Maggie, 10 years old, plays with the large bubble rings in the bubble room.
Here is where I wanted to start the conversation on Motivation and how it effected the children learning at Boston Children's Museum.
Often we would see a child completely immersed in their self-directed learning. They woul be picking items up, pretending and involved in an activity. Parents, in this situation, seemed to be oblivious to the fact that their child was getting exactly what they were supposed to be getting out of visiting a children's museum- a great hands-on learning experience. They instead would pull their child away from the self-directed learning situation to snap a "cute" picture. They would say, "play here, do this, smile, look at the camera, 'show me what I think is you learning while I pulled you away from what interests you'" This in turn would be such the opposite of motivating and the child wouldn't be interested in either activity (the one with self-directed learning or the picture op activity) anymore. The reason I chose to write on this picture about motivation and parents de-motivating their children through picture opportunities is because this very picture would be very unsatisfying- so it seems- to the typical mom or caregiver at the museum. They would tend to take the child's attention off of the activity in order to get a smile to show the fun they are having. (And I clearly let Maggie continue to learn on her own as proof through this picture.) Moral of the story is that posing for good pictures is not motivating children to be interested in an adult-chosen activity but rather de-motivating them to participate at all.
See more pictures of the Bubble Room here: