1/4 Just published: perhaps the definitive meta-analysis of research on student motivation, comprising 344 samples with a total of nearly a quarter-million kids. Clear confirmation of the benefits (for both academic achievement & well-being) of intrinsic motivation...
2/4 ...and "identified regulation" (kids regarding what they're doing as meaningful even if it isn't thrilling) - and also of the harms of extrinsic motivation (earn rewards or avoid punishments) & "introjection" (basically, internalized compulsion): is.gd/46g3Hx ...
3/4 The data clearly show "the potential costs of using external incentives & punishments (e.g., parents offering monetary rewards or teachers punishing bad behavior)." These controlling interventions undermine student well-being & don't even improve persistence or performance...
4/4 The authors add: "The pursuit of narrowly defined criteria of success in the form of test scores appears potentially harmful to students’ long-term development and educational success....[This] is particularly worrisome given [standardized testing's] worldwide pervasiveness"

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More from @alfiekohn

12 Jan
1/5 Many members of the fascist mob were comfortably middle class; quite a few were local GOP officeholders. And here's a fact about ALL the people who demanded that the results of the election be overturned so a dangerous demagogue could stay in power, who credulously accept...
2/5 ...lunatic conspiracy theories, who wave a flag that glorifies slavery. It's also true of the 127 Senators & Reps. who continued trying to subvert the election after the siege:
Every one of them grew up with parents and teachers.
So how were these people raised and taught?
3/5 Were they "done to" or "worked with"? Was the emphasis on obedience and power - or critical thinking and reason? Was compassion modeled for them, or just self-interest?
And will today's parents and teachers end up raising more people who attempt to overthrow democracy?
Read 5 tweets
13 Jun 20
It's possible to predict people's authoritarian/racist attitudes just by knowing what they value most in children -- obedience, respect for elders, and good manners - vs. curiosity, independence, and considerateness...
..."Much of what we think of as racism [or] political & moral intolerance is more helpfully understood as ‘difference-ism'...an overwhelming desire to establish & defend *some* collective order of oneness & sameness” -political scientist Karen Stenner: is.gd/74imyY...
...More on the psychology of authoritarianism: bit.ly/1LSsYro.
Here's the key point: People with an extreme need for order, a fear of other races/religions, and a general attraction to strongman leaders tend to see Trump's assault on democracy not as a bug but a feature
Read 5 tweets
7 May 20
1/5 My unpublished letter to the NYT regarding its May 1 story about resistance to suspending grades:
Wildly unequal circumstances while children learn at home is a persuasive reason to suspend traditional grading. Parents who oppose this seem to fear that two things may happen..
2/5 in the absence of grades: It will be harder to document the superiority of their own children relative to everyone else's, and students won't be motivated to do schoolwork.
The first claim is morally troubling because it implies that the school's primary mission is to...
3/5 sort children rather than to help all of them succeed. The second claim, if true, suggests either that grades have already undermined students' excitement about learning or that we need to create a curriculum that's sufficiently engaging so that kids don't have to be...
Read 5 tweets
17 Oct 19
1/9 As a recovering hot-shot high-schl debater, I can tell you this essay's critique is spot on but its prescription misses the point: is.gd/EGPxys.
Debate teaches a cynical relativism: one belief is no better than another b/c any can be defended if you're clever...
2/9 A premium is placed on not having any convictions because that could interfere with your ability to win on both sides of the issue. Plus, the goal is not to be right but to SOUND persuasive and/or to talk so fast that an opponent can't respond to all of your arguments...
3/9 But the problem isn't a function of the specific rules of interscholastic debate; it's that the ultimate goal is to win. Whenever that's true, other goals (e.g., learning, finding the truth) will be sacrificed. Thus, a replacement activity like the authors' "Ethics Bowl"...
Read 9 tweets
16 Aug 19
1/10 Trump’s breathtakingly cruel new #ImmigrationPolicy that excludes the neediest is essentially a codification of his personal inability to feel compassion or empathy. Thus, one man’s psychological deficits will become the law of the land...
2/10 In fact, many of Trump’s positions are best viewed through a psychological (vs. political/economic) lens. Ex. A: the hyperpatriotism he fell back on to reframe his racist “go back” sneers to four minority Congresswomen (is.gd/1hIX2K)...
3/10 A social scientist quoted in that article: “As president, he now sees America as an avatar for himself – it must be great because he’s great. From this perspec, to allow that America has faults wd be to allow that Trump has them, something he has never been willing to do”...
Read 10 tweets
6 Sep 18
Numerous news stories, it occurs to me, point to a similar strategy of shameless strategic misrepresentation. In each case, people pursuing an unpopular agenda cynically pretend they’re really doing something else…. /1
Example 1: Republicans restricting voting rights to create obstacles for those unlikely to support GOP candidates but insisting their motive is to curb "fraud" (even though this problem is virtually nonexistent - is.gd/VaEBLg) /2
Example 2: opponents of abortion making it as difficult as possible to end a pregnancy on the pretext that they’re protecting women’s health (despite the absence of any medical support for the alleged risks - is.gd/OlK9Vm) /3
Read 7 tweets

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