Thursday, March 26, 2015

How a Postive Mood Affects Classroom Performance

Think positively! How often have you heard that when facing a potential problem in your life? Certainly thinking positively is good advice in that an upbeat attitude has been linked to better results in problem solving and learning.

As Marcus and I describe in our book, Thinking for Results: Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement By As Much as 30 Percent, people think more creatively and find novel solutions to difficult problems when they are in a positive mood. Approaching an important task with optimism gives you the motivation you need to continue when the going gets tough.

Conversely, when people are in a negative mood, they can find it more difficult to think creatively and may also be more pessimistic about their chances of success. They may not be as motivated to think through complex problems, and this can lower their ability to achieve. Thus, the pessimism is borne out without the person ever realizing that a positive attitude might have led to different results.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Motivating Students To Learn

Do you believe that people can become smarter through learning or that intelligence is determined at birth? How we answer this question says a great deal about what we believe about motivation for learning.

This important belief system and its impact on motivation surfaced for me in the early 1980s when I was working with a group of seventh-grade students classified as "gifted." Some of these students were highly motivated to achieve, while others were less motivated and underachieving.

Among this latter group, the prevailing believe seemed to be that because they were "smart," they did not need to put forth an effort to learn at school. In contrast, their high-achieving peers seemed to understand that they needed to put forth an effort so that they could attain their potential and achieve desired results.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring Forward—But Get Enough Sleep!

Sunday is the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST) throughout much of the United States. But as you spring forward, do remember to get enough sleep!

Experts quoted by such mainstream media outlets as the New York Daily News and Time magazine have identified the Monday after DST as a vulnerable time for traffic accidents. Commuters are adjusting to a lost hour of sleep as well as an hour of daylight shifted from the start of their days to the evening time.

What this underscores is just how important sleep is to proper functioning in general. As we report in our book, Thinking for Results: Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement By As Much as 30 Percent, a large number of Americans are sleep deprived. Lack of sleep has a significant impact on cognitive processes. Most adults require a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep per night, while children and teenagers need even more.