How to avoid Micromanaging Employees

1B3F256C-20AA-4410-BB03-D1B5B7245521-23630-000003ED35DEDAC7How to Avoid Micromanaging Employees

Leaders mean well. They do not always get it right, however—managing employees, that is.

Science psychology shares survey results that 70 percent of employees are unhappy with their jobs. If you look around your own workspace you may discover that some of your colleagues are indeed unhappy and if given the chance for them to talk about their unhappiness, they will be happy to speak about it. You may also think about your own feelings and how you rate your happiness on your job.

Research abounds, especially in humanitarian research and in leadership books that the primary reason people are unhappy with their jobs is they do not appreciate their bosses. Employees claim many bosses micromanage, prompting employees to feel insecure about the directives given to them to complete their duties. Employees relish opportunities for autonomy, for it gives them the chance to use their strengths on their jobs. They do not desire their bosses looking over their shoulders or breathing down their backs: They want leaders that believe in them to do the work.

Research adds that employees complain that leaders tend to show favoritism when they introduce new ideas, clinging to the ideas that are already noted by management rather than accepting new ideas by those who offer them. Human psychology shows that many human beings will shut down when they believe they or their ideas are ignored. People need to feel respected and acknowledged. Some leaders are remiss in making employees feel this way.

Moreover, others complain they feel stifled in their duties. They desire to have autonomy in working, they desire to add their personal spin on the jobs in which they are responsible, for their having jobs that are crafted in their own manner is a big part of their career happiness.

Some leaders believe they must know of everything that transpires under their tenure, that they should monitor employees and correct any insignificant error they see. Understandably, a business must run smoothly if it is to meet its goals.

Yet, to inspire employees to be happier on their jobs, leaders should be clear about their expectations when disseminating job duties to employees. Leaders should step aside and give employees room to complete their work. Leaders can watch from afar and intervene only when necessary.

A systematic approach of monitoring employees without employees noticing can be created. Careful thought of an evaluation program can please employees and leaders. Yet, be reminded that while monitoring employees, leaders should be discreet: Monitor in a way that employees least expect. Leadership styles should help make employees feel confident and competent while they are completing their jobs, not feel uncomfortable and unhappy. Thus, a systematic management tool should help in these endeavors.

Much can be expounded upon the topic of micromanagement, yet, suffice it to say, many employees are unhappy because of it. Leaders, therefore, can help enhance their working- relationship with their employees by further following the suggestions below:

(1) Hire smart people. Ask: “What skills do they possess that can help bring out their best as an employee?”

(2) Pay smart people well. Ask: “What is the highest salary I can offer?”

(3) Place smart people in job areas where they will strive. Ask: “What kind of work environment would this smart person strive that would simultaneously help my company strive?”

(4) Give smart people a manual and important descriptions of their duties: “Ask: “May I count on you to ask me questions that this training manual does not answer?”

(5) Evaluate employees every three months. Provide compliments and / or provide constructive criticism, and suggest professional development. Ask: “How are you liking your job thus far?”

(6) Create a reward system. Make it relevant to job. Ask: “What are trivial, everyday things that are important to you?”

(7) Acknowledge employees every chance you get to promote kindness and goodwill. Ask: “How are you, Jane?”

(8) Be professional in every manner possible to ensure your staff’s respect. Ask yourself: “Do I have the image of a leader?”

(9) Do not micromanage: Lead. Ask: “In what way does my employee need my help?”

(10) Be a life-long learner regarding leading people. Ask: “What leadership report or journal have I read lately that shares successful leadership ideas?”

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)

How to Motivate Yourself to Study

How to Motivate Yourself to Study

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Although American College Testing (ACT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores are not required for students to submit their scores for college consideration in every single state in America, there are, nevertheless, other important responsibilities for every student to sustain: In addition to receiving school instruction, students must learn how to self-study to acquire the skills that will prepare them for higher education and for the real world. Thus, teaching themselves literacy skills–reading, writing, speaking, and thinking–students will be able to function in school, in personal relationships, and in professional careers. The delineated list below transports studying strategies that will help students become individual-ready to face intellectual challenges in life.


Howard Gardner has identified eight different types of intelligences—linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal and nature. In schools, however, the focus is primarily on linguistic (study of language) and mathematics, and the other learning styles usually fall to the wayside.

By realizing this fact, students may introspectively determine the learning style that suits them best so that they may incorporate their learning with their innate abilities. Consider these two examples: If a particular student is a kinesthetic learner, he or she might prefer—at times—to study by standing up while listening to music to make physical gestures as he or she learns. An intrapersonal learner may prefer to write letters or poems or songs that deal with specific lessons that she or he can intertwine thoughts within the lessons.

A savvy teacher will often allow students to express themselves in their own way; on the other hand, students may ask the teacher if they may complete a lesson based on their feelings and personal experiences. Few teachers will refuse students with self-insight who wish to complete work.

While linguistics and mathematics are important learning styles, so are the other learning styles. With self-reflection, students can resolve to prepare themselves to learn in their own way and embrace the literacy skills they need to know in order to function successfully in this world.

Self-Learning of Alignment Goals 

Even though some students may not realize the importance of studying curriculum objectives, students should nevertheless continue the necessity of school learning that are aligned with state standards, as this idea extends the opportunity for students to keep within the pace of other students choosing to attend universities that indeed require ACT or SAT scores. Additionally, students may encounter competition with their contemporaries in the real world by needing to demonstrate intellectual concepts and obligatory skills that they should have learned early in school.

Not taking standardized tests should be viewed only as a relief for reducing test anxiety and not as an attitude “I don’t need to take the test. . .”  A school has a purpose, and that purpose is to teach students the required skills that they must know and to apply their learning by encountering unavoidable test constructions; therefore, students should continue to study the curriculum that are aligned with state standards in lieu of their taking the ACT or SAT.

Self-Studying of Learning Strategies

Of course, students need to study the periodic table, important events in history, and basic functions of math. Likewise, students need to understand how to acquire information without expecting teachers to instruct lessons on a continuous basis. Students may employ life-learning strategies to appreciate their independence for learning.

Three helpful learning strategies for students to employ for study-helpfulness are SQ3R, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Universal Intellectual Standards:

Francis Robinson, in his papers “Effective Study” (1946), introduced SQ3R, a method that consists of survey, question, read, recite, and review. This study method may be applied to school, work, and life.

Encountering any lesson or event for the first time, the smartest thing students can do is to survey. . . They should look over lessons, events, duties, [persons] to fully understand the ideas that are evident. By surveying the lessons first, students will understand the overall impression of how lessons are structured and how lessons should be approached before proceeding.

The next idea is for students to ask questions of the lesson: What do I need to understand? Where may I find answers? How should I approach this lesson for mastery? Any question asked of a lesson will help students elicit a direction in which they should proceed.

Next—Read: students should Read straight through the text with interval breaks. If dealing with a person, students should listen to him or her speak. This method is similar to reading a book: Learners are actually listening while reading.

While aiming to understand a topic may not come readily for some students, students will nevertheless understand lessons better when they apply the next step of reciting, for reciting is the time to say out loud what is important to be annotated or to be highlighted. This method of reciting will save time for students. They do not need to read the same lesson again; they only need to recite the parts they annotated as significant.

Lastly, Review: Learners should review the importance that are outlined or highlighted. If necessary, they should reread the portions of the book or they should ask more in-depth questions about the topic in order to prompt their own attention for further understanding.

The method SQ3R has been a major help cited by many scholars that have tested it overtime; similarly, Bloom’s Taxonomy, an advanced method of learning, is equally effective.

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom and his associates published a framework for delineating educational goals, which include the lowest level, knowledge, the next lowest level, comprehension, and the average level application, and the critical level analysis, and the creative level synthesis, and, lastly, the highest-level evaluation.

Bloom’s Taxonomy allows students to repeat learning six different times and six different ways with each taxonomy presenting a higher level of thought. Because of the rigor of learning at high levels, students will recognize that Bloom’s method of learning helps facilitate the repeated rote method of 23 times for understanding concepts that researchers have long espoused. Bloom’s Taxonomy has facilitated student-learning for decades and is widely used in schools in America.

The other learning strategy, Universal Intellectual Standards, which include a learning process for students to master ‘excellence’ when they are completing projects, are ordered as clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, logic, significance, and fairness.

[To read in detail information about Universal Intellectual Standards, please Google its concept in order to appreciate its novelty and importance to education. The scope of this strategy is beyond the space-limit of this article.]

Students will be able to enhance their lives by employing the strategies of SQ3R, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Universal Intellectual Standards. While many other useful learning strategies are available, the ones mentioned herein are test proven strategies that can be used independently. The strategies are study-effective and are helpful for both personal and professional purposes.

Self-Studying of Leadership

A healthy mindset is for students to learn important lessons in life and to give their very best at nearly everything they aspire to accomplish in life. Thus, to be of a sound mind, students must maintain a healthy self-esteem and possess a good dose of self-confidence. One reason many students rarely fulfill their potential, according to science research, is that they lack fortitude about themselves. Luckily, self-esteem and self-confidence can be enhanced through leadership awareness.

A few helpful books to read and Cd’s to listen to may be obtained. Access any self-help book by, for examples, Myles Monroe, Michelle Obama, Stephen Covey, and many other notable, self-expert persons. Their inspiring words will help learners boost their self-awareness. Indeed, students will fare better in life if they take the driver’s seat in directing their studying habits. They may use self-study techniques as a road map to help facilitate their journey.


  1. Study to learn, not only to pass, ACT or SAT.
  2. Apply SQ3R to every part of life.
  3. Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to demonstrate high-levels of reasoning.
  4. Use Universal Intellectual Standards to measure excellence.
  5. Look to leadership to enhance self-esteem and confidence.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed. D (2020)

Doctor of Curriculum and Instruction

Presenter of Professional Development

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How to Motivate Students to Think Critically with Ideas from Piaget and Vygotsky

How to Motivate Students to Think Critically with Piaget and Vygotsky:  Ask Doc

“Learning is more than the acquisition of the ability to think; it is the acquisition of many specialized abilities for thinking about a variety of things.”—Lev Vygotsky

“Education, for most people, means tying to lead the child to resemble the typical adult of his society, but for me, education means making creators. You have to make inventors, innovators, not conformists”—Jean Piaget

“Hey, Doc! How are you?”

“Oh, hello, Karla. I am well. You?”

“On break—I have 10 minutes. May I ask you a few questions about cognitive development?”

“Cognitive development? Sure! What’s on your mind?”

“As you know I have usually taught eleventh grade students. Some of the eleventh graders are capable of responding to abstract concepts. Many are not. This year I am teaching ninth grade students; I teach critical thinking, individualized presentations, assignment discovery; yet, it appears that most students struggle with many lessons that I deem easy. . .  Is there a type learning theory about education that you may share with me?”

“Well, Jean Piaget comes to mind. He argues that cognitive development in adolescence brings about changes that allow a transition from childhood to adult, and that children gain skills to think in abstractions and hypotheticals. Therefore, according to Piaget, you may infer that some ninth-grade students are cognitively ready to participate in conceptual learning.” thumbnail_IMG_2575

“Good! This realization explains reasons some students perform well with high levels of thinking and some do not.”

“Absolutely. Piaget believes children learn in stages at different ages, and in the operational stage, twelve years until adult, they have the capability of engaging in higher order thinking skills (HOTS).”

“How do you teach each of your students at high levels? Should you, in fact, teach every child, regardless of age, abstract thinking?”

“Again, Piaget reveals children learn in stages and some may not be ready to think abstractly if they are not of age. Since you teach ninth grade students, they should be ready for critical thinking because they fall in the category of operational stage. Because critical thinking may be a new concept to ninth graders, as teacher, you might need to repeat the lessons in different instructional settings until students understand.”

“Okay. I will do that. I believe strongly that ninth grade students should be ready for conceptual learning. . .I will continue—“

“Well, wait, not all cognitive psychologists agree with Piaget regarding students learning in stages. One noted opponent is Lev Vygotsky. He argues that children are capable of learning faster by having a mentor or a parent to motivate or push them into new challenges. Vygotsky idea, ‘Zone of Proximal,’ explains that the child is almost there in his learning yet needs a push.” This development may transpire at a young age, not necessarily during the operational stage as Piaget posits.”

“Is it okay to support both theories?”

“I certainly believe so. Both theories are plausible being that every student is a different learner—some more advanced than others.”

“I feel confident in knowing that children grow in stages, knowing their minds develop as they mature; however, I also believe it is highly likely that children learn faster when they have the inspiration and the guidelines for learning, especially when instructed by a learned person.”

“I have heard of Jean Piaget but not heard of Vygotsky.”

“Yes, Vygotsky was born in Russia in 1896 and died when only thirty-seven years old. His theory of cognitive development never reached the prominence of Piaget. Ironically, though, since his death, his work continues to come forth. Whose theory do you believe—Piaget or Vygotsky?”

“I cannot say for sure. . . I hope to read about these two psychologists and their theories about learning; yet Piaget seems to make sense to me: rethinking learning based on stages. . . it is true that people crawl before they walk—babble before they talk— and it is sensible that people, including infants, learn faster when they are aided by parents, such as a dad or mom cuddling their infant, “Say Da-Da” “Say Ma-Ma”: The infant tries to echo the sound “Da-Da /Ma-Ma.” Therefore, to me, Vygotsky makes sense, too. . . In light of what I have learned today, I will continue to teach my ninth-grade students higher order thinking skills, and I will use your suggestions to reteach concepts in different ways.”

“Good” (smile).


Gotta go! Thank you, Doc”—

You are welcome, Karla.”

Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking:

  1. Present a list of vocabulary that relates to thinking Examples: Inductive, deductive, metacognition, conceptual, abstract, thought.
  2. Explain to students the idea of critical thinking.
  3. Present analogies and examples to support critical thinking.
  4. Allow students to research critical thinking to share with class what they have learned.
  5. Allow students to work with a partner to discuss critical thinking.
  6. Ask students to explain the extent they are ready to learn on higher levels. 
  7. Assign students to discover animated images of critical thinking.
  8. Assign homework for students to research 1-2-page article about critical thinking, and ask them to comment on their research. 
  9. Continue instructing assignments that allow students to explore thinking concepts.
  10. Praise students for their learning.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)

Doctor of Curriculum and Instruction

Presenter of Professional Development





How to Motivate Leaders to be Great


How to Motivate Leaders to be Great

“Hi, Doc!”

“Oh, hello, Samuel.”

“Have you met our new school leader?”

“No, not as of yet: I am hoping he will make rounds to personally introduce himself to his staff before the common staff meeting. . ..”

“Yeah. That would be nice. I doubt it, though. Who does that these days?”

“A great man (or lady), that’s who. A great leader knows to checkout staff prior to making his or her formal introduction to the crowd.”


“Yes! Have you not heard of the “Great Man Theory”? The theory postulates a great leader is born to lead. She or he possesses the innate characteristics, you know–confidence, intelligence, charisma, and social skills to influence people. . .” (“Verywell Mind”).

“I do understand that “social skills” is important in leading people. . . A leader must be able to connect with many types of personalities, right?”

“Indeed. Also, “The Great Man Theory” posits that these leaders are sort of mythical characters–heroic, and destined to rise to leadership. . . (continued)

. . . I think of Alexander the Great as a great man: Do you remember learning about him during past studies? . . . Alexander was a remarkable man. Consider: He was vying to become king, Alexander had to critically think about how to untie the Gordian knot, which was an intricate boulder-like knot, twisted in braids, piled high and wide. . .(continued)

. . . Seeing that he could not possibly untie the knot with his bare hands, Alexander, with one swift blow of his sword, split the knot into rubbles. He unraveled the Gordian Knot, and spectators hailed him as a man with unique ideas, someone who would bring about change in his own way. The other wannabe leaders tried to untie the knot with their raw, strong, bare hands, to no avail, of course!” (Doc and Samuel laughed.) . . .

. . . Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is another example of a Great Man and was destined to rule, and he was a mythical being in the sense that he placed his life on the line—some Historians say— “purposely”— He ventured to change the world for civil rights, and he did. . . (continued)

. . . In his famous speech “I Have A Dream” and in his historical “Letter to a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King eloquently brought to life the gruesome wrongs planted on Blacks and directed change among the most rigid, immovable individuals in the world. Indeed, King and Alexander, respectively, are prime examples of “A Great Man.” . . . (continued)

. . . A Great Leader must be capable of making change in effective ways. He must be willing to illustrate that he makes policies for the good of his people, effortlessly. A great leader expects his followers to be loyal, and he in return would be their protector, as any great man would protect his family.”

“Well, from our school leader’s stoic appearance—true, I have not met him, yet, I saw him from afar—I could sense by the gait of his stride that he will be different, for he possesses a halo-like being.”

“The Great Man Theory supports a natural mien. You either got it or you don’t: In other words, if you are a great leader, Step-up to the platform. Stand straight. Position your words. Speak loudly. Set vision. Dare deniers. That’s a Great Man respected.

“Sounds a bit autocratic to me.”

“In a sense, yes. However, in a crisis, for instance, a great leader must be able to act expeditiously yet sometimes boldly when necessary, and sometimes a great leader must make examples out of other people for the sake of order among all: In this sense, yes, a great leader can be autocratic. . . (continued).

. . . Yet, embedded in his or her soul, the great leader possesses other leadership traits, too, that can often soften blows—SituationalTransformational, Behavioral, for examples. . . (continued).

. . . Ah, time is getting away. . . I must explain these other theories another time.”

“Of course, Doc. I look forward to it. I appreciate talking leadership ideas with you.” (Doc smiles.)

“In the meantime, Samuel, if you, yourself, wish to become a Great Leader, remember the following leadership strategies for a Great Man–or Lady:

(1) Listen to the inside voice that says, “Lead.” (Intuition)

(2) Know yourself. (Art of War)

(3) Look the part. (Mathews)

(4) Know your people’s strengths and weaknesses, and use their strengths. (Maxwell)

(5) Be vigilant to discern events in your house. (Leadership Literature)

(6) Listen. Yet make your own decisions. (Art of War)

(7) Reward publicly. People appreciate recognition. Sometimes, nevertheless, reprimand publicly. People fall in line when blasted people do not. (Art of War)

(8) Be compassionate. Be Harsh. Apply whatever the situation calls to settle the matter. (Art of War)

(9) Remember, in leadership, “It is better to be feared than to be loved.” (Machiavelli)

(10) Be A Great Man—or Lady. (“Great Man Theory”)

Cynthia Mathews (2020)



How to Use a Rubric to Facilitate Learning

FC204443-B84B-4A66-88D9-D6350B8F2D39-23630-000003ED839C8D75How to use a Rubric to Facilitate Student Learning

Teachers must provide a way for students to select their own grades. Often towards end of a grading period students would ask for bonus points or extra assignments to complete to increase their grade average. Some teachers may feel annoyed with this question yet often succumb to compiling and generating extra work for the student, extending bonus points; this practice is common.

A better way to help students be successful completing assignments is to distribute a rubric, which provides a guideline for students to follow and to helps students (and teacher) illustrate understanding of work while striving for grade they have attempted to earn.

Students can decide the grade they desire by selecting criteria delineated under grading section listed on the rubric: Students may also judge their own work and accept responsibility for the grades they earn.

Moreover, rubrics help teachers to easily discern what a student understands, and even if teachers use the holistic method of grading—glancing for key measures—teachers would nevertheless be able to glance the rubric to determine if assignment meets expectations. 

Rubrics should be kept simple. A grading choice of A, B, or C should be appropriate; grades D and F should not be included in the rubric if teachers wish to keep students interested in completing lessons.

The idea is to motivate students to complete the assignment. Seeing A or B or C as a choice stirs students into action, even the disinterested student will make a choice from the rubric because the task appears “doable.” However, depending on the learning objective graded, rubrics can become complicated to endure. A writing challenge is such a case.

Yet, teachers should cleverly decide what advanced writing element—punctuation or sentence structure or organization, for examples—is important for assessment, and place that element as criterion under the rubric-grade section for A.

A key point to consider is to place the rubric directly at the beginning of a teacher-made assignment to ensure students review rubric first before proceeding with the learning task.

Research is plentiful on the topic of rubrics. Interested teachers should read further on the topic if they wish to be detailed and meticulous in grading (see rubric source below).

Yet, a simple grading scale of A, B, or C of what and how to complete an assignment to earn a chosen grade will be sufficient and should help eradicate the unnerving student question, “May I earn bonus points?”

Motivating students to take responsibility for their own learning and helping them determine the grade they wish to earn help students understand that making A’s usually derives from effort and understanding of a learning objective. Students should understand that asking for bonus points can be avoided if they follow a rubric of how to make an A.

To summarize—

  1. Create simple rubrics for grades A. B, or C.
  2. Avoid giving a grade D or F to help encourage students to persevere in learning.
  3. Place rubric directly on each assignment so that students may easily refer to it.
  4. Read about rubrics and how to design them to understand the importance they bring to learning.
  5. Teach students to be responsible for the grades they earn.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed. D (2020)


“How to Create and use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading,” by Susan Brookhart (A very helpful book 






How to Inspire Students to Respect Authority

How to Inspire Students to Respect Authority


Now that school is officially over for academic year 2019-2020, time is of essence that teachers begin planning for the next school year.

While the most important entity on the agenda should be student and staff safety, especially in light of Coronavirus outbreak, the trust is there, according to school research, that most teachers and administrators look out for themselves and for their students’ safety.

According to research, most school policies throughout the United States center on student safety, and since the Coronavirus outbreak, measures to combat the virus—wearing masks, applying hand-sanitizer, maintaining social distancing are in place to keep everyone safe as much as possible. Teachers are also directed to keep themselves and students updated about the virus so that they make wise decisions regarding it. School personnel encourages staff and students to take their health seriously. Being healthy keeps students engaged and nearly trouble-free; good health also energizes teachers to t-e-a-c-h and worry less about potential student problems.

The next immediate importance should be guiding students to behave according to school authority so that students exhibit the appropriate mindset to learn. Setting classroom rules and reviewing rules and enforcing rules are monumentally important if teachers are to maintain a conducive learning environment; rules must be recognized and enforced to gain authority and students’ respect.

Students must realize that they are subordinates to teachers–in age and in status–and that they should respect the hierarchy of the human-chain-of-command: Parent, Elderly, Teacher, Preacher, Mentor, and Peer. However, in many schools, speaking and behaving respectfully toward authority is not always an awareness that many students honor; therefore, delivering lessons on respecttactpoliteness, and empathy must be taught directly—

Moral lessons must be ongoing, intertwined with curriculum policies to ensure students understand how to interact appropriately when dealing with teachers and higher authority. Teachers must enforce these policies and place themselves as adults accountable for their classroom and student management.

To facilitate student management, teachers must begin with professionalizing themselves. They may embrace this responsibility by looking the part of a teacher that students desire to receive instruction from. Teachers must be comely in appearance. Their dress should be casual-professional; they should wear coat and tie and dress and blazer, and rarely should teachers wear jeans while teaching: the look is too casual and refutes the reason for maintaining an authoritarian appearance. (See research on teacher dress below.) Professional dress is critical when teaching students who need continual control.

Additionally, teachers’ shoes should be less than three inches high, closed-toe. Sandals, tennis shoes, and flip flops should be avoided. Students need to concentrate on learning and not marvel or giggle over the look of teachers’ toes. Closed-in shoes will solve this problem. Overall, when teachers look attractive and well-kept, they arouse the attention of their students, keeping students alert and learning and aware that a professional teacher is standing in front of them.

Teachers must also professionalize their classrooms. A classroom decorated with clear rules and learning posters hanging where they are clearly seen are important. Poster rules should hang on walls in front, in back, and on sides. Students will remember the rules the more they see the rules, and this suggestion is especially important if students work in groups or move about while completing lessons. Rules must always be visible. The font size of the rules–24–is a good size for students to see easily.

A section to display students’ work is very important, so that all students can view the quality of assignments expected and appreciated, and if room is large enough for a ‘word wall,’ provide one. Lastly, create a wall-section for rewards—regularly identify your best students and place their names and classroom-rank there. Rewards are unspoken gems that can bring about students’ good behavior.

Now, the “brass task”: subject matter. Teach as if students do not already know the learning objectives. While data are important to determine students’ strengths and weaknesses, assume anyway that students do not know any of the objectives, and teach them the learning objectives–repeatedly–within the time span you have to teach them.

Data indeed are important in later grades—10th-12th, for students will take major assessments that will count toward their college life. Determining what students know by the 10th grade is better suited for analyzing data. Younger students in 9th and grades under rarely know many of the learning objectives. Therefore, save time, excuse disaggregating data (if permissible), and start teaching and documenting.

In essence, if teachers maintain a professional stance, if teachers instruct moral lessons, if teachers professionalize their classrooms, and if teachers teach learning objectives that students need to know, teachers will be far ahead in the school year without many discipline problems, for students will be on task learning.

Thus, be a pro—professional: it is the safest and best way to gain authority and to win respect of students. 

Cynthia Mathews, Ed. D.


The Effect of Teachers’ Dress on Students’ Attitude and Students’ Learning:

Higher Education View


How to Motivate Students to be Excellent

How to Motivate Students to be Excellent


Research shares human traits as (1) intuitive (2) self-centered (3) emotional (4) social (5) MOTIVATED and (6) hopeful. If humans have these traits in common, is it not logical to infer that many students may be capable of learning better in school if they focused more on their human traits rather than focused unknowingly on identified misconceptions about who they are and how they learn?

Student data claim many students are floundering in school, and many reasons abound; most specifically mentioned as culprits of the floundering are economics, deprivation, parentage, apathy, and ignorance.

However, is it possible that some students are capable of passing school tests yet lack only stimulation from their higher selves? In other words, is it possible that with a virtuous curriculum, instruction that recognizes human traits, that students’ interests in school would improve?

If students naturally embraced their innate abilities to learn, they would most likely accept the challenge to extend their best—academically and behaviorally. Long time studies posit that the brain underlies the mental capacity to learn, to create, to think, and to utter thoughts others have never considered. A person’s mind is all—By naturally learning and testing inwardly, research statistics would sing a different lyric and orchestrate a milder, instrumental tone when assessing students’ abilities to learn.

Therefore, instead of blaming, criticizing, stereotyping, and denying, begin instructing virtuous lessons that will remind students of their inner excellence and allow them to bring forth the excellence that lies within their souls. In this manner, students will use their human traits to reason, to solve problems, and to manifest an improved learning experience and embrace deserving school experiences that await them.

To ameliorate a school’s curriculum to better reach students, the strategies below will magnify how students may use their human traits to succeed academically in school:

(1) To gain students’ respect, prepare yourself as teacher to be a professional in dress, in subject content, and in classroom and student management (self-centered).

(2) To impress students, learn who students are—background. This way, you will have a better map to use to decide directions to instruct your students (social).

(3) To delight students, build a relationship with students based on trust and leadership, for it is “the way” (intuitive: social).

(4) To touch the students’ souls, introduce the Virtues—prudence, diligence, fortitude, humility, patience, and kindness, etc. Create virtues as instructional, daily assignments (intuitive).

(5) To prepare students for standardized tests, purposely teach them reading strategies, and teach overall learning strategies every-single-day (motivated).

(6) To appropriately recognize students, reward students for their class participation to help keep them motivated to learn (motivated).

(7) To validate students’ efforts, give them passing grades (self-centered).

(8) To nurture students as individuals, compliment their learning where appropriate, and reprove their mistakes privately with constructive ideas for them to improve (self-centered).

(9) To connect with students, remain in contact with their parents by delivering good news to their parents and by asking parents for support of their children (social).

10) Encourage students everyday—just because (emotional: motivated).

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D.





How to Promote Students to Learn McClelland’s Way

How to Motivate Students to Learn McClelland’s Way


Motivation tends to be that thingamajig that sparks action from people to conduct their will, and it does not appear to be a major consideration when asking people to do simple tasks, such as “sit up; complete your work.” Yet, motivation is the prime-key to eliciting the movement to sway individuals, and unless people are motivated in the manner that touches their inner core, motivation will remain inert.

Thus, what way is the best way to motivate learners?

According to McClelland’s Theory, three types of motivation describe the manner in which people should be influenced: Achievement, Affiliation, and Power.

McClelland postulates to keep achievers motivated, achievers must be placed in positions of meeting goals to measure as their accomplishments. Achievers’ feats must be challenging; feats must be encountered through conundrums that the average person would find difficult but the consummate achiever would find easy.

In a classroom setting, for example, students should be identified as achievers if they readily raise their hands to participate . . . if they gleam over making A’s on assignments and if they select the most intricate of all alternate projects. Achievers, McClelland asserts, enjoy working alone or with other people who are similar as they are in meeting challenges and in accomplishing goals.

To maintain levels as achievers, students appreciate teachers who provide immediate feedback on their assignments: Achievers wish to know what they are doing in a most excellent manner and what they may do in a more excellent manner.

Self-Question: Are student achievers the reason teachers desire to teach?

McClelland describes Affiliation as an entity that describes individuals that are motivated by working in groups. At the very least students of affiliation must work with a partner. In a school setting, if forced to work alone, students of affiliation will withdraw themselves from learning or submit class assignments with an “incomplete” stamp on their returned papers. Moreover, affiliation-types do not work well under pressure, preferring to understand precisely what to do without much creativity involved. Making A’s is not a primary goal of affiliation learners, yet making B’s is the least expected of themselves; lastly, students of affiliation do not desire attention among their peers; rather they appreciate privacy in the acknowledgement of their work.

Self-Question: Do teachers prefer dealing with students of affiliation than they prefer dealing with students of achievement, and why?

McClelland completes his theory of motivation by including “power” as a factor of recognizing students’ preferences of learning. In a school setting, McClelland claims students with a high need for power work best when they are in charge. They are cubs to the autocratic cougar who excel in competition and in goal-oriented projects, and they perform tasks in “their own way.” Power seekers are effective in negotiations, and winning is usually in their favor.

As a teacher, rather than suppressing power-type learners simply because they appear smarter than [you] the teacher, encourage the power learners. If students are young in age (10-17), be direct with them; help students make clear career goals. Some power-oriented students must make all A’s or else– speaking lightly–your teaching certificate may be challenged. Remember, therefore, winning is about power, and these power type students usually win.

Self-Question: In what way is a power student a threat to a teacher? Or, is the power student indeed a threat?

Other research seemingly supports McClleland’s theory of motivation. Sirota’s Three-Factor Theory is one such support, who reveals that workers (let’s say students) need to stay motivated and excited about what they are learning. Sirota’s theory relates to equity and fairness and achievement and camaraderie. These factors are necessary for motivation to swell within learners. Sirota’s theory further suggests that people start new with much motivation to do well. However, over time, due to a number of school unpopular rules and challenges, many students lose motivation to learn.

Subtlety, in a contrary fashion, McClelland’s theory is different in that Sirota’s equity, fairness . . . camaraderie are meshed motivator factors that influence people. Rather motivation is one or the other—achievement or affiliation or power, argues McClleland. These are the alternates that complement personalities to spur people to action.

Self-Question: Is motivation based on culture and life experiences? If so, how does this possibility influence student learning?

As teacher, when deciding the best way to motivate students to learn, consider what research presents, yet use your own assessment of the situation–your own students. Be mindful that although many motivational theories suggest one style over the other, not every style will be the right style for every student.

Suggestions for motivating students to learn:

(1) Devise a personal questionnaire to determine students’ weaknesses and strengths, and ask about students’ likes and dislikes to incite their curiosity about learning.

(2) Monitor students’ behavior the first two-weeks of school to quickly discern their work ethic, and begin to interact with them accordingly.

(3) Allow students to work in groups and to work alone. Determine their preferences, and then allow their preferences.

(4) Where possible, allow students autonomy in completing class assignments to provide students with a sense of empowerment.

(5) Deliver feedback in two to three days— compliments first, improvements second.

(6) Reward good grades— A’s or B’s—on completion of any assignment to ensure students’ continuance and to protect their self-esteem.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed. D. 2020

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How to Self-Regulate Learning

How to Self-Regulate Learning


Hi, Susan.

Hello, Doc. Break time. (laughs)

No problem. Have a seat. (smiles)

What are you doing?

Analyzing student data, seeing that the learning standards continue to hang below expectations, especially among the races. The margins are wide: Baffling–(continues)

Yes. fifty years of The Coleman Report (1950), the report to determine answers of the dichotomy in learning among the races. . . still no seminal research to express problems in layman’s terms; still no understanding of what seems to be the real problem . . . (continues)

Test issues are difficult to discuss openly and honestly. . . Too many controversial words about school-testing in the world; difficult to determine validity of test scores. . . I was studying standardized test scores among the races–Asians leading the way, then Caucasians, then Hispanics, and then African Americans. . .

Surely minority students understand the lessons; they receive the same instruction, given the same time for imbibing instruction as all other students; can’t be instruction, per se?

Partly, perhaps, but you are right; must be something else. . .I have been reading about self-regulation, how it can pertain to students, the process that students take control and evaluate their own learning . . .This discovery came while I was studying motivation, and I read that motivation and self-regulation are not the same although some elements are similar; self-regulation requires selections, strategies, goals to move toward a practice, whereas motivation is that entity that moves a person throughout the actual steps. . . .

Yes, I am familiar with self-regulation yet have rarely thought of it as a means for students. . . You might be on to something here, Doc; go ahead. Allow me to listen–

To be self-regulated–let’s say for students–Students must be observant, judgmental–especially of themselves–They must be able to think critically and figure problems on the spot. Think. Does this description represent all students? Minority students? Could it be possible that many students, perhaps a significant number of minority students, especially, might lack knowing about self-regulation?

Yes, Mmmm

Students that score well on standardized test are self-regulated, yes? I infer self- regulation is pervasive among most people in other countries, such as China, Japan, Korea, most advanced countries abroad– Data is out for the knowing–(continues)

Self-regulation might also be found among the majority students, especially those from affluent families who push and support their children to succeed. . ..

I am sure this type self-regulation can be found among minorities, too

Yes, yes, of course, but the quantity is the culprit here– Is it possible that many minorities are indeed knowledgeable about same lessons as their majority peers yet lack some other quality necessary, some quality that serves as an indicator for success on tests, yet they are not made aware . . .? (continues)

I mean, to be successful when taking standardized tests students must be self-regulated through diligence (work hard), fortitude (be brave to continue), patience (wait) and . . . and, I am wondering how many minorities understand the importance of theses virtues. . . to have been raised understanding the virtues, to have actually been taught how to apply the virtues, especially for test purposes; . . . I mean. . . these are virtues instilled in many other students who live abroad, and students of affluent families who live in America understand these virtues naturally, it appears, due to their home environments. . .. (continues)

. . . Not giving nor taking anything from people’s upbringing. I mean, who is really at fault for how life is distributed among people? . . .People do the best they can, yet, what if it is possible that minority students know the answers to many test questions yet lack the understanding of how to push themselves through the hours necessary to complete the tests? What if many minority students lack this type of self-regulation?

Students who lack self-regulation may abandon the test or bubble-in answers only to finish quickly, not knowing (or caring) that they may be hurting their chances for succeeding on the test? What if minority students demonstrate instead a little more diligence, a little more patience, a little more prudence while testing? Would not their test scores have a chance to rank approvingly among the others documented?

Soooo, you believe minority students have an equal opportunity as majority students to prove their understanding of lessons yet need awareness of virtues to help push themselves through the process?

Yes! Hypothetically, this scenario is the truth for all students–minority and majority–I am only now reading and thinking how students overall perform and behave in classrooms and am seeking answers for minorities trailing behind for so long their non-minority peers. . . Looking at the matter this way, the hypothesis of “lacking in self-regulation” is not farfetched. . . This realization could very well be the missing link to understanding the dramatic test-score gap among the races and nationalities–

Certainty, it seems correctable if it’s as simple as that– yet, empirical research, Doc?

For now, common sense–(continues)

. . .. because many minority students may not maintain self-regulation . . . They may not have been exposed nor have been taught how to manage themselves while learning and while testing. . . They may not have realized that an added push was [is] necessary to succeed . . .


Ooppps, there is the bell. . . Let’s continue this discussion, Doc: Self-regulation may be the key to this nearly century old problem, and certainly it is worth researching and testing further–See ya later-– (Susan exits).

Tips to enhance test scores for minorities:

(1) Look at test scores differently: Ask this question: “What if. . .?”

(2) Teach learning objectives in spaced intervals: one time, two times, three times, etc. throughout the year.

(3) Teach the virtues–prudence, fortitude, diligence, patience so students will know to use the virtues to extend their best.

(4) Practice, role play how to take tests.

(5) Review data often to monitor the closing of the gaps in tests.

“All students can learn but not every student can test; students must be taught.”–Doc

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)

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How to Motivate Staff through Performance Observation

How to Motivate Staff through Performance Observation

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Students putting their heads on desks is a sign that classroom and student management by the teacher needs to be addressed. “You cannot coerce a child to sit-up and work,” some may argue. If this scenario is the case, certainly something else more motivating for the students to persevere in completing class assignments should be introduced. “The Hawthorne Effect,” the alteration of behavior by the subjects . . . due to their awareness of being observed, lends support to classroom and student management.

Research shares teachers’ complaints that their students will drift into idleness if teachers are not watching the students while they work. “Some apathetic students will venture to fall asleep,” teachers lament, producing sounds of snoring with the entire class giggling when I voice “sit-up!”

Usually teachers do not concern themselves with students drifting into never-never land the first few days of school, a sign that students are giving the teacher time to prove his or her worthiness of teaching. Students will notice the extent they are being watched and will calculate the number of times they can swindle their way into inattentiveness.

Applying the tenets of the Hawthorne Effect, introduced decades hence, postulates individuals will perform better if they believe they are being watched. The Hawthorne Effect can facilitate classroom instruction if teachers adopt a strategy of withitness in the classroom. Simply walking the room, being in the moment, and allowing students autonomy would be enough initially to engage the students.

Walking the room adds proximity to classroom management, allowing the teacher the opportunity to spot engagement in instruction, extending immediate feedback of direction or compliment: “Sara, you have placed a comma where a semicolon belongs,” or “Good job, Sara, with your incorporation of the semicolon.” Savvy teachers can keep themselves moving around, looking left and right, turning forwards and backwards without displaying any movement of awkwardness.

Other students will notice that the teacher is watching students complete their class work and will be motivated to carry on to keep from being singled out. Being in the moment while students work enhances the Hawthorne Effect in motivating students to perform.

Some teachers may counter that inevitably there will be students who will not work regardless of the teacher working the room, being in the moment. If this scenario is a problem, the teacher may extend autonomy to the students to complete the assignment in his or her own way.

Autonomous learning is extremely instrumental in motivating students to work because students can create lessons in ways they understand. Autonomous learning could also be helpful to teachers, relieving some of the monotonous grading that comes with same styles of work presented by students.

Watching students manage their behavior and providing immediate feedback may reinforce continuance in students remaining on task. The Hawthorne Effect brings with it many opportunities for teachers to add feedback based on their observations, including vis a vis facial expression, commenting on assignments, providing a private discourse.

In essence, teachers may control classroom management by observing their students and by affording students the opportunity to complete assignments in their own way. Many motivational theories exist that can aid classroom instruction, and the ideas behind the Hawthorne Effect is one of those theories that work.

Below are ideas to help teachers manage their classroom and student behavior:

(1) Set rules up front so that students will know what to expect.

(2) Alert students that they will be monitored for completing assignments.

(3) Support the idea of autonomous learning where possible.

(4) Walk isles, stopping to share immediate feedback.

(5) Present immediate grades (next day if possible).

(6) Record passing grade on assignments submitted so students know their efforts will be appreciated.

7) Provide praise to individual students in front of their peers and simultaneously encourage other students to do their best.

(8) Ask students to sit-up where appropriate and steer them back on task.

(9) Speak with students privately about off task behavior, and contact their parents forthwith to ask for their support.

(10) Google The Hawthorne Effect to determine other avenues about if that may aid classroom and student management instruction.

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)

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