Strategy #10: Specify and Magnify

Specify and Magnify

This is strategy #10 from Dr Lee’s book, ‘Internal Drive Theory’. If you have not read the previous strategies, click here to start!

This method looks for the positive behaviors and points it out. Amplifying it. This increases the child/student’s motivation level. 

The challenges for this method:

  1. Lack of patience. It requires patience to actually look for the good in the child/student.
  2. Tendency to judge the wrong instead of waiting and appreciating the right.
  3. What to magnify. For academic studies, we can focus on the wrong things. Which might at best waste their time. At worst, it may cause them to lose marks.
  4. When this method is taken to the extreme. E.g. you appreciate them doing their work, then all they do is work and forsake play.

At JC level, it’s not so easy to pick out good in the student when you only spend about two hours with them every week. Humans have a tendency to notice what’s wrong instead of what’s right, teachers included. Sometimes teachers can misinterpret or over-compensate for comments made in the A level Chemistry markers’ report. For example, students putting the wrong dipole moment for hydrogen bonding diagram. Teachers end up getting them to put dipole moment for every atom to prevent them from putting it on the wrong pair of atoms. 

How to make use of this method:

  • Find out what is good. For example, what are the marking points
  • Be observant to pick out positive behaviors
  • Be patient. Wait for the opportune time
  • Make sure the emotional connection is strong
  • Provide a positive model, i.e. you model the behavior
  • Ignore the negative. For the moment.

That’s it for strategy #10. Go to the last strategy!

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