Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Motivation: Random thoughts

I have days where I just can't seem to get the motivation to do get things done like going to the gym or balancing my checkbook or floss.  Somethings I need to bribe myself into doing.  Pay your bills and then you can play a quick game of Bejeweled Blitz.  It helps when you get a lot of positive feedback.  I've been getting really great, motivating feedback from other therapists on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.  It makes me want to create more materials. 

This weekend, my four year old was napless and pretty wild.  I'm going to be honest with you and admit that I may have said something along the lines of "THAT is enough talking.  No.  No. more. talking.  Mommy needs to get this (progress reports) done."  Is telling someone to stop talking cause for an ASHA censure???  Anyhow, the next day, we were at the gym and saw an old babysitter of his.  He was being pretty shy so I thought he'd like to tell her about all of the superheroes he likes.  "Hey, tell her about your most favorite thing in the WHOLE world." I prompted.  He smiled up at us and said, "Mommy."  Talk about motivation!  That filled my mommy patience cup right up. 

It made me thing of the clients that I work with.  For many of them understanding language, telling simple stories or using clear speech are challenging skills.  What kind of feedback do they need and what kind of feedback do they give themselves?  How does the feedback that we give them in speech therapy help or decrease their motivation to change and improve their skills.  I try really hard to give consistent and specific feedback with the kiddoes that I work with.  Good job or great trying is nice to hear.  But what about, "I like how you put your lips together when you said "buh." OR "When you define a word using a category it really helps me to figure out what you are talking about."  Ultimately they need to monitor themselves so I will ask, "How do you think you did on that, " or "Was that easy or hard?"  or "Do you think that activity was helpful?" 

Another strategy I pulled from a parenting book.  (I think it was the Happiest Toddler on the block.) I tell "secrets" about them.  I will use a stage whisper when talking to their parents about how good their attention was or how I have really notice improvement in their skills.  Sometimes I will pretend to whisper in stuffed animal ears or "fake" a phone call.  Getting praise from one person is great but overhearing someone praising you feels even better. 

I'm not above a bribe (external motivation system) for my clients.  Today I had a client work for the opportunity to take a screenshot picture on the I-pad of one of the members of One Direction.  Then we imported the photo into a photo editing app and drew purple mustaches on him. 

How do you give students feedback and help them take ownership of their goals?  How do you motivate them?

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