Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Reflecting on Behavior

“Keep the focus on the behavior and not the underlying motivations. If the student tries to justify their behavior, keep coming back to the specific choices and how those choices aren't acceptable in this space. When we keep the focus on what happened and how it had an impact on others, we encourage full responsibility.”

I disagree with the author about not focusing on the motivations. I totally agree that we need to focus on the behavior but I think motivation is also important.  Just because we think we have a good reason for doing something, doesn’t mean that it is always appropriate to act this way.

If I get pulled over for speeding, I might have a good excuse such as having to go to the bathroom for feeling sick. But the reason there are speed limits is for safety and having a good reason doesn’t make speeding alright. But if I break the law by speeding, because I’m bleeding and need to get to a hospital, it may be justified. Even though it might not be safe to speed, it might be fatal if I don’t get to a hospital quick enough

There are rules of behavior that are acceptable in society and just because a student feels they have a good reason to behave a certain way doesn’t make it right. But I feel when helping students to change their behavior, I need to understand why they acted a certain way, Once I understand their motivation, I can help them see that there are better appropriate alternatives that they could have chosen.  By knowing the reason they behaved a certain way may help me understand the behavior even if it was wrong. There may be circumstances where there were no other alternatives that were available.  Also, helping students verbalize why they did something may help them realize that their actions were not reasonable and we can look at other options.  Reflecting on why we do things is an important part of changing behavior.

I find reflecting on my own teaching behavior helps me see that my motivation may not be a justification for what I’m doing. I either need to change my motivation or I need to change my behavior. Without this reflection, I might get into a bad habit that needs changing but I don’t see that the change is necessary. By reflecting on the reason for doing something, I might see a better way to take action.

Just knowing the behavior without knowing the motivation is only seeing half of the picture. Knowing what happened and why is important but it is also important to look at a broader view to see if there were other alternatives to take. It takes all three in order for people to take responsibility for their actions.

How do you feel about behavior, motivation, and reflection? Please share.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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