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Critical incident reflection

Critical incident date: 28/11/15

This incident occurred whilst I was teaching a maths lesson on area and scale factor.
Throughout the lesson this particular student had been staring at the page not knowing what
to do, something this student does when stuck on a problem rather than asking for help. The
student eventually asked for help on the maths problem once it was announced that there was
a reward of table money to be handed out to the student who was working most diligently. I
spent a considerable amount of time explaining the steps of the problem to the student. After
discussing the problem for a while the student finally clicked on to what need to be done and
was very excited that they knew what they were doing. Later in the lesson the student
mentioned that they were going to take it home to finish in their spare time. The amount of
excitement from the student was over the top and very rewarding.
This event was critical as it made me aware as a teacher that I have to create and nurture an
environment where the students are motivated to learn. This coincides with psychologists
concepts of extrinsic motivation, that is motivation created by external factors such as
rewards and punishment. (Margetts, K and Woolfolk, A. 2013). The students in the classroom
are constantly reinforced for working diligently therefore are aware of what the teachers
expectations of them are. Extrinsic motivation in the classroom does not involve activities for
the childrens sake but instead the knowledge that they will gain. (Margetts, K and Woolfolk,
A. 2013). The incident also made me realise that motivation and classroom management are
closely related. According to Margetts, K and Woolfolk, A, (2013) classroom management
refers to the techniques used to maintain a positive, productive learning environment,
relatively free of behaviour problems. I have been able to observe how the classroom teacher
uses rewards in the classroom such as table money to keep the students interested, engaged,
on task and motivated thus making me aware of the techniques I will use throughout my
teaching career.
This situation was critical to me as it revealed to me the importance of extrinsic motivation of
the student. It made it clear to me that I can explain anything to the students but unless they
actually want to learn they will put in little effort to take in the knowledge. This made me
take note of the classroom I was in and how well the classroom teacher nurtured an
environment that helped the students want to learn. It made me see that I need to
continuously nurture this environment in my own classroom. It was interesting to see how
excited the student was once they continued to work out the problem, where as without the
extrinsic motivation this student may have given up or avoided the task.
Margetts, K and Woolfolk, A (2013) Educational Psychology (3 Eds) Pearson: Australia