50 Challenges to motivate?

There are many challenges that we face on a daily basis and these can often be viewed as negative influences – but following on from our legacy #dontstopbelieving in order to maintain and promote motivation and indeed build resilience, the notion of the Haig 50 was born.

There are a number of motivation theories including ‘self-determination’ (Deci, 1975; Deci and Ryan 1985, 200; Deci et al., 1999), ‘achievement goal orientations’ (Elliot, 2005; Meece et al., 2006) and ’self-system model of motivational development’ (Connell 1990; Connell and Wellborn, 1991) which we were able to draw upon in terms of devising the concept of the Haig 50 challenges.

The Haig 50 seeks to promote the location and context of the school – a ‘British’ school in Germany against the backdrop of school closure due to the withdrawal of British troops from British Forces Germany back to the UK.  As a community working and living together there can be the potential for the negative aspects of closure to dominate discussion – ‘the medical centre is closing’, ‘when will I have to move?’, ‘I’ve got no home or job to go to’, ‘nobody cares’ – you get the idea.  Real and relevant concerns, but within the school context ones which I wanted to mitigate.

So, after discussions the name (the ‘Haig Bucket List’ was ruled out as it suggested no life after Haig) and challenges were agreed leading to the official launch.

The Haig 50 was initially just spoken about by name; it had been mentioned in assemblies and in newsletters to parents which was building the expectation well – as yet no detail, just the name.  During the fourth week back at school the project was launched in assembly which filled in the missing blanks; then followed the challenges.

It was important for us that the Haig 50 gave an element of self-determination, so a range of challenges which can be completed individually, within school or with the family were developed.  Motivation through goal orientation was also introduced through the awards linked to the number of challenges achieved; bronze, silver, gold and the platinum award for the full 50!  It was important to us that the range of challenges was varied and unbiased towards any one theme – a balance of academic, creative or sporting which meant that the challenges would be able engage our children inclusively.  Being intrinsically rewarded through the fun of completing challenges taps into the self-system of motivational development, which will hopefully encourage children to try challenges that are outside their comfort zone.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Haig 50 develops – there’s certainly a very positive buzz about it now and initial feedback is overwhelmingly positive.  On the first evening that the Haig 50 arrived home with families we had this comment on the parents’ Facebook page “M (Y1) has come home and explained the Haig 50 challenges.  It is a fantastic idea and I am sure we all will have some great fun doing this over the next few months.  Thank you”

What have you done to promote or develop motivation? I shall report back on ours!

Categories teaching and learning

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