2 Lists about Motivation

Motivation? Cool!

WHY do we do things? HOW do we motivate people (at school, at work)?

There are books about that, don’t worry. Today I give you two lists around the concept, extracted from a new French book.

ONE

In human sciences, psychology or even pedagogy, the concept of motivation is often ignored or despised. Because :

  1. Denial : Motivation is a useless artificial concept invented to describe states one can’t explain.
  2. Indifference : The idea of “something makes us act” is an evidence, but what could we do with that?
  3. Resignation : Pessimistically – “you’re motivated or you’re not, that’s all”.
  4. Incantation : Optimistically, but the same thing – we’re motivated by a mysterious “energy” which automatically push people into action.

I find so funny and great to list reasons why people are NOT motivated to study a concept like motivation!

And I wonder where we could use this list of “We don’t, because…”.

TWO

In another part of this Preface, I found a list of Old Big Systems (like Structuralism, Marxism, etc…) which, in the XXth Century, studied our concept.

Our citizen, our subject was studied these ways :

  1. The Subject-Habitus, poor one, is alienated by his existence, his social class, his position in culture and economy, he is the propensity guy.
  2. The Subject-Pulsion, the happy idiot, is the puppet of his complex unconscious subconscious.
  3. The Subject-Response, a behaviorist, just reacts to stimulations from his environment, he is conditioned.
  4. The Subject-Demiurge, a humanist tending to fulfill himself in his all-empowered freedoooommm.
  5. The Subject-Arbitrator, the haecceitist, aware that all his life is a combination of changes and possibilities, whose plays with intentions, proposition, emotions, thinking, obligations and goals. He is the co-author of his own story.

We didn’t even talk about the Theory of Motivation in itself. Maybe later?

Thanks for reading!

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Learning by weaving

As a bookseller, I hear sometimes this phrase from a mother, about her child :

– He doesn’t read.

This is a screens generation, so it happens all the time! I answer the simple way :

– Buy him books, anything, about what he loves!

Trivial, but true. The little guy will, with a little luck, find it interesting. Something interesting in a BOOK? Really?

The structure here is simple : to learn something, weave it with a subject you already know, or an interesting field.

To gain vocabulary in English, I never learned lists (boring), but I bought American books, short stories (Carver, Caldwell), or actors’ biographies (Warren Beatty, Karl Malden). I underlined words or idioms I didn’t kknow…

Like the British red string :

The ropes in use in the royal navy, from the largest to the smallest, are so twisted that a red thread runs through them from end to end, which cannot be extracted without undoing the whole; and by which the smallest pieces may be recognized as belonging to the crown.

Use a red thread of passion or knowledge into your learning process. If you have to learn German, complete the process with the autobiography of (and other books about) your favorite German director (Fassbinder? Herzog?). Or subjects.

It’s “interesting”, it’ll weave, therefore you’ll learn with efficiency.

Where else to use this?

Thanks for reading!

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Kids & Storytelling & Cessation of the Doubt

Kids like to be entertained. As a teacher, as a storyteller, or as a parent sometimes, you need to “get their attention”. Yes, maybe, to be a teacher is to be an actor?

In Fanny & Alexander, a movie by Ingmar Bergman, a worn chair is told by the father into the world’s most valuable armchair to a doubtful bunch of kids. Power of imagination! You see sparks  in their eyes…

When he wants to destroy the “throne”, at the end of the scene, the kids SCREAM!

BUT ALSO

Kids know they are entertained, but they play the game. It then becomes the essence of entertainment : Cessation of the doubt – or suspension of disbelief. They know you’re embarking them, but they like it. They dive into your story.

It’s not an “as if” attitude! It’s a “Oh I’ll be entertained!”. It’s an openness. They go for it.

Once they’re in your story, they follow, they’re happy.

BUT ALSO

Kids are smart. So… in one second, you can bring them back to reality, you can waltz between the terrible witch, Dorothy, and… yourself back.

My opinion here is it’s smart to use this intelligence, to be aware of it.

They believe you, they don’t want you to burn the magic golden throne, but at the same time, they know.

The tango between “You’re in the dream of the story” and “You’re aware I’m an adult playing with your mind” is an elevation process.

Thanks for reading!

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Elbowing the Audience by killing the Suspension of Disbelief

Quasars, Fireflies & Seeds : Chronicle 22

“The power of quasars originates from supermassive black holes that are believed to exist at the core of all galaxies”. You don’t need to know more than this little Wikipedia extract. N. Bouvier writes about one quasar moment (in front of a wave passing under an almost frozen sea). I’d say :

You’re in a quiet time with yourself, contemplating nature – or a good idea. But suddenly you click on something in your head, your idea connects with another one, or with a memory, and here we are : you disappear into yourself. You don’t see, nor hear anything. You’re in your own deep space, hidden without even knowing you’re “not here” : your brain has cut the mooring line. Meandering or Dreamery, it is not – these follow what’s around, like when you traintravel – it’s an inner thing. Quasar. You disappear into yourself. When you “come back”, it’s a weird feeling to reconnect with your life and your duties.

 

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Yesterday I met a man in his sixties, he talked about a book named “The Survival of the Fireflies” (La Survivance des Lucioles). In a way, it’s a whole book extending the idea of “Light a candle, you can’t fight the night”. Fireflies are the humans who sparkle little things in the night. A smile, a picture, a little hoping seed, a way tu stay calm, a curiosity, a helping gesture, a painting, a poem, a silence…

“Disappearance of the fireflies” seems a fact, but I’m interested in Didi-Huberman’s book because he agrees but explores deeper : glow gleam glimmer – what kind of resistance is it? Fireflies disappear maybe because we don’t know how to see them anymore? Maybe there’s a way to “organize the retreat”? Can you become one firefly? When and how?

Google will help you. For example I found this :

The book ends with the violent glare of the police torches and helicopter beams sweeping through the fields of Sangatte, and unseen by them, a Kurdish boy dancing in the wind, “his blanket his only drapery: like an ornament of his dignity and somehow his joy despite everything.” – http://www.laurawaddington.com/article.php?article=48

The “joy despite everything” is like the smiling Sisyphus, right?

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Alice Miller studied the school books of this generation, in Germany, who became the Nazis. It’s now known as the Poisonous Pedagogy – “child-raising approaches that damage a child’s emotional development”. Other poisons has been studied ever since, like the King Baby (when you never say no to a child, he becomes a fool) syndrome :

A King Baby copes with life’s difficulties and trials by refusing to accept them and instead focuses on selfish needs and desires. He doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and is always looking for the next reason to laugh and have fun — no matter what the expense.

It is difficult for a King Baby to move out of this role given the fact that he perceives so many advantages to not needing to worry about life.

In China the “one child policy” lead to what they call “Little Emperor Syndrome“.

Today I do wonder what will become of these one year old kids using tablet computers instead of discovering the world. Some studies show that there shouldn’t be any screen from 0 to 3, a little TV from 3 to 6, and tablets at 6 and after. The main problem seems that some parents are pretty sure it’ll make their kid a genius. In fact, it will probably destroy their empathy and bust their future relationships. Thus : Nazis or Fat Potato Sheeps?

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As a bookseller, I ordered and go a biography of Edouard Manet, the French painter. I know for good that this man’s life and art is important. If you agree that Art’s progress is this question : “What is new here?” – Manet pushed many levers.

I opened it at a random page, and read about Lola de Valence, a painting who triggered a poet’s enthusiasm (Baudelaire) :

Here it is, and 3 possible translations :

Lola de Valence

Entre tant de beautés que partout on peut voir,
Je contemple bien, amis, que le désir balance;
Mais on voit scintiller en Lola de Valence
Le charme inattendu d’un bijou rose et noir.

— Charles Baudelaire

Lola of Valencia

Among such beauties as one can see everywhere
I understand, my friends, that desire hesitates;
But one sees sparkling in Lola of Valencia
The unexpected charm of a black and rose jewel.

On Manet’s Picture “Lola of Valencia”

Amongst the myriad flowers on beauty’s stem
It’s hard to choose. Such crowds there are of them
But Lola burns with unexpected fuel
The radiance of a black and rosy jewel.

Lola De Valence

Friends, though on every side of you you see
Such beauties that desire must hesitate,
In Lola de Valence there scintillate
Strange charms o’ a gem of rose and ebony.

The poem has been a scandal in itself (because of the “black and rosy jewel” sexual ambiguity, and was printed and showed next to the painting). This was a strange painting, like a picture taken in a backstage area of a bit dumpy dancer with strong calves. It was a disturbing sight at this time : the decor, the imperfections of the girl, and of the way he painted – with a kind of freedom, an air of casualness… The poem added enough to create a little scandal…

It’s a movement, to read about this in books and on the web, to try to understand what was new in this work, how Manet… Oh, there’s a good page in English in you want to see more : http://www.manet.org/

 

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The power of questions & the strength of possibilities

The power of questions is the power of intriguing you.

Some questions don’t even need answers, but have the power to move your brain, to make it invent. Invent concepts, ways, doors, solutions, views…

Questions are events (because where you live, there is no florescence of questions). Questions are interesting, they can also be disturbing, or funny.

You can make the decision to let yourself be driven, or be pushed around by the power of questions.

Questions trigger movements in your brain, movements of dance, of dodging, or even swerving. Smile!

Questions secrete glowing happy interesting fog-patches of possibilities around you.

Maybe questions can meet… your own questions. Maybe they help you to ask some more questions to your partner, or… to yourself : to be surprised, to discover the strength of possibilities.

Sorry, I’m French, and if my quirky English tickles you, my bad.

Tool : Invention. Events. Decisions. Movements. Possibilities. Questions are powerful. Ask, or be asked? Both! Dolphins are fast and elegant, they seek this dance.

Merci !

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#Montessori misinterpretation mess

Nooo it’s not an article against Montessori education, which is great!

Here’s the core of it, copy/pasted from Wikipedia :

Montessori education is fundamentally a model of human development, and an educational approach based on that model. The model has two basic principles. First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments. Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development. Based on her observations, Montessori believed that children who are at liberty to choose and act freely within an environment prepared according to her model would act spontaneously for optimal development.

It’s a very interesting approach, and one of the key word of it is AUTONOMY. Many parents interested by Montessori buy books to understand and use it at home, but some of them just heard about it, or read an half-page article, and they just clicked on two concepts they adoooore :

  • My child (who is already “ahead of others”, of course) will be even better.
  • My child will be more autonomous, and… I will have peace.

This second point is the problem here. Autonomy is very important in this education, but not in the way “he is happy alone and I will have peace to do something else”!

It’s more : freedom to choose and activity and the rhythm, self-discipline (“I notice my mistakes”), experimenting, etc. There are… books about that!

Thanks for reading!

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“Vicarious” : How to learn by watching others #pedagogy #empathy

Vicariant en Français. Vicarious in English. What a strange word! It’s a concept and I put it here very simply, as a tool, or a seed. Do what you want with it.

Vicarious : Experienced through somebody or something else.

It’s all about learning, first.

There are many ways of learning. Albert Bandura was interested by one of them : observational learning. A way to learn is by watching others.

Social learning theorylearning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur through observation.

Vicarious can be extended to other things.

For example : in the night your eyes can’t see, so you use your hands to “grope for” (en Français on dit “Chercher à Tâtons”, ain’t it cute?).

Vicarious : Experienced throught something else. To replace a function by another.

Think about this now :

Empathy is a vicariance, a Metaphor is a vicariance (a word for another), a Trauma can be vicarious (traumatised because you helped traumatised people), an Emulator is vicariant, and a Impostor is vicarious, etc. Once you have this tool, you can use it elsewhere.

Ref : Alain Berthoz, la Vicariance

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me!

 

I’m living vicariously through your pictures in Lille…