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can the wrong school environment kill motivation for learning?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Can the wrong school environment for gifted children kill motivation for learning?

There is a statement made here - and on the HSing boards - that the wrong school environment kills the love of learning.

Do you think this is true?
post #2 of 26
yes, i think it can.

in my case, the wrong learning environment didn't permanently kill my love of learning, but it certainly temporarily deadened it, and it took awhile for me to blossom intellectually because of that.
post #3 of 26
sure, but I don't think it is just a gifted thing.

An environment where the tasks are a poor match to the task-doer's skills/abilities (either too hard or too easy), where the boss/teacher is too lenient or too draconian, where the rewards/consequences are either too large or too small, etc will all destroy someone's motivation.

Some people I know have no motivation to learn--only to achieve. Others have no motivation to achieve--only to learn. thankfully, most people I know fall somewhere on the continuum and where they fall is very much dependent on the context/situation.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post
sure, but I don't think it is just a gifted thing.


Some people I know have no motivation to learn--only to achieve. Others have no motivation to achieve--only to learn. thankfully, most people I know fall somewhere on the continuum and where they fall is very much dependent on the context/situation.
Bolding mine. I do not think it is only a gifted thing either. However, to keep it relevant to a discussion on the gifted forum - I did use the "g" word in the OP. I do wonder if it may be a more complex issue for gifties - is their innate love of learning stronger than more NT folk (not sure...and that seems an elitist thing to say) and thus they are less likely to have love of learning killed by poor schooling fit? Or are they more likely to have their love of learning killed because it is hard for gifted children to find a good fit?

Reflecting on my own schooling - I was very much achievement based. This was probably due to the fact that I was a people pleaser. The ideal was to get good marks so I did. It was not until I was in post secondary education that I began to be motivated to learn for learnings sake.

As an adult - I am not driven to achieve at all with regards to knowledge aquisition...when I retain knowledge it is purely for the love of it.

I am not sure school can kill love of learning - as I think "love of learning" is often stronger than that - but I do think it can dampen it or send it into hiding.

I can think of two subjects where school really did a job on me....

1. French. Goodness, was it boring. So much rote memorisation. It took me years to want to learn French. Knowing French is important in my area of the world.

2. English. I read so many really depressing novels in English Lit that now I will only read fluff. I think my years of heavy depressing lit does play a part in this fluffy (yet fun) habit.

Kathy
post #5 of 26
I think gifted people are more apt to experience a massive mismatch in school than typical learners are.

But, I think that the students I worked with who had disabilities were far more vulnerable to losing their motivation to learn due to the difficulty of the task at hand, and the underlying self-esteem issues they had due to repeated failure and social struggles. (I know that in many ways, many gifted people look a lot like folks with Aspergers--my own son included--so there is obviously considerable overlap between the two populations. However, I tended to find more of my students with disabilities to have no motivation/love of learning than I did the gifted students I have encountered, either personally or professionally).

the big concern is when people draw global conclusions regarding situational issues. I think that gifted people are more apt to see the difference, and therefore less apt to lose motivation/love of learning globally, even if they lose all desire to achieve anything in the school setting.

I don't think that any of us are born as fragile stemware, but I do think that it is easy for parents to treat their children as extremely breakable and vulnerable--which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our over-arching goal with our son is to teach him resiliency--which guards against depression and anxiety as well as loss of motivation.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post
. Our over-arching goal with our son is to teach him resiliency--which guards against depression and anxiety as well as loss of motivation.
I agree with your whole post, but this last sentence is exactly where we are.

My kids have both experienced serious mismatch, but now both seem to be in places that are a pretty good fit. I predict DS will hum along for a few years so long as I ensure that he has lots of opportunities to choose for himself as he's extremely self-directed and loves the social life and bustle of school (a major turn around from kindie and gr1 - I credit his current teacher/school along with his own developmental path).

DD expressed extreme betrayal about school pretty early on - she couldn't understand why they largely left her to her own devices while she hungered for more but needed guidance and connection. She actually checked out completely last year and decided to make a major change this year.

She didn't lose her love of learning, but she went through some pretty significant emotional distress that preoccupied the time and energy she would otherwise have likely been investing in learning and exploring. She's now in a school that is paying attention and investing in her. Phew. Big phew.

ETA: they're both attending a school which emphasizes intensive, project-based learning which I'm hoping will keep them highly engaged.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Can the wrong school environment for gifted children kill motivation for learning?

There is a statement made here - and on the HSing boards - that the wrong school environment kills the love of learning.

Do you think this is true?
Yes, yes, and yes!! As a gifted teacher for many years I've seen highly-gifted children that start out the year ready to learn only to end the year unmotivated, discouraged, and possibly a discipline concern all because of the wrong learning environment .

I'm actually experiencing a similar situation this year as I'm teaching in a school where the administration doesn't seem to care too much about the gifted learner which makes my job as the gifted coach extremely difficult.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

DD expressed extreme betrayal about school pretty early on - she couldn't understand why they largely left her to her own devices while she hungered for more but needed guidance and connection. She actually checked out completely last year ...
This was my experience as a kid, and it is my *BIGGEST* fear for my DD. My heart is really heavy about it lately.
post #9 of 26
yup yup yup. volunteering in my dd's classroom i can just tell by teh expression on the kids faces.

i am lucky that my dd has found a way to cope - all on her own. it also comes from an attitude of what school means to her. she told her K teacher that she comes to school to party and goes home to study. she still maintains this attitude in 2nd/3rd grade split.

the first two years were really hard on her. not enough challenges. she learnt to do the minimum and disappear into fantasy land.

this year she is in second third grade split. that has been much more helpful to her than GATE. seh is doing some second grade math but mostly 3rd grade reading and multiplication which even the 2nd grade gate kids are not doing yet. she had a real hard time adjusting in the beginning - suddenly she was being challenged when seh realised she would much rather have it easy and breeze thru - so do less homework and have more play time. HOWEVER she has a great teacher this year. the best one in the schoo. and for the first time seh told me to put me trying to hs her on hold because she wants to go to school.

so in time would her love for learning be affected? to some degree yes. i dont think it will take her curiosity away because we are doing a lot at home ourselves.

my fear is her becoming an achiever. the other day her classmates told me about the special treat she got because she performed far higher than the rest of the class. so i sat and asked her if she enjoyed herself doing the work. she said yeah she had a good time. it wasnt really work. and so i celebrated with her. i emphasised that i wanted her to have fun. i would much rather see her get a c and have fun rather than a A and be miserable.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Can the wrong school environment for gifted children kill motivation for learning?

There is a statement made here - and on the HSing boards - that the wrong school environment kills the love of learning.

Do you think this is true?
Considering that I said very recently on another thread that I felt the wrong environment could contribute to a loss in motivation I feel the need to join in here.

I really wanted to make the distinction between 'killing a love of learning' and 'killing motivation to learn'. I think it might be more difficult for one single environment to kill the passion inherent in many children toward learning. I've seen first hand though the effect the wrong environment can have on motivation though. It's possible that it is a staged approach. First the motivation may be destroyed, then if not resolved the passion could follow.

Both of our DD's have a love of learning and literally beg for challenging work. Both of our DD's were motivated. ODD attends a private school and has begged for challenging material each year in math (as well as science intermittently). She has high expectations though, is also a people-pleasing, toe-the-line, achieving with little effort child who is not willing to make any waves. Last year in 2nd she started to lose motivation and would at home supplement her own education. Her school has let her down in the sense that she does not believe they are capable of challenging her. Somewhere between the end of last year and now she has lost her self motivation. Her perception seems to be "school is where I go learn, they should teach me there and home is where I relax from school and just be a kid.". Granted, there are personality issues at play here as well. Some other under-challenged kids in this same environment might react differently.

We have been doing a virtual academy with YDD for K. ODD wants to do it next year so that she will be able to learn at her own pace and be challenged, something that is very important to her. There's an interesting dichotomy at play here where she does have agency over her learning environment and her goals but her internal motivation seems to be driven by external sources, or at least affected by it. "Mom, doing that will only get me further ahead and I will be more bored in school." Apparently she'd rather wait for the environment to catch up to her. Her love is still there, her motivation is not. I'd rather not muse over the long term possibilities this situation could have on her passion.

Alas, I probably shouldn't even be posting here. Our DD's have never been tested and according to the school ODD's claims of work being review and not challenging are unfounded. According to her teacher she is not bored and she is appropriately challenged. Apparently it's merely a perception issue on DD's part where she has convinced herself she is bored when the reality is she not. Now, how to fix that?
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EXOLAX View Post

Alas, I probably shouldn't even be posting here. Our DD's have never been tested and according to the school ODD's claims of work being review and not challenging are unfounded. According to her teacher she is not bored and she is appropriately challenged. Apparently it's merely a perception issue on DD's part where she has convinced herself she is bored when the reality is she not. Now, how to fix that?
If she is happy where she is, you could leave her there and supplement at home.

If she is unhappy you could withdraw her - either to homeschool or place her in a different school.

Truthfully, you cannot work with the school if they will not acknowledge a problem - it would be like bashing your head against a wall.


As per : "I probably should not be posting here" - I would so not go there. Parents are excellent indicators of giftedness and she has told you she is bored and unchallenged. Believe yourself and your DD first.

_______________

I tend to agree with the other part of of your post - I think motivation to learn is probably easier to squelch than love of learning.

I think people learn all the time - so perhaps the it is not so squelchable as it is innate?

Consciouisly choosing to learn something might be squelchable....
post #12 of 26
Ds was very vocal about school being a bad fit for him because it didn't allow him to learn the way he wanted or challenge him. Instead of killing his motivation to learn, the bad fit increased his motivation to find another way - like self-imposing "punishment" by walking himself to the principal's office so he could chat with her. We are now homeschooling. I do wonder if we hadn't been able to HS, what that may have done to him. He is now very vocal about not wanting to go back to school - until college , and his love for learning is still very much intact.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
As per : "I probably should not be posting here" - I would so not go there. Parents are excellent indicators of giftedness and she has told you she is bored and unchallenged. Believe yourself and your DD first.
I have gone back and added some smilies I forgot to add in my post. Confused, annoyed, sarcasm didn't come across as well as I had intended.

That said, I do have my doubts and the school does a really great job of helping to build on those. I'm wondering how much of that is intentional.

Sorry to go OT.
post #14 of 26
Yeah, for sure.

If you're thinking of a traditional classroom, most definitely. Since classrooms are all about bringing the top down to the middle, and the lowest up to the middle, and keeping the middle in the middle...this = death of education for most in that scenario.

To add, IME, this *mostly* applies to grade school yrs. Our oldest was hsed till this year, was put into middle school, and is now in the highest gifted classes. She does very well, and is still enjoying the learning. I have been impressed with her teachers, as they are so open to my communication, and seem to really enjoy her in their class.

She is LOVING the science and music classes! I should say, that her science teacher has the classroom setup like a Montessori room, which dd is familiar with.

Personally, I wouldn't put a dc into a grade school, unless I had to, or the dc was showing that that is how/what they need.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Can the wrong school environment for gifted children kill motivation for learning?
yes.
post #16 of 26
Short answer : yes.

I knew several kids who were average to slightly above in grade school, who became high school dropouts. Lack of family support was a HUGE factor, but they lost their excitement for school a long time before that.
Personally, I learned to keep my head down and NOT do too well to avoid the labels that go with it. And honestly, a few of my teachers were almost as discouraging as the other kids. Luckily, I didn't loose my love for learning. But I lost all interest in school. I barely made the grade, and did everything interesting on my own time.
Granted, the choice is not for everyone. But this, and DH's similar experience, are huge factors in why we chose to homeschool our kids. It really does depend on YOUR child, and the schools you have available.
post #17 of 26
YES YES YES YES YES!! The wrong school is like like putting the wrong ingredients in a cake and expecting it to turn out the same the results will not be favorable... DD hated school until we began homeschooling and doing more child directed learning.. She read poorly, compained about school daily, and faught with us about everything related to school.. Now she loves "school', loves learning, and and her whole veiw of education has changed..

Finding the write school can be hard.. But it is key to sucess.. Oh yeah, and a good school does not have to be expensive!
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

DD expressed extreme betrayal about school pretty early on - she couldn't understand why they largely left her to her own devices while she hungered for more but needed guidance and connection. She actually checked out completely last year and decided to make a major change this year.
This was exactly my dd in K. It took a grade skip AND entrance into an accelerated program to get her happy about school again.
post #19 of 26
I was a gifted kid who didn't lose my love of learning, but rather my ability to learn things that significantly challenged me. Well, I didn't lose it, but I certainly didn't develop any skills to learn things that didn't come easily to me in public school, because almost nothing didn't come easily.

This is what I really fear for my kids. It's easy to get used to grasping everything immediately, and when I got to college and started taking very challenging classes, I freaked out. I became convinced that I wasn't actually very smart and started avoiding difficult classes, and eventually even transferred to a much easier school and major. I really, really regret that now.

Perhaps if there had been AP classes in my high school or some equivalent I would have learned some good study skills that matched my style of learning? I don't know.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
DD expressed extreme betrayal about school pretty early on - she couldn't understand why they largely left her to her own devices while she hungered for more but needed guidance and connection.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AahRee View Post
This was my experience as a kid, and it is my *BIGGEST* fear for my DD. My heart is really heavy about it lately.
Basically, they tested me, then said "congratulations you're gifted", and that was it. Instead, I was expecting to be challenged with more interesting stuff to work on. Nope, same stuff as before, still at glacial speed. Nothing had changed. Ugh. It's a good thing I was involved in serious athletics outside the school system, so I had something to focus my interest and time on. Otherwise I would have just felt my life being fully sucked away.

I wouldn't say I lost my love of learning or desire to learn, I would just say I became disillusioned with what I thought school was going to be for me. I could have done so much more, but was limited by my environment. And it has definitely shaped my plans for schooling DS.

In spite of that, today I still love to learn new things all the time.
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