Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Self kidology

I use kidology on my students all the time. Of course (almost) everyone likes a pat on the back, a high five, a well done. But people respond to things in very different ways and so I need to try and encouraging them in different ways. For example if you tell one person that they can't do something, they will try even harder in an attempt to prove you wrong, while another will agree, giving up without even trying. It is therefore very important as a teacher to know how to individually motivate your students. Which is difficult, especially when you teach around 110 different children a week, as I do.

There are several key phrases that I use to help motivate the children to do better. One that I use quite often is: well done that was very good but I think you can do even better. It gives them that little pat on the back that they need, while also encouraging them to try even harder next time.

I find it very interesting to see, how what you say can motivate some but demotivate others. One of the things that I get my children to do at the end of almost every lesson, is to swim under the water and collect *sinkers from the bottom of the pool.

Almost all of the children enjoy this and many of them are very good at it. One child that I teach, a boy of around 10, likes to try and go as far under the water as possible and he is very good at it. Therefore, when I tell him that I am moving the toys further away, he gets excited and tries that bit harder. However, when I teach another child, a girl of around 7, if I tell her that I am moving the toys further away - regardless of whether I actually move them or not - she always comes up short before collecting all six toys. However, if I tell her that I will now put them back to where they had previously been, she gets all six, even though in truth, sometimes I haven't moved them back at all. Thus proving that she can do it physically and it's the thought of going further that makes her come up for air.

Now obviously it's a lot easier to use this kind of kidology on somebody other than yourself, but I think that we're all susceptible to it and so can try and use it on ourselves. Maybe writing about it with break the spell, but I am currently using on myself in an attempt to make me swim more often and I'm hopeful that it might just work.

Up until recently I was working at the pool teaching 4 days a week. I would therefore attempt to make myself swim 4 times a week and yet because I struggle with motivation it meant that I was more likely to swim twice a week. Therefore, now that I am working at the pool 6 times a week, I am attempting to kid myself into thinking that I want to swim 6 times a week. Hopeful that if I try to swim 6 times a week, I will probably end up swimming around 4 times a week, which of course I will be very happy with. Will it work? I'm not sure. Only time will tell, keep your fingers crossed for me and I will let you know.

*sinkers are toys that you drop into the water in order for the students to practice their underwater swimming and streamline position. "Back in the day" teachers used a black brick!

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