Oct. 15, 2021

isPodcast - Episode Seven

isPodcast - Episode Seven

Dr. Noella Mackenzie underlines the importance of handwriting and keyboarding skills with Mike Broadstock. Université Laval Associate Professor Julien Bureau talks with Shane Green about the best ways to motivate students. ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green chats with Natalie Moutafis about a teacher who made a difference in her life, and St. Michaels Grammar School virtuoso guitarist Harrisen Hughes tears through Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.


Michelle Green's Perspectives blog post about Creina Glass: a teacher who opened doors

PW Worlds Teachers Day tips from AITSL

Noella’s website has information about her research and publications and links to her podcast.

Parents Website report on student motivation

Saint Michael’s Grammar School

isPodcast is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon music, and Google podcasts

Transcript

Note: isPodcast is produced for listening and is designed to be heard. We encourage you to listen to the audio, as it includes emotion and emphasis that’s not on the page. While every care is taken, our transcripts may contain errors.  

Natalie Moutafis: 
Hi everyone and welcome back to isPodcast, ISV's show for schools and the wider community. I'm Natalie Moutafis. Today, Mike talks with Dr. Noella Mackenzie about the importance of handwriting and keyboarding skills. Shane Green talks with Université Laval Associate Professor Julien Bureau about what keeps students motivated. And I have a chat with ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green about thanking our teachers.

Natalie Moutafis: 
Hi Michelle and welcome back to isPodcast. How are you? 

Michelle Green: 
I'm great, thank you Nat. And like everybody else under COVID, I'm looking forward to a brighter time. 

Natalie Moutafis:
I thought I'd have a quick chat to you today because it's October and we're in the start of Term 4. And with that comes World Teachers' Day on Friday, the 29th of October. 

Michelle Green: 
Yeah. Which is a great opportunity for us to remember what it is that our teachers give us every day, not just over COVID, but every day with our young people and also with parents and others. So, World Teachers' Day, great. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
Teachers have continued to inspire and motivate students throughout these periods of remote learning. Often while working from home with children of their own, which can't have been an easy task. So World Teachers' Day could be a lovely day for students and even their parents to thank the teachers. We're sharing over on The Parents Website some tips from AITSL on how you can say thanks. One of which could be a letter. You wrote one a few years ago to a teacher in your past. 

Michelle Green: 
I did. And when you look back and you think you're so lucky to have great teachers. Not every one of my teachers was a great teacher, but there was one teacher that really stood out for me and her name was Creina Glass. When I first met her, she was Miss Tierney, Creina Tierney. And she came from a remote town of Hawker in South Australia, came to my little school in Port Lincoln. 

So I did write a blog post about Creina Glass. And what I talked about was Creina Glass as an opener of doors. I like poetry and there is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. And the quote is "Be an opener of doors for those who come after thee." And it goes on to say, "And do not let the universe constrain you." And Creina Glass, all those years ago, was a person who didn't let the universe constrain her or anybody else. 

So, in my blog post earlier on, Nat, I wrote about Creina Glass coming to our school as a bright spot. All of the teachers, seem to us as primary school students, they were all ancient. They all wore grey clothes or blue blazers. They had grey support stockings. And we got this young teacher and she wore miniskirts and she wore clothes with flowers on them. And we thought she was amazing because she was the only person, really, that we'd seen with a full face of makeup.  

And we were – I was – a bit deprived. I grew up in the country. But so she came to us and she was an art teacher, but she was also an English teacher. She was also the poetry teacher. She was also the drama teacher. I think she even tried her hand at math, but I'm not so sure what sort of a math teacher she actually was. 

But what made it different for us, though, was that she obviously had learned the craft of teaching, but she'd learned that part of the craft of teaching was watching the students and tried to come to inspire them from where they were. And the experience that I had with her was that I was a fifth child in a family of six. I had four older sisters and a younger brother. And my father, I think, was born out of his time, only he was 50 years too late rather than 50 years too early. So he was busy being a Victorian parent.  

And he thought that what happened to women was that they would go to school and of course, learn to read and they would learn very good manners and they'd learn how to iron linen tablecloths. But they didn't need to do very much because they just needed to get a secretarial job before they got married and then they had children and everything would be fine. 

And I'd seen at least four of my sisters in this mould and I was really depressed as a child because I thought that's what had to happen and I wanted to do something else. I wanted to be a journalist.  

Anyway, I don't know how Creina Glass knew this, but she invited me around to her house for a Saturday lunch (which was unheard of, going to a Teachers' house for lunch). So, I walked to her house because you walked everywhere in those days and when I got there, she served me, exotically, a sandwich on a little plate with roses and ice cream. And I of course was a bit overawed about being at the teachers' house and we were chatting, and she said to me, 'What do you want to do with your life?' 

And I remember it, clearly. And I sort of was probably frozen in mid sandwich and I said, 'Well, I would really like to be a journalist, but my Dad doesn't have much money, and my family, we live in the country and I don't think that's going to happen'.  

When you think about teachers, you think about teachers as being nurturing. You think about teachers as always being softly spoken. And up until that time, Creina Glass had been like that with me. She was always lovely and fun, but I remember it now. She leaned forward and she looked me straight in the eye and she said 'How dare you speak like that? Don't you ever use somebody else as an excuse for you not to want something or not to do something. Don't ever do that again'. 

And I can remember, I talk about being frozen in mid sandwich. I can remember like a deer in the spotlight. But I can hear her now when I speak about that time in my life. I was 12, I think. And I can hear her now. And, of course, I did go on. I went through school and I went to university and she became quite a good friend of mine in later life.  

And I remember some time before she died – she died very young a brain tumour, sadly – but I can remember saying to her do you remember saying that to me? And she said: "You spent your life thinking about why you couldn't do things and you didn't realise how talented you were". And she said: 'I wondered what it was going to take to inspire you.' And she said 'and I thought I'd shown you all of these wonderful things, I'd shown you art, I talked to you about music. And at the end of the day, I thought probably what I needed to do was to shock you'. 

So, if you think about that, that was really quite special in my life. Nowadays, in my much later life, if someone tells me I can't do something, I hear her. I hear her in my head and I think that's what good teachers do for us. They meet us where we are. They think about where we can go. They think about how they might help get us there.  

And time and time again, when I hear people talk about teachers that have changed their lives or I speak to the teachers that come into the Development Centre, I know that they spend time thinking about their students, not just when the students are in front of them, but when they're going on their walks or when they're at sport or whether they're at home making dinner, they think about the students and they think about making their students the best that they can be. 

So, that's why World Teachers' Day is so important. You know, I was pretty lucky. I was able to say thank you to Creina Glass in later life. Luckily, she didn't die before I had the opportunity to thank her. We don't often think about thanking our teachers, but I think a letter to a favourite teacher would be a great way to honour what it is that they've done for us. So that's my story,  

Natalie Moutafis: 
I love it. And I think it's not just teachers that your children and students are having in front of them today. It's when you think about your story, you had me thinking back to some of my previous teachers as well, and I'm not sure that I ever thanked them, particularly when you're in your teen years. It's become probably the furthest thing from your mind is thanking a teacher. But when you think back on it, it's something that you could possibly do now, with the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn. You could get out there and track down a past teacher and send them a little note just to say thank you. 

Michelle Green: 
Exactly. And I think people should remember too, the power of their written words when they get older. The power of actually writing something down and saying you know what? You changed my life and you changed it for the better. Imagine, teachers at the moment, particularly, they've done such a massive job over the last 18 months that it's not very often that they would have people come back and say you've really done a great job and say it sincerely with examples.  

I think that that would be a really powerful thing to be able to do. And I will do the same. Creina Glass wasn't the only great teacher that I had and I'm going to try to track down some of them. I'm not so ancient that they won't be still alive. And I think I might just track them down to say thank you on World Teachers' Day, as well. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
I think it's a great idea. And also it's Term 4 as I mentioned before, and we're looking at a lot of students and teachers going back to campus. So, we've seen the staggered roadmap start and we're looking towards November 5 when the whole school campus will be back. Are you getting much feedback from our Member Schools around this? 

Michelle Green: 
Yes Nat. We're getting really positive feedback and some photographs which I'll tell you about. And then we're getting some real trepidation. So, one of our principals sent me some photographs of the faces of the children coming back into school after the holidays and how just the joy coming out of both teachers and parents and the children for a return to school in a real excitement.  

It was lovely to see that because we had been talking about how difficult it was for students in lockdown, how difficult for parents, how difficult it had been for the administration, for schools to try to make sure that people could come back and that students could be safe. And that made it all worthwhile. Seeing little kids, particularly being pretty excited coming back. Not only little kids. I've had students from Year 12 send me notes asking me about whether there was an opportunity for them to redo or reimagine some of the celebrations that they might otherwise have had in Year 12. And so that shows a level of excitement and joy that I perhaps wasn't expecting.  

And then, as far as trepidation, there are a lot of people who are concerned about what's happened, while they haven't been at school. There are a lot of parents who are worried about what has happened to their children, about whether they're going to be left behind or whether, socially, they haven't been able to connect.  

And I think my answer to that is we need to wait and see, but we need to be as positive as we can about every experience that people have had. Not stupidly positive, not forgetting that it's been difficult for all of us, not forgetting that individuals are hurting, but positive that this is another time in human history when the human spirit is going to rise above.  

I can see how well some of our students have coped. I can see that there are some problems that are to come, but I can also see in that excitement and joy of people returning to school, that there is some magic in us getting together. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
Well, we'll leave it there Michelle. Thanks for your time today and we look forward to having you back on isPodcast very soon. 

Michelle Green: 
Thanks very much Nat. As always, a joy. 

Michael Broadstock:  
Dr Noella McKenzie is an adjunct associate professor at Charles Sturt University and works independently as an education consultant. She's conducted a broad range of educational research in areas such as teaching, teaching morale and teacher professional learning, but she has a particular interest in the different ways children create text: drawing, writing and talking, and handwriting. Noella has also co-edited two books which focus on writing and is regularly invited to speak to educators about how they can apply her research in the classroom. We're delighted to have her on the show today. Welcome Noella.  

Noella McKenzie:  
Thanks Mike. Lovely to be here.  

Michael Broadstock:  
Noella, you say that it's important that students develop good transcription skills. What are transcription skills and what makes them important?  

Noella McKenzie:  
Handwriting, keyboarding and spelling are all transcription skills. The link between these skills and learning has been well-established, with poor transcription skills, constraining thinking, planning, and translating processes.  

So if a student is concerned about how to write a letter or spell a word or type a word, they may lose their thoughts, lose their train of thinking. And their working memory is used up with trying to remember how to write rather than concentrate on what they wish to write. So efficient handwriting – or keyboarding – allow the writer to concentrate on their message.  

Michael Broadstock:  
You've also said that writing may for the first time have eclipsed reading as a critical literacy skill for children, that seems like a big statement. Why is it so important?  

Noella McKenzie:  
It's a big statement – and it's not a quote from me, it's actually a quote from Deborah Brandt from the USA. And Deborah has conducted a longitudinal study into adults writing in the workplace. And what she's discovered is that adults are being asked more and more to write as part of their job and that the writing is becoming critical to their role. And if I use a couple of examples, if you think about the paramedic who goes out on a call, or a police person going out on a call and then writing up a report – that could end up in court, it could end up determining an insurance policy.  

Likewise, with nurses changing shift, they leave a report for the next shift and that determines medication, it determines treatment. And what they're saying is that it seems to be an increase. We think it's just to do with academic roles, but it's not.  

And so her study, in interviewing people in the workforce over a number of years, has shown that it's the writing that they're having to learn how to do in their roles. And it's the writing that's proving the most challenging for many of them. They know how to read, but it's the writing that is also seen as ... this is where we have power. You know, I read, I read someone else's ideas or I could read my own ideas, but when I write, I potentially have the power to influence other people. I can share my ideas. So it's actually quite a powerful skill.  

It's a skill that was introduced to the masses, long after reading was. Reading was introduced to the masses in order to be able to control what they read, what they learned about. And it was particularly linked to the Bible in the early days. But writing was actually held by the elite, because people knew that when you teach someone how to write, you give them the power of sharing their own messages.  

Michael Broadstock:  
Is handwriting still important then, or should we just let students use computers for their writing?  

Noella McKenzie:  
Well, the international research suggests that handwriting should be in the foreground, not only at primary school, but throughout secondary school because good handwriting improves pupils' levels of literacy, enhances creative skills and develops a person's sense of identity.  

Now, while the keyboard is important, I just want to be clear that I'm not saying handwriting or keyboarding. I'm actually arguing for us to teach our students both skills, but early on, the research shows really strong connections between learning to write by hand and a lot of other learning dispositions. And they've discovered that there's some really important learning that takes place when children learn to hand-write and they link to things like cognitive and motor skill development, the learning of letters, phonological processing, spelling, reading, and memory, composition quality and general academic success. That handwriting also enhances creativity and a sense of identity.  

So it seems as if this process that involves both physical and cognitive processes, working together – a bit like a musical instrument, when you play a musical instrument, you've got the cognitive and the physical – when children are handwriting they're having to coordinate the cognitive and the physical.  

So in their early learning, the handwriting is critical, but I'd also say that there's research to indicate that when we write something by hand, we remember it in a way that we don't when we keyboard, for example, university students, if they're good at touch typing, will often just type everything that the speaker is saying. Whereas when you write by hand, you tend to create mind maps and you tend to synthesise and identify key points.  

And so what's been shown, is that those who write everything down, actually don't remember a lot of what they write down, but the person who writes those mind maps or those bullet points and draws lines and arrows going here and there, they will often remember far more of what they've written.  

So my argument would be that we need to teach children both skills so that they then have the options like, oh, I've got that. I can take notes with a pen and a pad if I'm listening to a speaker. But if I want to compose something, I'll sit at my keyboard and I will write on my keyboard.  

Michael Broadstock:  
Yeah. I'm the same way. I never got my pen licence in school. I muddled through grade three and just pretended I had it in grade four. And its meant that as a writer, I've struggled when I've been trying to get my thoughts down, because I've also got a bit of a perfectionist bent and that I want to get it right. And, I liked when computers came about, because I could type, go back, edit, rewrite, change my thoughts. Whereas I struggled doing that on a pen and paper. So the thought process was different.  

Noella McKenzie:  
The issue is the thinking is different. You're absolutely right, Mike, but I think you're probably suffering from a focus on handwriting that was all about neatness and perfection. Whereas my argument with handwriting is that it should be about automaticity and legibility and that we should allow children to develop their own style. We need to teach them early on how to form letters efficiently so that they're not having to stop and start.  

But much of the work that's been done around the world is actually questioning the shift from printing to cursive. And in some places, cursive has now gone. Cursive has been replaced with keyboarding, but it isn't replacing printing. The printing process early on is really important for children's development and children's learning.  

And that's all we need for that note taking process. But we also need it for things like writing on a Christmas card or a birthday card that personal identity attached to the handwritten note or receiving an envelope and seeing the writing on the front and thinking, yes, I know who that person is.  

Michael Broadstock:
So, what has the research in the other parts of the world told us about handwriting and keyboarding?  

Noella McKenzie:  
I think there's two things to look at there. Mike. One is what the research has told us and the other is what's actually happening in the different systems across the world, particularly English-speaking systems. So, the research is consistent. There's a lot of anxiety actually, outside of education that we might've dropped the ball – that educators have stopped teaching handwriting.  

And we need to rectify that because the research tells us how important handwriting is, but in a number of different countries, it's interesting to see where they've taken the research.  

So if I look at the UK, handwriting is prioritised to Year 6 with letter formation considered important, but cursive writing is optional. In the U S it's the same: prioritising handwriting to Year 6, but cursive is optional. Printing, in Finland, is until children are in Grade 3 – No cursive – that's when they introduce computers. In France, they prioritise handwriting right throughout school and primary school and secondary school. It's linked to art and creativity.  

Now Singapore's interesting because they went away from handwriting, but they realised their mistake and they've come back and re-introduced handwriting and they consider it a key competence. So, thinking about when to introduce the computers, it seems as if across the world it's around about grade three grade four, or maybe a little later.  

Michael Broadstock:  
So handwriting’s still important, but we should still allow students to work with computers and their keyboarding as well.  

Noella McKenzie:  
Absolutely. I would advocate that they need to be taught both, and then they need to have the flexibility to be able to choose, but we have to show them how to do this, that year seven students in a study that I conducted told us this, that we need to help them understand which tools are best for which jobs. So, yes, I would argue that we have to teach them both and allow for practise of both. Both are quite different processes.  

If we think about touch-typing. To touch type is something that involves both hands at the same time, working together. It's a really complex physical process. And unless you think it's okay for kids to be peck and type with two fingers, which I don't think that's an efficient system. And yet many children are in schools where they're asked to use a computer, but they're not actually taught to touch-type. So that's as bad as not teaching them how to handwrite, and then asking them to handwrite.  

Michael Broadstock:  
Do you have any top tips you could share with our listeners about how that could help their students and kids with handwriting and keyboarding skills?  

Noella McKenzie:  
Ah, yes, I do actually. And the first would start with the young children and with little ones, we need to start them off with scribbling and drawing, well before they start school so that they get used to holding the tools that they need for handwriting at a time when they're also not being pressured to learn how to write so they can develop the strength in their hands, in their fingers, in their arms, so they can develop the coordination they need, how to hold the pencil properly.  

And at the same time, I'd be wanting them to do lots of cutting and pasting and weaving and threading, playing with Lego, lots of fine motor activities that will develop that strength and that coordination. But at the same time, one of the things I'm seeing that I'm really quite concerned about is that a lot of children are starting school with poor core strength.  

So, I'd like to see more emphasis on the climbing, jumping, walking, the gross motor activities that will allow for that core strength to develop, so that children can hold an appropriate posture while they're either keyboarding or writing by hand.  

So then with the handwriting at home, encouraging children to write on Christmas cards, birthday cards, to create invitations for their parties, rather than just having printed out ones, getting children to write the shopping list for Mum to take or Dad to take to the supermarket if they're in upper primary.  

So anytime from about fourth grade, I would be saying, find out from the school when the children are going to be working with keyboards. And is there going to be clear instruction at school for touch typing? And quite frankly, if there isn't, I'd be looking for an online typing course for children to start becoming automatic and efficient at typing.  

So it's not just pecking with 'two fingers'. We think they’re good at computers because they play games, but that's very different to writing on a keyboard. 

Michael Broadstock:  
Well, that's really interesting. Thanks, Noella for joining us. Where can people find out more information?  

Noella McKenzie:  
They can go to my website and they'll find a few podcasts that talk about handwriting, but they'll also find publications, reference to publications. There's one in particular that is of interest to principals. I think that was commissioned by the South Australian Department of Education, but there's other information that would be useful for parents and teachers as well on my website.  

Michael Broadstock:  
Fantastic. We'll put a link to those in the show description. Thank you very much.  

Noella McKenzie:  
A pleasure.  

Shane Green: 
Julien, welcome to isPodcast. 

Julien Bureau: 
Thank you for having me. It's really my pleasure to be here with you talking about all this. 

Shane Green: 
Firstly, I think you may be our first international guest on the podcast. 

Julien Bureau: 
Well, I'm really glad to be. And also I must say, I was once, during my PhD, for a few months in Western Australia. Such a beautiful country and I'm very eager to go back. I hope it happens sooner than later. 

Shane Green: 
Oh, well, us too. Well, before we get to the research, how's life been in Canada during the pandemic? 

Julien Bureau: 
We got hit pretty hard by the first wave, especially in the Quebec part where I live the senior homes, it was really, really bad. So what ends up happening is the next year after that, the measures are very strict, very hard. But now with the vaccine, what happens is that we got one of the best vaccination rates in the world. So, we hope the hospitalisation stays low and we don't have to go back to remote learning. That would be great. 

Shane Green: 
Yeah. That's the big sentiment here. Of course, our lockdowns have meant long periods of remote learning. So when your new research came across our desk, it really resonated. We've seen parents thrust into the role of teachers and getting a better understanding of what happens at school and with that has been the issue of how to keep students motivated during what have been really trying times. Julien, what does the research show? 

Julien Bureau: 
Well, the first thing we wanted to know was what makes students motivated? Can we have any more definitive answer on that question? And to know that, we first have to distinguish in what ways can students be motivated? So there's an influential theory in the motivation field that will say it's not really about how much motivated you are, but really on how: what kind of motivation do you have? And this theory will distinguish levels of how self-determined is your motivation. So that means the extent to which students will think their engagement in their studies originates from them, really. 

Shane Green: 
I think it's really interesting, Julien. I think many of us would assume that there weren't any differences in motivation. It's just one thing. 

Julien Bureau: 
Yeah. Well, for the first part, a lot of people have heard that there's an intrinsic type of motivation. When we say intrinsic motivation, usually it resonates with people. And when we wonder what is intrinsic motivation, well, you witness it all the time in young children. They always go after things that are enjoyable, fun, interesting.  

And it also stays with us for our whole lifetime. Anything that's enjoyable that you have no difficulty doing, you find fun, that kindles your creativity, that's really the intrinsic motivation type. And this type is very important with students. It definitely leads to more satisfaction at school, less anxiety. However, what's necessary to be intrinsically motivated is finding enjoyment and fun in what you're doing. 

And as we know school, it's not always fun for everybody. And if it's fun for someone, it's not fun all the time. So there needs to be something more then intrinsic motivation that students has to rely on; something that would help them with being persistent through tough times at school, especially let's say when we're in remote learning. Maybe they find it less enjoyable, maybe they find it less fun.  

So what can they hold onto to still be motivated? And the counterpart of intrinsic motivation, definitely it's extrinsic motivation. But is extrinsic motivation really what we want? Well, what this theory says is that, and it's called self-determination theory. What the theory says is that extrinsic motivation, it's more than that. You cannot just say extrinsic motivation. There are different various types of extrinsic motivation. 

The only thing that extrinsic motivation means is that you're motivated by something that is not the activity, something that is extrinsic to the activity. And is it bad? Well, not always, it turns out because if you're doing something because you value it, because it's important to you, well, you're not exactly doing something because it's fun or because it's interesting. You're doing something because you value what it's bringing to you or what it will bring to you eventually so it can be classified as extrinsic. 

It's not the activity per se that motivates you, but something that you'll gain from it, but this type of motivation, finding importance and valuing the worth that is associated with persistence and much more so than intrinsic motivation. So not only do we have a special tool to motivate students that can make them persevere through difficult times when it's not fun, it's also better at doing so than simply intrinsic motivation. 

But also there's other types of extrinsic motivation. Some that are not as good. Well, in fact, they're completely different. These types are based on pressure. If people are motivated because of internal pressure, if maybe they want to avoid shame or guilt or failure or maybe they really, really like the high, the feeling of high they get, when they succeed in school, they will pursue the pride that kind of ego fulfilment they get when they succeed.  

People who base their motivation on these type of things, they're called introjectly motivated. Okay? But the terms are not really important. The important is that they have this internal pressure to succeed and it can do so. It can help them bring out some energy to focus on their studies. But really, it's not great because if it helps them in the short term, there's costs in the middle and long term for students who are invested in these kind of motivation. 

So doing your studies because you are trying to avoid shame or failure. You try to avoid the guilt of failure that will come with more anxiety and even exhaustion at the end. So that's really not what we want for the students. But also, there's one last type. And this type, it's almost the worst. It's the external pressure, but it's the kind of extrinsic motivation that we use and know usually. It's the rewards and punishment one.  

So maybe some students will focus on their learning because they get external rewards for doing so or to avoid punishments for not doing so. And this is very bad, because not only does this not help with actual learning, it makes the students feel unqualified. So, if they have to focus on rewards and punishment to motivate them, even in the short term, but in the long term also, it's not good for them. 

Shane Green: 
There’s lots of really interesting lessons there, I think, for both parents and teachers. Is it realistic to ask students to motivate themselves without any help from teachers or parents? 

Julien Bureau: 
So, it's not realistic and it would be unhelpful to think that we don't have a responsibility in motivating them, but now we know that reward is not the thing we must do. So what can we really do? And that is the precise question we wanted to answer with this research.  

So with my colleagues – Josh Howard at Monash University, not too far from you, Jane Chong at Curtin in Western Australia and Fred Guay, who is also in Quebec – we wanted to see how teachers and parents who support self-determination in their students and children can help develop this high-quality motivation, this self-determined motivation in students.  

And this is all known things. We know supporting self-determination, it's not rocket science. It's three main things. So basically you have to be empathetic. Your child and your students, well, whether you're a parent or a teacher, their thoughts and feelings, they're valid. Okay? 

You acknowledge their perspective and trust them when they share important information with you. When you do so, they'll be more likely to think that their own good, the way they think about their own good, it's important. And thinking that their thoughts, their actions, what they do, what they think is important.  

Well, then it helps the students develop this kind of high-quality motivation because you're listening to them and then they'll listen to themselves when they think, oh, I really want to do this. Oh, I think that's important. They'll listen to that inner voice. So that's one thing, being empathetic, and it works for parents and it works for teachers, too.  

The second thing is explain your demands. So as parents and teachers, we require children and students to do homework, to prepare for exams and it's important when we do so to explain why these homework, these exams, these demands, why are they important? 

If we tell the students and our children why these things are important, then they have a much greater ability to understand why they're doing it. And if they understand why they're doing it, then they can decide if they find it important. And if they do decide that, they'll have a much more high quality motivation, because they'll know why they're doing it. And then the last thing is to support directive participation.  

If students, they feel that they can really engage in what they're doing, they can, let's say, personalise coursework, personalise assignments, make meaningful choices for their learning experience, then they'll feel that they have a voice. And this voice, it may help them have fun in what they're doing and, also again, help them find it important.   

So when the teacher, the parent, they act with empathy, they give rationales and they support active participation in students, the students will develop and have the tools to understand the importance of school work and even find it more enjoyable. 

Shane Green: 
Julien, I think they're great insights. And you've talked there about the support that both parents and teachers can provide, but are they equally important? 

Julien Bureau: 
Well, our results are really interesting in this regard. What we find is that the importance of parents, it's definitely there, but the teacher has a much bigger impact on the quality of motivation of students.  

So it's not really that parents are not important, but let's say if you have a teacher that's really not helpful with their students motivation, the parent cannot compensate as much. But any bit that one does, it's better. Like if you have parents who are unsupportive then a supportive teacher can still have a really big impact and if you have a teacher that's not really supportive, well, then the parent can still help a little bit, but it's really the teacher that's driving the main effects here. 

Shane Green: 
I think these findings really shine a light on what's happening with young people and the importance of self-determined motivation, Julien. What sort of reaction have you had to the research? 

Julien Bureau: 
Well, we did not reinvent the wheel. This was all research that was already there and we just gathered it, but we definitely gave it a nice polish. So I think presenting this information in that way, showing that the teacher has a very important impact, the parents still has an impact, too, and really because in previous research we've already shown. It was published a few months ago.  

We've shown all the positive effects. It was another meta-analysis of this high quality motivation, the things that I was talking about with you, earlier. We've shown all these positive impact and now we've shown that really the teacher plays a significant role and I think it got a pretty important reception in the education community. 

Shane Green: 
Julien, so much for us to think about there. Thanks for joining us on isPodcast. 

Julien Bureau: 
I was very glad to be here and I really hope the next time we meet, it'll be talking about these things in person. 

Shane Green: 
We really look forward to that. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
And that's it for Episode 7 of isPodcast. We're going to change the pace a little to see you out. Here is the third movement from Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata skillfully performed by St. Michael's Grammar virtuoso, Harrisen Hughes, but perhaps not as you've heard it before. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
isPodcast is brought to you by Independent Schools Victoria. It's produced and recorded by Greg Lawrence and Duncan MacLean and presented by Michael Broadstock, Shane Green and me, Natalie Moutafis. Our podcast theme was composed and performed by Duncan MacLean. You can find transcripts of our shows with links with we've discussed at podcast.iseducation.com.au

You can find isPodcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.