A Reflection Paper
Motivation Breakthrough: A Reflection Paper
The Motivation Breakthrough video was a real eye opener for me. Everything that Dr. Lavoie said made sense and I wish that more parents and teachers could watch the video and learn from Dr. Lavoie’s talk.
Two things that especially struck me was the ineffectiveness of rewards and punishment. Both techniques were used on me by my parents when I was a kid and it seemed to work for me because I have always been a motivated student. However, I now understand why my nephews are not as equally motivated as the other. In particular, my older nephew has always been motivated to excel in his studies with or without rewards and with or without punishments. On the other hand, my younger nephew doesn’t seem to be motivated by any form of reward or punishment. It seems that he doesn’t care. However, from watching the video, I was led to think that perhaps there are other things that can motivate my younger nephew, which neither I nor his parents have considered yet. This makes me realize how big and important the role of being a parent or a teacher is. It’s not enough to just see your child off to school everyday. It’s not enough to just be content that they get passing grades. Rather, it is the responsibility of parents and teachers to find out and understand what motivates their children and ensure that their environment provides for the things that motivate them, as they obviously cannot provide these for themselves.
I’ve also known about Maslow’s theory for some time but I never realized it could apply to children and students, too. When my younger nephew first started school, his teachers complained that he always kept standing up and going around the room when all of his classmates were seated and quietly working. I even thought he might have ADHD. I just now understand that he must have needed air and rest. Especially since it was his first year going to school, he probably was not accustomed to the cramped space and to sitting down all day. Similarly, I found it ironic that, as Dr. Lavoie pointed out, adults would have drinks and some food with them while attending a seminar while kids are allowed to eat and drink only during their breaks, which are about once or twice in the entire school day. This led me to think about whether students might perform better if they were allowed something to eat and drink inside the classroom.
It also struck me that kids would rather be scolded for bad behavior rather than be embarrassed and that even kids need to exhibit some power, too. This led me to think about whether these may be some of the reasons why there are so many bullies in our schools. Could it be their way of hiding their weaknesses? It is said that students who are bullies usually don’t have good family backgrounds, so do they misbehave because there’s no one to help them learn and become better with their studies? Could it be that their family situations also don’t allow them to gain control over their lives, which is why they’re exercising that power against other kids?
Finally, I found it enlightening that motivation is consistent but that performance isn’t and that we shouldn’t use children’s accomplishments to punish them on their failures. I believe that rather than making these children feel guilty about their weaknesses, allowing them to experience success and to gain our approval and praise will go a long way in keeping them motivated, not only in their studies but in everything they do.
shumai. (2009, March 24). Motivation breakthrough (1of 9) [Video file]. Retrieved from