"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."- Thomas Edison

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Additional Assignment #2

How Kids Teach Themselves
If anyone is motivated to act on a strong desire, there is not much that will hold them back. Even through difficulties, true motivation and willpower will compel anyone to do whatever they set their mind to. In my opinion, this is true even for those who are passionate learners and want to teach themselves.

If the motivated learners are children, I feel they have an advantage to teaching themselves than those who discover they are learners at a later age. Creativity is at its highest point when you are a child and view the world as a beautiful, perfect place where anything is possible. It was also made apparent by Sugata Mitra's experiments that kids can teach themselves to learn. In order for kids to teach themselves, they need inspiration, motivation, and confidence. I feel they must have either a teacher or respectable adult to push them in the right direction and praise them for their accomplishments. I also think collaboration with children their own age on any project, experiment, or discovery is vital. The same aspects are necessary for anyone who wants to teach him or herself.

Computers and the internet play a major role in the learning process. There are endless sources useful for research, many which are quite entertaining. There are also ways for the children to communicate with children in different parts of the world, teachers, and other mediators. The possibilities are endless if a child is motivated and has access to these tools. I also feel that computers and the internet can instill the motivation to learn.

Unless someone is motivated to learn, learning will be ineffective and nothing will come from it. The individual must have a desire to learn and reach personal goals in order for learning to be of any worth. Otherwise, learning will be turned into all of that extra, useless information in the back of the mind. In the process of learning there will arise problems and questions. In my opinion, this is not an excuse or reason to give up, but adds credit to working even harder to resolve the problem or find an answer to the question. Finding the solution to an obstacle is rewarding enough alone, but to have that extra insight into a situation is a rejuvenating feeling.

Just as I am motivated to exercise in order to keep my body healthy, I am also motivated to learn so that I can keep my mind healthy as well. Anytime I hear of a term or an instance I am unfamiliar with which interests me, I am motivated to know more. I really don't worry about what I will get out of learning more; it is just a natural thrill. I understand that not everyone is like this, and others need someone to spark their interest in more concrete ways.

I am also motivated to learn how to help others learn, especially those with larger difficulties and obstacles than my own. I really do not have a specific reason I can explain for this desire, other than the fact that I feel everyone should be pushed upward to the highest possible destination they can reach. Despite the struggles and need for greater patience and perseverance this entails, it feels my heart with longing to see every child become an achiever of self-obtained goals.
In the present, I motivate others with reassurance that if they set their minds to something they can do it. I share my own experiences in overcoming obstacles in my path, and explain how these defeated blockages have led me to where I am in my life. I try to let my happiness from my achievements shine through to set a good example. Praise for a job well-done and rewards for those who are not naturally motivated learners are a sure way to bring motivation to light. Critique and correction are important in the learning process as well. The promise of rewards for doing something correctly will inevitably build motivation not to give up, especially if the children see that I will not give up on them.

I teach myself every time I feel the urge to learn something more or anytime I am having trouble in a particular subject. For example, if I have no clue how to do a Pre-calculus problem, I will search for the basic concept the problem stemmed from and different examples on how to work the problem. I will attempt the problem using different methods until I find the one that best suits me. I do this because sometimes what works the best for me may not be understood to be the simplest solution to others, such as my teacher or classmates. I also find it more rewarding to make an 'A' on a test or succeed in creating a unique project if it comes from my own understanding and commitment.

A teacher plays an important role in inspiring and motivating a child. He or she is the person who is with the child the majority of the time and is able to see first hand the child's personality when it comes to learning and tackling hardships. Observation should result in guidance, uplifting praise, the trial of different tactics, and whatever else it takes to insure that a child is not left behind.

The most important idea that I gained from watching this video is that anything is possible. With this mindset, anything is possible. Nothing can be impossible if you want it badly enough. I believe this and think it is imperative that we help our students to see the truth in this as well, or rather refuse to take away the imagination they were born with. There are many ways to spark interest and help a child to build motivation in him or herself. One that I haven't mentioned is curiosity. What better way to gain the attention of children in the first place than to confront them with something that makes them wonder? This is what Sugata Mitra did with the children in India when he left a computer in their vicinity, and we were able to see how successful this truly was. There's an old saying, "Curiosity killed the cat", which I think should be altered to say, "Curiosity saved the world". Many good things established came forth first through curiosity, then inspiration and motivation, and lastly perseverance and determination.

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