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45th Week PhD: Motivation

The past few weeks we have been discussing motivation in our Advanced Human Learning course. One of the articles we read, which happened to be a summary of a meta-analysis, was about how extrinsic rewards can be detrimental to intrinsic motivation. This has been studied on many levels, in many settings, but educational researchers are especially interested in motivation. For example, pizza parties, gold stars, and other rewards, can decrease intrinsic motivation. How do you teach intrinsic motivation at a young age, or at any age? This is hard to do since parents, teachers, caregivers, are unaware of what makes a child want to do certain things because they want to do it and not because they have to do it. Why do some children want to paint, solve math problems, play the violin, or read above their reading level? Are these things other children can learn to want to do on their own for its own reward?

Many of these questions have been pondered by classmates, and there doesn’t seem to be an answer for them. Teachers and parents can set goals for children to set them up for success, which will hopefully lead to intrinsic motivation later. One of our authors suggested that even adults can be intrinsically motivated to achieve goals even though it requires more effort and energy to learn. Habits need to unlearned in order to learn new ones. This can be hard for adults who have been doing the same thing for years.

My own intrinsic motivation has taken a hit this semester due to the lack of communication with one of our professors. She goes for weeks at a time without any feedback, encouragement, or instructions. We are left to fend for ourselves, taking autonomous learning to new heights for a doctoral level course in a program known for its excellence in online learning. We have turned in three papers, as a group, and haven gotten one back graded. Our next assignment is to be done individually. I am not worried if I will pass the course. I am worried that an opportunity was missed to learn more, express more, and do more than what I was given. That is what has sucked motivation from me this semester. I am hoping next semester my attitude will change and my motivation will improve.

Blessings to you and yours.


40th Week PhD: Spring Bed & Break(fast)

In a week and three days, my husband and I will be celebrating spring break by going to a Miranda Lambert concert and then going to the B&B she owns in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, again. We decided to go back because we really liked it there and wanted to see some things we didn’t get to last time we were there. Also, the breakfast is amazing and the service is first rate. We hope that there will be a band playing at the Platinum ballroom while we are there, since it wasn’t opened for bands last time we were there.

Spring break means no homework for a week and no reading of textbooks. I will be reading “Wild Rover No More” by L.A. Meyer as I need to review it for a publication in a couple of weeks. That just means I get to read a young adult fiction novel. Yippee! And, this is the last book in the Bloody Jack series, so all of the burning questions should be answered, right?

Before spring break can begin, I need to turn in my statistics assignment due this Sunday. There are vocabulary terms to learn, hypothesis tests to execute, results to interpret, graphs to label, and APA style to conquer. No biggie. In the meantime, our professor I mentioned in the last post still has not been in contact with her students, except through personal e-mail. This brings autonomous learning to a whole new level. Our second group assignment was due today, and we still have not received a grade or feedback on our last assignment.

It’s the 40th week of this journey my friends, and it will only get more exciting and challenging as the weeks go by.

Blessings to you and yours.

What Week Is This Anyway? PhD, Human Learning, Stats, and Grammar Lab

Technically this is week 34 (including breaks), so there’s that. Only about a hundred more weeks to go!

Theories, SPSS, and grammar are the focus of the courses I am taking this semester. “What does grammar have to do with a PhD?” you ask. Well, it does help when writing papers, but this grammar course is part of a copyediting program that will lead to a certification in copyediting upon completion of the program. The librarians were offered to take this program to possibly help with copyediting duties now that the university press has relocated (physical and administrative) into the library building.

So, I am taking 3 courses this semester, in case you didn’t catch that. So far, Advanced Human Learning and Motivation has a lot do to with developmental theories, including cognitive-stage, social learning, sociocultural, information processing, and ethology. We are not really studying the theories per se, but what makes up a theory–the good and the bad. Educational Statistics involves downloading SPSS software and learning how to use it for research. In Grammar Lab, we took a diagnostic test to see where we are at with our grammar capabilities and as it turns out, I need some work on grammar rules and regulations. Must. Not. Use. Too. Many. Periods.

It’s going to be an interesting semester.

Blessings to you and yours.

17th Week PhD: Nationalism or Moral Relativism

This week on the PhD front: Our question for Advanced Worldview was “Which do you think is more prevalent in society in general and in education: nationalism or moral relativism?” I chose moral relativism even though nationalism, when taken to extremes, can cause destruction and harm by those who believe in it strongly. According to Wilkens and Sanford (2009) nationalism is “the imbalanced and distorted form of something that is good–patriotism” (p. 62). Nationalism can be attributed to one of the ideals that led to Hitler’s power of the Nazis. If nationalism is not checked, it can lead to destruction.

Wilkens & Sanford described moral relativism as “a seismic shift in our culture” (p. 79). Moral relativism can also be described as a belief that truth no longer exists, “and if it does, it is certainly not self-evident” (Wilkens & Sanford, 2009, p. 79). I can see this more prevalent in society where the “anything goes” attitude is rampant. Many of the younger generation (under 25) are content with individualizing their faith, beliefs, and morals: my truth is not your truth and your truth is your own truth. Many of them do not like to be told “no” or “you’re wrong” when that is the message they need to hear. I have heard of teachers who are not allowed to tell a student “no”, “that’s wrong”, or give a grade of F since those are a hindrance to learning. It seems that letting students fail gives them a chance to get it right the next time, and learn in the process. If you do not let a student fail, they will think they are incapable of it. This may be a bit of a shock when they get into the real world.

Whether individualism, consumerism, nationalism, or moral relativism, these are threats to Christianity no matter which one is more prevalent. Knowing they exist is the first step in preventing them from becoming dominant thoughts and replacing God with them.

Blessings to you and yours.

16th Week PhD: Individualism and Consumerism

Another week gone, and still there is much to do! Also, my mom is doing better after surgery and continues to recover. Thank you to all of you who are keeping her in your thoughts and prayers.

This week the focus for me was on the discussion post for the Advanced Worldview class regarding the prevalence of individualism versus consumerism in our world in general and in education. According to our textbook, written by Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford in Hidden Worldviews (2009), individualism is “the belief that the individual is the primary reality and that our understanding of the universe and lifestyle should be centered in oneself” (p.  27). From the same textbook, consumerism “absolutizes consumption by believing that we can find fulfillment by accumulating wealth and everything that comes with it” (p. 45). In the case of the world in general, I believe individualism (selfishness) is more prevalent since individualism causes consumerism. Finding fulfillment usually means our own fulfillment, which is just a form of individualism. James 3:16 says, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (NIV). Adam and Eve ate from the tree of life in order to be like God (Genesis 3:5-6). Individualism, the desire to be put “in the God-position” has caused “every evil practice” (Wilkens & Sanford, 2009, p. 42).

Consumerism is rampant in education, especially higher education. Students are now viewed as consumers or customers. Making a profit is the goal for most institutions. Building better buildings, better programs, attracting more students are all incorporated into vision and mission statements without actually being stated. Too often the intrinsic value of higher education is lost in the sea of consumerism. Investing in buildings that are already there, students that are already there, and faculty and staff that are already there would seem to be the most profitable by being good stewards of what God has already given. Luke 12:48b (NIV) says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Blessings to you and yours.

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