Apathy. Laziness. A lack of drive, determination and ambition. Kids today. Or at least, that’s how many would choose to characterise them. Impossible to motivate. Disinterested. Completely lost in their own little digital worlds, where they seek constant approval, affirmation and validation from their peers. It’s a tough old world for kids today. So, how does Dania motivate students? How does Dania prepare students to cope with and navigate their way through what lies ahead?
It’s actually beautiful in its simplicity.
Changing the Narrative
First of all, let’s address a huge misconception about young people.
They’ve always been described as lazy, unambitious, apathetic, disinterested, demotivated.
And yet, here we are.
The world has kept on turning. And those generations have gone on to shine and make an impact in their own way, in spite of being negatively labelled.
You see, every generation thinks they had it tougher than the one that proceeds them. And every generation feels looked down upon by their elders and predecessors.
That’s because people are a product of the circumstances within which they grow up. However, sensibilities and attitudes change from one generation to the next. And that’s where they clash.
Students aren’t lazy, unambitious, apathetic, disinterested, and demotivated. Their interests are simply different to ours. And they still have a lot of growing up to do. A lot of experiences to gain. And a lot of failings to learn from.
So, we need to be kind, understanding and empathetic to this.
Children are not born fully-formed adults. They are figuring their way from one day to the next and need support and guidance.
We need to help them get to a point where they can self-motivate.
No carrot. No stick.
Motivation should come from inside. It should be an internal feeling for students. And here at Dania, we really prioritise bringing that motivation out in the children in a natural way rather than setting up some external motivation.
We work with our students to help them value what they already have. To feel proud of what they can do, not ashamed of what they can’t do.
The reward for success, is success itself.
There’s no need for any additional external rewards to motivate students to want to achieve, or give of their best. We work with our students so that they are happy to share their work and their efforts regardless of what their peers have done.
Learning isn’t linear. And everyone develops in their own way, at their own pace. At Dania we facilitate this through ongoing evaluative assessments. Learning is a continual process. It’s not about the end result or a snapshot at a given point in the year. It’s about the whole process. Whatever that may look like for the individual child.
Because we are all different. And a standardised method is simply about fitting square pegs into round holes. People end up losing their edge.
How Dania Motivates Students
Here at Dania, we develop a learning journey for each child.
Essentially, every student amasses a portfolio of evidence as they progress through the year. This may include a piece of work that they’re particularly proud of. Or something that they struggled with but then overcame in the end. And every step in that process is documented. Because learning is about the journey, not the destination.
This then feeds back into the evaluation process. Because we can see and demonstrate development. But also reflect on this journey with the students and use those struggles and small wins to demonstrate how they are capable of achieving whatever they set out to do, by learning from their failings and not giving up.
Motivation comes from within. And being able to show students how they have overcome hurdles on their route to an end product that they’re proud of is how we motivate students at Dania.
The entire learning process is presented in their portfolios, and over the course of the year it maps out a development in those pieces included within the portfolio. The work can be anything. It can, of course, be written work, but it can also be a log or a diary that explains something that the child has thought about or observed within themselves. It’s a very introspective, reflective and evaluative teaching model.
And, as such, it helps our children to self-motivate.
Because they are a part of the process of evaluating their own learning.
And they’re responsible for their own learning.
As everyone should be.