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Discussion: Motivation through Effective Instruction As I continue to prepare my portfolio for my Masters program, I find myself in a continuous process

of self-reflection in which I assess how much I have grown personally and professionally throughout the last two years. Part of my growth stems from the challenging learning experiences that instructors have implemented in their courses; the other part involves my motivation and self-determination to achieve a goal that I never thought I would have been able to attain: earning a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology in a foreign country. Like many other self-regulated individuals, I try to find value in every learning opportunity that is given to me. From a personal standpoint finding value is what triggers my desire to learn. During the spring and summer semester of 2013, I took two classes that triggered my curiosity by allowing me to apply theories into practice. One of these classes was the Psychology of Learning led by Dr. Vaneman. Dr. Vaneman designed different assignments for every lesson being taught. Believe or not, this variety allowed me and my classmates to persist and complete the class despite the large amount of material that was covered. At times, I felt overwhelmed as I was investigating multiple learning theories that can be used to explain how humans further their cognitive abilities. During the first week of class, Dr. Vaneman posited some questions that allowed us to define, in our own words, the understanding we had about learning and the different variables that affect this process. Most of our responses were vague in content and lacked depth. In assisting us to develop our cognitive skills, Dr. Vaneman allowed her students to be the leaders of the discussion forums. Each week, different students were required to select a topic related to a learning theory and post two questions for the rest of the students to engage in a meaningful conversation. Most of the students enrolled in the class were either classroom facilitators or counselors which enhanced our interactions even more. This

exchange of information and practices motivated me to use different teaching strategies in my class and to design performance objectives of relevance for my students. As the semester was ending, I started to notice that my understanding of the learning theories, and the processes related to each one of them, was different from what I originally had stated in my discussion for the first week of class. To see this evolution, and how well grounded I was becoming in this particular area of psychology, motivated me to not only complete the minimum requirements to earn a passing grade in the class, but to take my learning and apply it to my practices as a counselor and classroom facilitator. It was in this class that I first learned how to create an effective concept map, evaluate the learning process of other individuals, and develop lesson plans that take into account diverse learners. During the summer semester, I took Developing Resources to Support Education with Dr. Stacey Bridges. The main goal of this class was to prepare students to become effective grant writers. Dr. Bridges strived to create a psychologically secure environment in which every student felt valued and appreciated. Despite our unfamiliarity with the grant-writing process, Dr. Bridges never belittled us for our mistakes. Instead, she viewed our mistakes as stepping stones for achieving higher learning. Dr. Bridges motivated me to use my current practices as an academic counselor to prepare a proposal for a life coaching program for students with disabilities. Every week Dr. Bridges would meet with me via Skype to ensure that I understood the complex methodology behind the grant writing process. After the first half of the semester, Dr. Bridges prompted me to become a self-regulated individual that only required minimal coaching with feedback. As I was developing my proposal, I started to talk to different colleagues at Tulsa Community College (TCC) about the benefits of implementing such a program at the community college level. The Associate Vice President for Student Affairs was

very receptive of the idea to the point that she encouraged me to submit the proposal to the TCC Foundation to get it funded. This opportunity has motivated me to continue to find opportunities to enrich the educational experiences of those that navigate the world of post-secondary education. As it is evident, Dr. Vaneman and Dr. Bridges have had a positive impact on my learning experiences throughout my Masters program by allowing me to better understand my practices as a classroom facilitator and instructor. Both instructors have served as a catalyst for me to find value in the Theory of Change as I promote healthy human development in the community I serve.

Miguel Llovera Da Corte