She was punished and excluded at school. She was put in the corner, in isolation, in the hallway, in pull-out classes, and even suspended once in fourth grade. The message was clear: she can’t be included.
Can you remember the last time you completed a task and were really “in the zone”? Positive psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura (Claremont Graduate University) describe this mental state as flow state. (link opens in new tab/window) Achieving flow state is about the careful balancing of skill level (low, medium, or high) with challenge level (low, medium, or high).
Those who have experienced flow state describe feeling the following characteristics:
Intense moments of concentration
Deep involvement in task; merging of action and awareness
Some ideas for helping students plan for loans include:
What are the terms and fees associated with the loan?
Are there prepayment penalties?
Have they considered options to lower the interest rate, such as enrolling in automatic debit payments?
Are they eligible to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan?
Shifting Flexibly + Budgeting
Strong budgeting skills are at the heart of setting oneself up for financial success. In order to create and maintain an accurate budget, students can first engage in activities that promote self-reflection and self-understanding. This is another element of personal finance where students can determine their spending “have to’s” and “want to’s”. What interests, hobbies, and activities are priorities that students should budget for? Playing games that encourage real-life budgeting(link opens in new tab/window)↗ is a fun and low-stakes way to explore what it means to budget. When it comes to budgeting, students will need to remain flexible; unexpected costs can arise, so encouraging students to set aside a monthly stipend for last-minute emergency costs can prepare them for the unexpected.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our EF and Financial Literacy series.
Attribution theory asserts that motivation depends on learners’ interpretations of their past successes and failures. Specifically, learner conceptualizations of the locus, stability, and controllability of past successful or failed outcomes influence if and how hard learners will try on similar tasks going forward. Here are some examples of what these characteristics(link opens in new tab/window)might look like:
Locus: Was I successful on that test because I studied hard (internal factor) or because I got lucky (external factor)?
Stability: Will my effort/luck stay the same (stable) or change (unstable) over time?
Controllability: Can I control whether I do well on the next test (controllable) or is my success out of my hands (uncontrollable)?
Why it matters for education
Educators can play a critical role in helping students foster adaptive attribution styles. The benefits of certain attribution patterns are situationally relative. For example, an external attribution for a disagreement with a friend (“They were just having a tough day”) may benefit a student’s mental health. Contrarily, an external attribution for poor performance on a test (“It was my teacher’s fault”) may be maladaptive to a student’s motivation to put in effort on future assignments.
In education contexts, students are most likely to adaptively approach setbacks when they see challenges as internal, unstable, and controllable. A student with this attribution pattern might tell themselves after they perform poorly on a test, “I didn’t study inthe best way for me, and I can make adjustments to how I prepare in order to improve next time.”
To help learners adopt adaptive attribution styles, consider the following approaches:
Give students specific feedback. For example, when handing back a math worksheet, say, “It looks like you struggled most with dividing fractions on this assignment.”
Help students understand that failures can be addressed with appropriate strategy use. For the math worksheet example above, you might follow up with, “What strategy has worked for you in the past for mastering multiplying fractions? How can you apply a similar strategy to division?”
Create a classroom culture that values effort and persistence over being smart or good at a subject. If your students enjoy public praise, recognize students who you can tell work hard to improve their learning.
Constructivism posits that many people learn best when they are allowed to discover essential information for themselves after working through a partially guided segment or lesson. (In the SMARTS curriculum, students engage in a metacognitive activator, guided instruction, independent practice, and reflection).
Constructivism also has clear connections to real-world learning across the subjects. For example, one study found(link opens in new tab/window) that students were more motivated to learn science topics when they had more opportunities to relate their learning to real-world issues.
Self-monitoring is an ongoing process of noticing what one is doing.
Self-checking is the process of finding and correcting mistakes in one’s work.
What do students think about self-monitoring and self-checking? Throughout ResearchILD’s Student Ambassador Program this fall, students were encouraged to collectively think about their thinking and how executive function processes impact their day-to-day experiences in school and at home. Here are some of their ideas about what self-monitoring and self-checking mean to them:
Students Speak: What do self-monitoring and self-checking mean to you?
“Checking my language and tone while speaking with various people/making sure I recall certain facts.”
“Correcting and checking your own work.”
“Self monitoring and self checking is how to act in different environments.”
“Self-monitoring means having the ability to change how you act in different places or situations. Self-checking means the ability to make a list to keep you organized for whatever activity you are doing.”
Students Speak: What is one way that you monitor your progress or self-check?
“I look back on myself and my actions and try to think if they were smart or not.”
“I make a list.”
“Plan ahead and adjust accordingly by making mental checks to complete each day.”
“One way that I monitor my own progress or self-check is by saying to myself what I have to do for the activity I am doing.”
How to Encourage Students to Self-Monitor and Self-Check
Students struggle with self-monitoring when they don’t check what they are doing and have trouble setting goals for themselves. Strategies that improve self-awareness can help strengthen students’ ability to self-monitor and refocus.
Be clear about which materials students need to bring to and from school.
Set aside time for self-checking at the start and end of the school day and after students complete assignments.