You’re expected to try

One thing that I’ve started to tell each and every one of my classes that I teach, is that the only thing I expect them to do is to try.

I can’t stress this enough, because managing expectations is a really crucial thing in all kinds of relationships. In my students have a much easier time accepting a concept, if it’s backed by a theory, so I’m using the four stages of competence to illustrate my point.

The four stages you go through according to the theory are:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
  2. Conscious Incompetence
  3. Conscious Competence
  4. Inconscious Competence

(Source)

Example: Role Play Games

I ask my students if there is any area in their lives where they accept, that they have to perform the same task multiple times until they are rewarded.

Some mention practicing an instrument, which actually is a great example, but what most can relate to, but what doesn’t come to their mind is actually role play games.

Lots of these games, like World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls are built in a way, that you level up your character, by completing quests. These could be: Slay 3 wolves, pick up 5 of this flower and so on. We complete stupid tasks in these games, actually being successful from the first try, but we patiently await the levelup through in game XP, that are first rewarded by the game mechanic after a certain number of those.

The parallel to real life is that our brain works the same way, we do something multiple times, we strengthen the connection of the pathways that are responsible for that skill in our brain.

The thing we don’t get is the nice progress bar, that shows you, how far your brain is along to actually getting it. Don’t let yourself be fooled by that, just try and solve the assignments your mentors give you!

How do you motivate (yourself)?

How do you motivate when teaching? Do you reason with science and neurology? How do you motivate yourself when you keep trying at something you don’t necessarily find very useful or just very frustrating?

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