Monday, March 8, 2010

Going a bit psychological on y'all here . . .

So, I just read an article on about video game addiction. At one point, they talked about how video games fill a void you get from being dissatisfied with your job or life. They said to be satisfied with you job (or life, for the unemployed or minors out there) you need three things:

"1. Autonomy (having a say in what you do in your day-to-day routine)
2. Complexity (so it's not just mind-numbing repetition)
3. Connection between effort and reward (i.e. you actually see the awesome results of your hard work)"

And this got me thinking about how satisfied I am with school. Let's see how school measures up to these three requirements for satisfaction of life:

Autonomy? No. We do what the teacher tells us to do. We have almost no say in what we do.
Complexity? Sometimes. Math? I'm finding X and Y day . . . after day . . . after day . . . after day . . . there's nothing new there. I'm still finding X and Y. Gym? Sometimes. It'll be different and interesting here and there.
Here's the big Kahuna -- Connection between effort and reward. When I turned my math assignments in, there wasn't really much of a reward. When I didn't turn them in? No reward. It stayed the same. Some would say that the reward is a good grade -- but what does that mean to me? It's a letter on a piece of paper. That's no reward.

And all that got me thinking . . . well, what would the reward be for the effort? And I thought about math. OK, so if you turn your assignments in monday-friday, you get some kind of reward on friday. It makes sense. In fact, that's what they do for little kids in schools. If you do your work and get it signed at home or whatever, you get a gold star or something towards some type of greater reward. And these little kids strive for these stars or whatever to get that larger reward -- so they do their work.

So, I think we have something here.

I observed, noted, and came up with a hypothesis. And I'll be darned if I don't test it, observe the results, and prove it wrong or right. And if I prove it right . . . I guess I'll publish it. On here, in the paper, on the school's website, et cetera, wherever I can get it out. And if I'm wrong, I'll go back and try a new hypothesis.

Which class will I try it in?
Let's go through my schedule to see which classes would work best:

English: Hmm. We don't have many assignments in here. I don't think it'll work.
German: We really only have one big assignment. And it's due on the day of the test -- still plenty of time to procrastinate.
Economics: We don't have many assignments in this class either. And when we do have a project or something, we do it in class.
Band/Choir: . . . this just isn't gonna work.
Gym: . . . neither will this one.
Science: Too laid back, and everything is due on the day of the test.
Math: Daily assignments, the classroom is generally not laid-back but not too uptight . . . I think we have a winner!

So, I'll have to talk to Mr. O about this, maybe we can start it next week, or maybe fourth quarter . . . yeah -- that'll be optimal.

So, we'll have to do a clean run week, and record the percentage of people who turn in all of their work, half their work, or none of their work. And then, over the fourth quarter, we'll have . . . like, assignments monday-friday, and everyone who turns them in gets a reward. Then we'll just see if percentages one goes up, three goes down, and how percentage number two changes in any way.

I'm pretty excited about this. : )

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