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Motivation

It is so true that is difficult to motivate our adult education students, especially in the area of writing.  Many only view writing through the lens of social media and texting.  I often refer back to Maslov when I’m considering motivation within my students.  In recent years, I have also focused on Maslov’s lower levels of hierarchy of needs, physiological and safety, in association with work I have done surrounding trauma informed care.  This reminds me that our students, many of whom come to us with multiple barriers, must be able to meet these basic needs prior to becoming motivated academically.  For some of  our students who are “couch-surfers” with no permanent home, and/or who rely on public assistance for basic needs, our classrooms are the only environment where they can feel safe.  With that said, we have many roles as adult educators. 

However, there are some strategies that we can use to help motivate our students to write.  Vicki Roberts in her research on how to motivate students to write identified five best practices themes:  (student) high interests, personal connections, student choice, collaborative groups, and teacher modeling.  Because our students have goals of getting jobs , keeping jobs , advancing in employment and/or attending post-secondary education and training, we can better motivate our students our students to write by focusing on their personal goals and connecting writing to their interests. 

I wonder, other than writing resumes and cover letters, how are teachers incorporating employability skills into classroom writing activities?

Please share your thoughts and strategies!

Jeri

 

 

Comments

Michelle's picture
First

In my program, we are able to provide gas vouchers as incentives. I hold a weekly drawing for one based on attempting three "skills" for the week. These are voluntary, but since there is a reward at the end, most participate. There is always a math problem and a writing assignment where I ask for a paragraph from participants. The third is usually an activity based around a monthly soft skill theme. Each person has a journal they keep and I do not grade or edit the attempts. At the end of the week, I work the problem on the board, ask for volunteers to read their written responses and we talk about the activity. Over time, participants writing improves without it being "work" from the discipline of weekly writing. One of my participants, working on the High School equivalency, commented on how much they learned from these weekly assignments without even realizing they were learning. 

Jeri Gue's picture
One hundred

Michelle,

You know you're being effective when a student says they learned without even realizing it!  What great ideas!  While we aim for students to develop intrinsic incentives, there is nothing wrong with external motivation to help them along the way.  I know other programs that provide gas vouchers as well which, of course, helps them return to class.  Providing your students with opportunities to journal without the stress of "getting everything correct" definitely motivates them to become more confident writers.

Thank you for sharing!

Jeri

Rachel Donelson's picture
First

Our curriculum includes outcomes around e-mails (thank-yous, requesting information, complaints).  Business letters for self-employed students (proposals, loan requests, marketing materials) might also be motivating- as might working on great Instagram copy.  

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Hello Colleagues,

I have noticed that the use of text messaging has crept into business practice, for example that employees text their supervisors to let them know that they will not be at work, that companies text message their employees with reminders about events, changed meeting times, and use text messages for other work-related communications. I wonder if anyone has included -- or would consider including -- "proper" work-related text messaging lessons as part of a writing skills curriculum. It could be a great opportunity to inject humor into writing lessons, for example how texting can go awry because of incomplete, unchecked, or jargon-y messages.

One common texting error is leaving the "not" out of "I will not be at work today" messages. I wonder if you have seen other unfortunate or hilarious work-related text message examples.

Here's a blog article  on work texting etiquette that might be helpful if you try to teach this:

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Program Management moderator

Jeri Gue's picture
One hundred

David,

This is a great blog and video.  You certainly bring up a valid concern for our students.  Text messaging is a more informal way of communicating, however it is becoming more acceptable in work environments.  It is difficult for many of our students to know when "a line has been crossed."  

Thank you for sharing!

Jeri

Jeri Gue's picture
One hundred

Rachel,

These are all great activities!  Connecting real-life writing activities, especially for those who are self-employed, to writing is definitely a motivator.  Using email to complete writing activities also provides our students with much-needed digital literacy skills.  Many of our students are intimidated by the technology needed to navigate through both business and personal written communication.

Thank you for sharing!

 

Jeri