Please refer to the dissertation titled “The effects of a motivational training programme on the attitude, skills and achievement of underachieving Primary Five pupils”, submitted for the Master of Arts (Educational Management) – National Institute of Education / Nanyang Technological University. The motivational training programme conducted in the schools (described in the thesis) adopted the same treatment programme (with minor modifications) and study research methodology as were detailed in the dissertation submitted to the National Institute of Education.

CURRENT EDUCATIONAL PROBLEM

We face the problem that a lot of emphasis has been placed on getting high grades by the present school system. Students have a lot of assessments books, practices and academic lessons and remedial. They face a lot of drilling and see these assessment practices as a chore. Students who are not so academically inclined will suffer low esteem, show poor attitudes towards study and they are very likely to give up resulting in their early drop-out of the education system and suffering the consequences of poor quality of life in their later adulthood as they take on lowly -paid jobs. Many of these early drop-outs are really intelligent and are capable of getting better results but they lag behind their peers due to their poor attitude in their studies. The undesirable consequences of them failing in the exams could have been averted if they were helped by giving them the confidence and beliefs that they too can make it and developing the important character traits and values system that can help them to become successful learners.

On the other hand, Tutors and tuition centres pride themselves and earn great money as they are highly sought after by parents eagerly seeking out tutors who can “give” great model answers or teach their children how to score good grades in examinations. Students are just studying for the sake of doing well in examinations, not really interested in what they learn nor are they interested in wanting to learn more – that in-born curiosity in the child to want to learn is suppressed to just wanting to study for exams sake. If this trend persist, our young learners will be disadvantaged as the Information Age that we are in requires learners to continually adapt to changes and to continually learn and to learn how to learn. There is a need to address the affective domain, as neglected by the present education system.

ATTITUDE, BELIEFS, VALUES SYSTEM AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

Research has shown that development of good attitude, good personal values system and character traits are really the pre-requisites to getting the desired good results and more importantly, to be successful and a happy person. We believe that developing the EQ aspect of a child is just as important. We teach them things like setting goals, having good habits and attitudes. The Masters thesis research by Mr Kelvin Goh (NIE/NTU) has already confirmed that aspects of EQ can be developed as well as taught in class.

RATIONAL/OBJECTIVE OF THE TUITION PROGRAMME

The tuition programme attempts to bring together diverse achievement training techniques, study skills and counseling techniques within a short period of time in one set of treatment, to improve scholastic behaviour.

The primary aim of this tuition programme was to induce academic achievement behaviour. This general aim was expressed in the two main directives with the following specific objectives:

Attitudes/Character Building/Values system + Content Skills Learning = Results (Good grades, success in life, happy person)

INCORPORATING THE LEARNING OF CHARACTER BUILDING EDUCATION

The aim is to develop the affective dimension; by understanding self-better and thereby developing the desire, confidence, attitudes and habits.

To improve students’ study habits and study skills.
  • To improve students’ attitudes towards learning i.e. arouse their motivation to achieve.
  • To help students develop a more positive self-concept.
  • To improve students’ time management.
  • To teach students that they can develop internal locus of control.
  • To teach students self-management and self-regulatory skills, so that students construct meanings for their own learning, chosen strategies and action plans.

  • Teaching the content skills, examination skills and other learning skills
    These aspects of skills acquisition (learning of content, examination skills and other learning skills such as note-taking skills, concept-mapping etc) are what we will emphasize in our tuition programme, besides working on the affective domain to develop the child’s attitude and character traits crucial for the child’s success.

    The use of cognitive and behavioural motivational approach “shapes” and encourages positive behaviour patterns, that we hope will result in enhanced academic performance and other achievements.

    CONCEPTUAL VIEW OF THE PROGRAMME

    The PAWER motivation used in the programme is similar to the achievement motivation programme submitted as the dissertation for the Master of Art (Educational Management), titled “The effects of a motivation training programme in the attitude, skills and achievement of underachieving Primary Five pupils.”

    The acronym “PAWER” is pronounced as “power” and it means the following:

    PAWER motivation is concerned with creating and directing the personal internal energy towards a useful cause/result. To direct the motivation from within, we need a strong purpose (strong self-awareness and personal direction) and good attitudes, coupled with good work habits (quality of work produced), and great efforts (quantity of hard work); will give us the results we desired. (Success = good performance in school, ECA, sports, exams, health, many good friends and many good things in life).

    The diagram below depicts the pictorial representation of the model used in the programme.

    METHODOLOGY

    The programme adopted largely the use of educational drama (story-telling and fun play) – using drama for learning, challenging and thinking about life – about enabling students to understand different viewpoints or perspectives by exploring issues, questions or ideas through dramatic forms or devices. The idea was premised on the belief that education was to be by practice, by doing, rather than by instruction.

    Drama assists the learning process by enabling students to engage actively with their subject matter. Children taking part in drama act will be applying their existing knowledge to the situation, acquiring new knowledge and theories from the action of others, and developing new thoughts and responses in ways which would never arise from listening to an account. There is much evidence to support the hypothesis that all these things will also be retained more efficiently in the long-term memory because of the interactive nature of the learning process.

    The following are some of our approach used:

  • Attitudinal development – Besides games and fun-filled activities, we will adopt the “shaping” strategies to encourage effort and participation. Example of a token economies strategy: “stars” will be awarded for good effort or good work performance; the “stars” will be accumulated for exchange of presents.
  • Learning is fun – Games, quiz and interesting fun-filled activities will be used to reinforce learning objectives.
  • Teacher as facilitator – the important role of the facilitator are; as mediator, mentor and success partner – get learners to be interested in the subject and develop the desire, habits, confidence and attitudes; and as an elaborator – elaborates on the principles and concepts taught.
  • Worksheets and teaching materials – are used to support classroom’s interaction and the facilitator’s role in the classroom.

  • Educational elements
  • Child-centered
  • The subject-matter and form of the programme centre on the child’s needs, abilities and potential, and are carefully geared on the children’s intellectual level and experience.
  • Use of play
  • The programme uses the child’s natural enjoyment of joy, that will bring refreshment, vitality and are useful in improving students’ ability to communicate through speech and writing and in nonverbal ways as well. They are the energy sources, helping students develop skills in concentration, problem solving and group interaction.
  • Learning by doing
  • The essence of methodology adopted with the drama approach is that pupils learn by experiencing the events that occur within a programme. This experience is physical, mental and emotional and through this total involvement the pupils learn by discovery.
    The importance of PLAY and FUN-LEARNING is highly emphasized in our programmes; as you may see in the following famous quotations:

    How does emotional Skills (EQ) help students to learn better?

    Quote #1
    The students are used to being entertained. They are used to the idea that if they are just the slightest bit bored, they can flip the switch and turn the channel.
    Irene Kramsky

    Quote # 2
    The intelligence can only be led by desire. For there to be desire, there must be pleasure and joy in the work. The intelligence only grows and bears fruit in joy.
    Simone Weil

    Quote #3
    Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.
    Marva Collins

    Quote # 4
    When someone is taught the joy of learning, it becomes a life-long process that never stops, a process that creates a logical individual. That is the challenge and joy of teaching.
    Marva Collins

    Quote #5
    The primary purpose of a liberal education is to make one’s mind a pleasant place in which to spend one’s leisure.
    Sidney J. Harris

    Quote # 6
    A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron.
    Horace Mann

    Quote # 7
    Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
    Plato

    Quote # 8
    The best teacher of children… is one who is essentially childlike.

    H.L. Mencken

    Quote #9
    Children who have been taught, or conditioned, to listen passively most of the day to the warm verbal communications coming from the TV screen, to the deep emotional appeal of the so-called TV personality, are often unable to respond to real persons because they arouse so much less feeling than the skilled actor.
    Bruno Bettelheim

    Quote # 10
    A teacher, like a playwright, has an obligation to be interesting or, at least, brief. A play closes when it ceases to interest audiences.
    Haim G. Ginott Quote # 8
    In teaching, the greatest sin is to be boring.
    F. Herbart

    Quote #11
    What is really important in education is not that the child learns this and that, but that the mind is matured, that energy is aroused .
    Soren Kierkegaard

    Quote # 12
    The attention of children must be lured, caught, and held, like a shy wild animal that must be coaxed with bait to come close. If the situations, the materials, the problems before a child do not interest him, his attention will slip off to what does interest him, and no amount of exhortation or threats will bring it back.
    John Holt

    Quote # 13
    Too often the adult sees the young child as an unfinished creature, as an object of learning to be molded, shaped, prodded, pushed, rewarded, and reinforced… Significant learning always involves the learner as a person; thus, education itself must be humanized, must include the perceptions and interests of the learner if it is to have genuine meaning.
    Clark E. Moustakas

    Quote #14
    A dull teacher, win no enthusiasm in his own subject, commits the unpardonable sin.
    C. Wallace

    Quote # 15
    In teaching, the greatest sin is to be boring.
    J.F. Herbart

    Quote # 16
    I do not teach children, I give them joy.
    Isadora Duncan

    Quote # 17
    The best teacher of children… is one who is essentially childlike.
    H.L. Mencken

    Quote # 18
    He who creates a desire to learn in a child, does more than he who forces it to learn much.
    Anonymous

    Quote #19
    Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
    William Butler Yeats