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Friday, 14 October, 2016

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a keynote by Alfie Kohn whose main research focus is motivation. In a well-known book, he has applied the question of motivation to schools in general and homework in particular. His message comes timely when we go on a week of holidays and when many parents will ask: Do you have any homework?

Following the research, homework does not change outcomes –motivation does.  So naturally you will ask, how we as a school motivate the students? Especially as the next bad news are that extrinsic motivation using grades, incentives and even praise, does not have an effect, according to Kohn’s research – what works is intrinsic motivation which stems from curiosity and a deep interest in a question. At BBIS, we try hard not to kill the natural curiosity of children, and keep honouring the question, not just the answer. Inevitably, in certain learning situations like preparing for exams, a bit of homework, grades as feedback are necessary. What I hope is that your sons and daughters have a great week with you, following their interests – then it is time well spent.

With best wishes,

Peter Kotrc