Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

Motivation and emotion

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Pragmatic Education

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What makes kids motivated? And how can teachers and senior leaders get all kids working hard? In a five-post series, I’m exploring a few different ways of thinking about these questions. Last week, I borrowed from game theory and behavioural economics to illuminate motivation deficits and short attention spans. This week, I want to look at expectancy, emotions and trust.

Self-fulfilling prophecies

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According to ancient Greek legend, Pygamalion invested so much love and care in sculpting a statue of the most beautiful and inspiring woman he could imagine, that the gods fulfilled his hopes and metamorphosed her into reality.

Teachers’ expectations have an impact on pupils that is hard to overstate. In 1968, Rosenthal & Jacobson ran a landmark experiment. When teachers were told that top sets were actually bottom sets, results declined. When teachers were told bottom sets were actually top set, results improved.

This has been replicated…

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