|This is now the quickest route to fame, fortune|
and a reality TV show. We celebrate these
self-absorbed people every time we watch these
guilty pleasures. Shame on you, Barbie!
So, what do we do for the child with no sense of shame or self-regulation, without the ability to stop his or her baser impulses, no capacity to do things against his or her inclination? Since the goal of this blog is to address solutions to the very real problems facing teachers and education, I found some resources for teachers in regards to self-regulation and middle schoolers, which is a bit late developmentally to learn such a thing, but it is the population that I serve. There is a survey called the Self-Regulation Questionnaire, or SRQ that gauges how motivated a student is or is not. Somehow, magically I assume, they will take the survey and realize that the path to success is paved with intrinsic motivation and hard work. I say magically, because there are plenty of studies on the "relative autonomy index" score on this questionnaire and students' academic performance, but no information that I could find on how to raise a students RAI. The best I can gather is that from there, they should monitor if they are working towards their goals by completing a "learning contract form". My school currently does this, as does every other school with which I am familiar. In the learning contract, or goals, as they are called in most every school, the students write about what they can do to succeed, and look back at why they performed well or poorly. I am thinking about asking the administrators in my school to add a component about how they feel about their past performance, as well.
I have always started my school year talking to students about effort and success. I reinforce this by pointing out that those who do homework also do well on assessments. I also corrolate school success with incomes, in order to motivate them extrinsically. Learning takes hard work and dedication, there is no other way. Currently, this does little to change the behaviors of those who are looking for immediate gratification. Other things that have little to no effect on these students attitudes and work ethics are phone calls home, failing grades, lunch and afterschool detention, being pulled out by the dean, suspension etc. Do I really think giving kids a survey will change this? No. Will I give the survey as soon as the math state test is in the rearview mirror. Yes, because I am desperate. My students do not care. My students do not try. They will probably not take the survey seriously. But, I have to try it. I will let you know the results as soon as I know.