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Reinforcement and Motivation...

May 14, 2015
Reinforcement and motivation within an arrowsmith cognitive learning center.

The idea of changing your brain is exciting! Being able to make difficult tasks easier, improving memory, working on organization and focus….. I am sure these things sound great to everyone. Being able to improve cognitive abilities sounds like it would be motivation enough to keep students engaged, but in reality brain exercises are HARD. Our Arrowsmith students are pushed every day to build new neural connections in their brain. This is done by continuously engaging in a specific exercise that targets a cognitive area.

Motivation to do well is a key ingredient to strengthen cognitive abilities. Motivation to stay engaged after working on an exercises for 40 minutes, 5 days a week, and for 20 days a month takes great dedication. Arrowsmith students must find motivation within themselves to remain engaged for an entire exercise. But what goes hand in hand with motivation? Reinforcement of course!

Everyday people of all ages seek reinforcement. Adults are motivated to do well in their jobs when they get verbal reinforcement from their bosses or coworkers. Children feel proud when their parents reinforce their hard work at school by putting up their spelling test on their fridge at home. People feel motived to work out when they are reinforced by gaining muscle. There are all different types of reinforcement that are successful at keeping people motived, and it is very important that reinforcement is incorporated into our cognitive center.

Now how can an Arrowsmith instructor help a student find motivation through reinforcement? How can an Arrowsmith instructor incorporate reinforcement with a class full of students of ALL ages? No one knows what would motivate a student more than that actual student, so we ask them! In our cognitive classroom we have a few ways of doing this. One way is having an open discussion with our students about likes and dislikes. Another way is giving a few choices (i.e. when you reach your goal 4 times this week would you rather earn a reading break or choose something from our prize box?). And lastly, the best Arrowsmith reinforcement occurs naturally when one of our students finds a task just a little bit easier (“I can remember instructions like I wasn’t able to do before!”). With a little help from pizza parties, preferred games, earned breaks and gift cards we will continue to support our student’s motivation to strengthen their cognitive abilities!

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