Art in Motion II: Motor Skills, Motivation, and Musical Practice

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The ratio of stress to performance needs to be "just right" for each individual learner in order to maintain motivation. Figure 1. Yerkes-Dodson Law of Arousal. We need to strive to provide the "just right" balance of excitement and challenge without undue stress for our students. Prior experience with similar tasks may influence one's reaction and degree of motivation.

So the trick is to find the optimum level of challenge that engages, and is enjoyable and safe for every learner see the sections on flow and the zone of proximal development in Chapter 6. Carrot-and-stick enticements, or extrinsic rewards , not only don't work in the long run but may actually lower performance, stifle creativity, and decrease the desired behavior.


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We have an inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and build our capacities, to explore, and to learn Pink, Mostly people are motivated to do interesting work with supportive colleagues. In his research, Pink found that people do not respond to monetary rewards and punishments as compared with being given the opportunity for. Another popular look at motivation includes research gathered by Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Duckworth and her colleagues define grit as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals," p.

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Grit can be a positive indicator of success in the long haul. It adds the component of passion to the trait of persistence. The Intelligence Quotient IQ is not always the determining factor in student success, but grit can be, although it is not tied to intelligence. We need to rethink how hard and where we challenge students with unfamiliar and uncomfortable tasks. Many students with a high intelligence may decide to take the safe route and are not particularly successful in life, whereas students with average intelligence and a good level of grit often far surpass their high-ability peers as grit predicts success beyond talent.

Grit is not just having resilience to overcome adversity, bounce back from challenges, or survive at-risk environments.


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  6. Grit is also staying the course, much like the Tortoise in the famed fable. The Tortoise persists even though his journey is slower and more tedious. The Tortoise wins the race because the Hare a more talented runner meanders and becomes distracted along the way. Grit is about being able to commit over time and remain loyal to goals that are set Duckworth et al. Developing grit requires multiple rehearsals with content or skills to achieve success and develop mastery. We teachers must tap our creativity to provide the practice that diverse learners need, making sure to offer a variety of multisensory tasks that appeal to students' varied learning preferences.

    We must be careful not to come at grit from a fear-based focus on testing and college selection, especially with young adolescent brains that are more susceptible to negative or critical reactions.

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    Poorly informed teachers and parents may attribute a lack of success to a lack of grit without analyzing the full situation with regard to other issues, such as missing support or resources. Psychologists refer to this sort of misperception as "fundamental attribution error.

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    Grit is different from passion because grit requires effort and fully engaged commitment to be successful. He postulates that in the real world, learning to react to failure is as critical to success as academic achievement.

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    Noncognitive character traits such as resilience, persistence, drive, and delayed gratification are as important as cognitive skills Farrington et al. If we don't learn how to deal with frustration and obstacles, we are not likely to choose challenging or risky paths and will perhaps lead a life of mediocrity and predictability. The trait of delaying gratification is necessary to persevere despite encountering obstacles. Emotional intelligence EI is a person's ability to use her or his emotions mindfully.

    It consists of a balance between emotions and reasoning. Goleman describes EI as composed of five emotional competencies, or domains: self-awareness, managing emotions, self-motivation, empathy, and social skills. He regards these domains as the keys to success in the 21st century. This domain entails our ability to identify and name our feelings and to articulate our emotions.

    We can differentiate with precision a feeling and identify beyond a basic feeling such as sadness the more complex feelings of anxiety, upset, depression, or disappointment. We are not engulfed with the feelings and can name and then deal with them. Managing emotions. Once feelings are labeled, we can begin to think about how to handle them—how to soothe or change the mood or, if anger is the issue, how to resolve conflict. If we can motivate ourselves, we can develop competencies such as setting goals, delaying gratification, and persisting.


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    Being able to self-motivate is actually a state of mind—a certain level of mindfulness. Those who are self-motivated are often more successful in life, unrelated to their socioeconomic position and cognitive intelligence, because they have an inner drive and determination to persist. Empathy is the ability to feel for someone else or to stand in another's shoes.

    Being able to read and understand the feelings of another builds tolerance. Social skills. People with good social skills have the ability to use interpersonal skills to interact appropriately with others. They are able to read and respond to people in a positive way. They are said to have "social polish. Emotional intelligence derives from the communication between your emotional and rational "brains. In other words, an emotional reaction occurs before our rational mind is activated.

    Emotional intelligence requires a balance between the rational and emotional centers of the brain see Figure 1. Emotional Intelligence.

    Art In Motion Ii Motor Skills Motivation And Musical Practice

    Plasticity is the term neuroscientists use to describe the brain's ability to grow and change. The change is incremental, but as we consciously practice new skills, permanent habits form. Using strategies to increase emotional intelligence allows the creation of billions of neural connections dendritic growth between the rational and emotional areas of the brain.

    A single cell can grow up to 15, connections dendrites with nearby neurons. We make new connections as we learn new skills, including emotional intelligence strategies.

    Art in Motion II: Motor Skills, Motivation, and Musical Practice (ebook)

    Practicing will strengthen those neural connections, and over time new behaviors will become habits. How to Foster Emotional Intelligence Domains. Help students identify feelings and discuss how they might best respond. Use "teachable moments" when situations happen. Source: Adapted from Bradberry and Greaves This resource provides concrete, practical ways to increase one's emotional intelligence.

    Fredricks suggests a view of engagement that considers behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement and their integration. Behavioral engagement consists of such things as positive actions e. Students who have behavioral engagement "play the school game" and it is easy to observe these students.

    Engagement here refers mainly to on-task behavior. Emotional engagement entails students' emotional reactions to school, whether there is a feeling of belonging, and whether they value tasks and school. Emotionally engaged students are vested in school and connected to it. This type of engagement is often overlooked. The more interest, positive attitude, and task satisfaction without anxiety, stress, and boredom , the greater the engagement.

    Cognitive engagement refers to students' investment in tasks and challenges, as well as their perseverance in completing and tackling challenges. They are aware of what they are doing and why, both hands-on and "minds-on" for a specific strategy or task. Cognitive engagement also includes self-regulation, strategic planning, and reflection.

    It often is described as "deep" rather than "surface" learning. We are centrally concerned with how to move ourselves or others to act. We need to master challenges and experiences to develop our sense of self. Deci and Ryan recognize two basic reward systems, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic rewards tap into inner potential and interests, allowing us to express our true self and growth. Extrinsic rewards provide tangible rewards or incentives such as stickers, pizza parties, and bonuses. Deci and Ryan suggest that individuals tend to move toward the innate need to grow and gain fulfillment.

    We need to feel the following to satisfy and achieve psychological growth:. Competence and mastery of skills Connections and relatedness and a sense of belonging Autonomy, or a sense of control over their goals and behavior.