising and peer editing within the blog structure has particularly helped their writing skills. [...] Teenagers are so self-conscious, I find the lack of face-to-face contact adds dramatically to the strength and effectiveness of peer editing and review.

But Sarolta has had a somewhat different experience: "Unfortunately, I'm not very successful at making students blog. I took them to the computing lab three times, and they seemed to like it. The majority was proud of their blogs. However, the number of posts in their blogs is really small. I know that I should have demanded that they respected the deadlines for the individual posts. Instead I tried to attract them to writing by giving them a reason to write. Obviously, this wasn't a good idea. It's difficult to motivate students if they are not motivated themselves."

And Rita Zeinstejer thinks about teacher impetus "I found that, even when the members in this group had joined it out of their own will to learn about blogging, it was my duty to keep the ball rolling [...] above all, it was me who needed to stay motivated !!"

I think I've been through all three of these phases. Wildly enthusiastic about blogging to begin with, which I must have communicated to my first class of students because they're still blogging away madly. Then, I got a new group with a more sluggish dynamic and they're not so motiv.....eh regular in their blogging, and this overlapped with a dip in my own blogging zippiness. I have no answers. You can't MAKE students write enthusiastic posts and you can't force yourself to post when you don't think you've got anything interesting to say. (You can, however, drivel on for hours on end on other days when you really don't have anything interesting to say. Nuff said?)

3 comments:

Nancy McKeand said...

Seems like you proved Rita's point when she says she was the one who needed to stay motivated!

Our students can sense immediately whether or not we truly buy into whatever it is we ask them to do. If we do, they are with us. If we don't...

Nathan Lowell said...

Proves the old saw

"You can lead a student to class, but you can't make him (or her) think."

:)

Jill said...

I think this is so true! This is my fifth semester of teaching using blogs, and I've found it really hard to keep my motivation up, and predictably, most of the students aren't blogging much - although some are wonderfully keen. Part of my problem's been an overload of work, but there's also a momentum that I've lost since the first year or so that I don't really know if I can regain.

Do you think people become RE-motivated about it all?