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Ever wish your students were more motivated? If you’re like most of us, you have tried an array of rewards and punishments to motivate kids. There’s only one problem: it doesn’t work. At least it doesn't work well enough. People (yes, even students) aren’t motivated from the outside so rewards and punishments only work to a point. We are internally motivated. That’s why it's essential to engage and inspire students to be motivated to succeed in school (and life.)

If you’re ready to move beyond the reward/punishment model and embrace a whole new way to understand motivation, I encourage you to come back regularly. It’s time to challenge the status quo and create schools and classrooms based on what really motivates behavior.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Exercise, Performance, & The Brain


When discussing brain-based learning, In Chapter 2 of The Inspiring Teacher, I say, “Because new principles and applications are being generated so rapidly, I encourage readers to become familiar with current literature about learning and the brain.”

Here’s an example: I came across a March 7, 2013 article entitled “4 Ways to use exercise to increase brain power.” Based on 19 studies involving 586 kids, teenagers, and young adults, the report was published in the prestigious British Medical Journal and found “10 to 40 minutes bursts of exercise led to an immediate boost in concentration and mental focus, likely by improving blood flow to the brain.”

According to Harvard psychiatrist and author John Ratey, one way classroom teachers can use these findings to optimize student performance on a test is to have the kids jump rope, run in place, or do squat bends, quickly improving blood flow to the brain and speeding the transmission of signals through the nerve cells. If you give a test within an hour of the exercise, scores should improve.

How often do educators and parents complain that kids lack mental focus? That they don’t concentrate? It turns out we may not need to label so many kids as ADD or ADHD and resort to chemical intervention. And we don’t have to accept poor concentration and poor performance as immutable realities. A better understanding of how the brain works and a few simple classroom strategies can significantly enhance focus and concentration, resulting in increased learning and better performance on tests. Applying what we know about brain-based learning is one quality of inspiring teachers. I encourage you to incorporate this simple strategy.

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As always, if you enjoyed this and found it useful, please send the link to your friends. Thanks.

Bob Sullo

For information about books by Bob Sullo and to schedule a keynote, workshop, or series for your school, agency, or parent group visit www.internalmotivation.net

Don't forget to get your copy of the revised edition of The Inspiring Teacher: Making A Positive Difference In Students' Lives.

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