Carpe Diem and Motivation
For this section of the assignment I was asked to tell a story of a an educator who was successful at motivating his/her students. Instantly I thought of "Dead Poet Society" with Robin Williams. I know this movies gets over-used, but it is an extremely good example when discussing motivation with non-traditional methods. Before going any further, I think it is important that you, the educator, watch these clips. After watching, think about what Mr.Keating does, and ask yourself, "would I do this?"
What an interesting way to start a class. Mr. Keating doesn't hand out a syllabus or go over the traditional classroom rules. No. Instead he wants his students to be fascinated with their lives. This is important because he is taking an interest in his student's lives. Zull, Maslow, and Kohn would see this as very important in the process of promoting learning. You can see in their faces that Mr.Keating is getting through to them, and each one is thinking ahead, maybe reflecting on something, and even in ecstasy, not worrying about anything. Pretty powerful stuff.
This next video demonstrates that feeling of ecstasy that Mihaly discussed. The sweet spot where nothing else matters. Watch as Mr.Keating transforms the student, and allows them the chance to forget everything, and do something amazing.
Mr.Keating is unconventional, and he motivates his students through unconventional methods. Did Keating support scaffolding learning? Absolutely. The first clip demonstrates Keatings ability to take a sometimes "boring" topic--literature-- and making it fascinating, by using the theme of Carpe Diem, or "Seize the day". The theme of seizing the day encourages the students of his class to create their own poetry club, and to enjoy literature and classic pieces of poetry. A boring topic is transformed into an eye-opening experience for the students. Not only do they learn about literature, but they also learn a lot about themselves.
Were Mr.Keating's methods professionally appropriate. If you take Zull, Maslow, Kohn and Mihaly's theories, which all suggest that students need intrinsic motivation, then yes, his methods were professional. If you believe that students should feel safe in their classroom, and willing to engage with other students, then yes, Mr.Keating's ethics were professional.
The evidence of the men that have been discussed on this site, suggest that students need teachers who are willing to step beyond conventional teaching techniques. These men suggest that educators should be willing to be involved in a student's life, they are not suggesting we come over for Sunday dinner, but that we take the time to get to know our students, and if we do this, then we will be able to excite their eagerness for learning. If we take the time to understand how the mind of a student works, and take the time to understand their circumstances, and are willing to open the doors and create an inviting and open classroom, then our students will be willing to open their mind to learning, and the results will hopefully be amazing.
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