Originally Posted by widemouthedfrog
I'm still working to the root of dh's concerns about homelearning. We had a better discussion about it last night - at the core, he does think that children need an adult outside the family to push them to do their best, because otherwise they will not do good work. I think that "good" work is motivated by intrinsic enthusiasm. I also admit to being the enthusiastic-but-mentally messy one in the family. Perhaps I just need to find some good examples of people who've excelled on their own, without being pushed to do so. However, one of our core disagreements seems to be a disagreement about how people become motivated. Ah, philosophy!
I read something once that stuck with me on motivation. It goes like this: some people are motiveted to achieve, some are motivated to master, and some are motivated by creativity.
Consider a math test - in which children are asked to explain their answers.
Someone motivated to achieve will get an A. They will get most of the answers right, and will do exactly as the teacher asks. If the teacher asks for a 50 word paragraph on why 1/3 of 90 is 30 - they will do it.
Someone motivated to master will get a B or C. They will get all the answers correct, but lose points for not following instructions. To them knowing 1/3 of 90 is important, but doing a paragraph about it is not - so they will ignore it. They will write "30" and move on. Those motivated to master do not tolerate busywork well.
Creative types recreate the test. The example may not work so well with math - but with writing - think of people who go off on tangents, make connections, etc. They may be asked to write about WWII - and spend most of their time discussing battle tactics of the game Axis and Allies instead.
I am not sure these ways of being motivated change that much - they may overlap a bit, and they can be encouraged or stomped on. It comes down to the old nurture versus nature arguement - are these things made or something you are born with?
I do think, academically, type A is the type most schools are set up for. I think children who are motivated to master and children who are motivated to create will have difficulty in most school settings.
As per your DH arguement that children need an outside source to push them to do good work - I agree that is true for some children. None-the-less...this does not have to happen in the context of school.
Just as many adults need to go to a gym to work out, or have company coming over to cleen up....some kids do desire outside motivation.
Lets look at writing. Many children are more motivated to write when it has a purpose. Ask my DD to write for the heck of it and she will glare daggers at you - but she will write for contests, letters, and a magazine her and her friend are creating. The motivation is external...but it does not come from school.
I do think motivation is best when it is internally driven - it is just so much easier. External motivators are not always there, and external motivators do not necesssarily have your best interests at heart.
I do not know how to promote internal motivation exactly,
but I do genuinely believe that school is NOT the answer to how to create internal motivation. How can one develop internal motivation if you are told what to do and how to do it for so many hours a day? With regards to children, I think external motivators should only be used as tool, not as the "answer".