An internal state that arouses, directs, and maintains behavior.
Five areas of motivation
How do these five areas relate to your motivation to learn Educational Psychology?
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation: motivation associated with activities that are their own reward.
Extrinsic motivation: motivation created by external factors, such as rewards and
Intrinsic: I want to learn.
Mnemonic: Intrinsic—comes from the
inside of me, “internal.” Extrinsic comes
from the outside, like “external.”
Extrinsic: You must learn.
Locus of causality
The location—internal or external—of the
cause of behavior.
Locus of causality
made the test too
wouldn’t let me
I should have
studied harder. I
made a bad choice
going to that party
Which one has an internal locus of causality? Which one is external?
Other views of locus of causality
fun and it’ll
help me get
Locus of causality is a continuum.
Locus of causality is NOT a
To understand this argument, you need to
understand approach/avoidance. We tend
to have two reactions to something—we
tend to approach it or we tend to avoid it.
Actually, we may have a combination of
approach and avoidance feelings, as the
following diagram will show.
Locus of causality is NOT a
who are trying for
success but also trying
to avoid failure.
people whose main
motivation is to avoid
students: people who
are trying for success
and not worried about
Failure accepters: people who
have given up on anything to do
with success and are not even
trying to avoid failure.
Covington and Mueller (2001). Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic
Motivation: an Approach/Avoidance Reformulation.
Educational Psychology Review, v. 13, n. 2, 158-176.
This is a more complex formulation of
motivation. It has profound implications
for the classroom—if you have failure
accepters among your students, you will
need to work with them differently from,
say, the overstrivers.
Approaches to motivation
Cognitive and Social Cognitive
Expectancy x value
an attractive object or event
supplied as a consequence of a behavior.
Incentive: an object or event that
encourages or discourages behavior.
If the reward is not
behavior will not
Therefore: use only for things that students don’t like. Be sure to include quality of
work, not just participation. Use rewards to let students know they are getting better at
Humanistic Views of Motivation
Humanistic interpretation: approach to
motivation that emphasizes personal freedom,
choice, self-determination, and striving for
Humanistic psychology—views motivation as
people’s attempts to fulfill their total potential as
human beings. This psychology deals with the
whole person. If you want to motivate someone
in this way, encourage inner resources—selfesteem, competence, etc.
Chief theorists: Rogers, Maslow
believing in the inherent
worth of a person—
every person has
something of value
inside just because he
or she is a human
Can you think of examples of teachers in your
experience who have done these things? How
about teachers who haven’t? How did those
Creating an emotionally safe
climate in the classroom:
•Treat students as people first
and students second
•Provide students with
unconditional positive regard by
separating behavior from
•Create safe and orderly
classrooms where students
believe they can learn and
where they are expected to do
experiences from the students’
point of view.
Self-actualization: fulfilling one’s potential
Humanistic views of motivation
Hierarchy of needs:
Maslow’s model of 7 levels
of human needs, from
requirements to the need
Maslow’s 4 lower-level
needs, which must be
Maslow’s 3 higherlevel needs,
Bottom line: hungry kids cannot learn very well. Feed them.
Also, kids need achievement, beauty, and the chance to learn to
be themselves, not just an endless drill for the Proficiency test.
Cognitive Theories of Motivation
Based on Piaget’s theory (equilibrium,
We all have a need to understand our world.
When something occurs that we don’t
understand, we are motivated to try to figure it
This is why people work at puzzles, video
Five cognitive theories: expectancy x value
theory, self-efficacy theory, goal theory,
attribution theory, self-determination theory
Expectancy x value theory
How you expect to do at the
task: success or failure
“I expect to be able to pass the
The value of that success to you
“Passing the Praxis II will make me feel
proud and will help me to take the next
step in my professional career.”
Therefore, I am motivated to study the material for that test.
If either term is zero, then motivation is zero because anything times zero is zero.
Expectancy for success
•I don’t know how to do this.
•Last year I failed this subject.
•I hate trying to do something that
will take a long time.
•I’m not a very good learner.
•No one is going to help me with
•There are more important things
•This looks hard, but I have done hard
•I have done well in this subject before.
•If I do a little at a time, I know I can do
•I do pretty well in school. I like learning.
•If I have trouble, I know my parents will
explain this to me.
•School is important to me and my family.
Which schema will lead to a student being motivated to try a new task?
What are your schemas about yourself as a learner?
Expectancy for success: depends on how difficult the
task seems and your schemas about yourself as a
Factors influencing task value
This topic relates to
things I care about. I
can’t wait to learn
more about it.
It’s important for
me to stay in
shape so I can be
healthy for a long
People can have
different reasons for
something to be
It’s important for
me to stay in
shape so I can
effectively in my
I can see that this
class is going to
help me achieve
my goal of being a
This class is
going to take a lot
of time, but I think
I can do it. I’ve
never made a
but I guess I can
of engaging in a
I’m not sure I
have the time to
put into studying
for this class.
Besides, I hate
I think I’ll drop
this class. It’s too
Cost: an example
Very often as teachers we set up barriers to learning that increase cost. I
learned about removing barriers at vacation Bible school this summer.
Cost, an example
Each night there was a Bible verse to
learn and there was a central Bible verse
that was connected to the whole theme.
For each Bible verse memorized, a child
would receive a small prize. If the child
memorized all six verses, he/she would
get a large prize.
Cost, an example
This year, the vast majority of children chose to
memorize verses. What contributed to that?
I spent part of my music teaching time teaching
the verses. We chanted them over and over
again and we broke them down, learning them
phrase by phrase.
As soon as a child had a verse memorized, I
sent him/her to the VBS director to recite the
verse and receive the prize.
Cost, an example
What worked? Why did the kids get so enthusiastic
First, students were given time within the classes to learn
their verses. It wasn’t homework and yet many of the
children then opted to practice at home on top of what
we did in the class.
Secondly, I modeled over and over again how to break
down the verse and learn it a little at a time. As the fast
learners got the verse, they left the room to go recite.
That gave me a chance to work even more with the
students who needed extra help.
There was immediate reinforcement—students could go
at any time to recite and get their prizes.
Cost, an example
Almost all students succeeded, across grades 17. The fast learners got what they needed. The
slow learners got what they needed. The
success spawned a desire for more success.
I learned that it is really worth using class time
on the things you want students to learn and do.
I learned that when I remove barriers
(homework, an overwhelming task), even
students who clearly have a history of learning
struggles are able to succeed.
I love to dance.
how good it felt
the first time I
Affective memory: past
related to a topic or
memory contributes to
cost: bad memories
increase cost and good
How can we as teachers help students to have good memories of their
learning with us?
Sociocultural conceptions of
Perspectives that emphasize participation,
identities, and interpersonal relations
within communities of practice.
Legitimate peripheral participation:
genuine involvement in the work of the
group, even if your abilities are
undeveloped and contributions are small.
This is me, in 1974, a ninth grader at Lexington Junior High School. I wore this
sweatshirt on this day because I knew this picture would be taken. The sweatshirt was
for the Central Kentucky Youth Symphony Orchestra. I had just become a member (as
last chair second violin I was definitely in the camp of “legitimate peripheral
participation”—you couldn’t get more peripheral than that). I was so proud to be a
member of the Youth Symphony Orchestra—that identity was very important to me.
I have no
idea if any
the rest of
Classrooms as communities
You can use sociocultural forms of
motivation by creating classroom
communities. Students in these classes
identify with their classmates—being part
of the class is part of who they are.
Students work together to learn—to
develop and test hypotheses, etc.
Needs: competence, autonomy,
Self-determination—we need to feel
competent and capable.
Need for autonomy: the desire to have
our own wishes, rather than external
reward or pressures, determine our
In other words, we need to be in charge of
our own lives.
Self-determination in the classroom
When classrooms are organized around
the idea of self-determination, students
tend to be more interested and to do
Ironically, students tend to prefer more
controlling teachers, even though they
learn more from teachers who support
The process of deciding how to act on
Includes competence, control (autonomy),
I can swim, get
my own food, and
keep away from
The ability to function effectively in an environment.
I know how to
read, how to
how to behave
Helping students to feel competent
comments by teachers
about causes of
They help students to
know that they can
influence the outcomes
of their work.
If you try,
you will be
able to do
what you have
Emotional displays of the
teacher give students
important messages about
their competence. The
teacher’s frustration can lead
students to feel incompetent.
You did a good job
naming the parts.
You need to work
the life cycle.
students to know
where they have
what to work on.
If you need help,
just let me know.
assume you are
Offering unsolicited help can give a
negative message, that the teacher feels
the student is incompetent.
Information and control
Cognitive evaluation theory:
events affect motivation through the
individual’s perception of the events as
controlling behavior or providing
Information and control
Events tend to be informational (providing the student with information) or
controlling (telling the student what to do).
Increases intrinsic motivation
You did well on that test because you
We are going to present our projects
next week, so you may want to think
about what you need to get done on it.
Decreases intrinsic motivation
You did well on that test because
you followed directions.
The project is due next week so
get to work!
I can choose
what I practice
and how much
effort I put into
I can choose
where I do
subject I work
Control (autonomy) is the ability to alter the environment when necessary.
Helping students to have a sense
see you using the
of control Ilearning strategies
What rules do you
think we need in this
How are you
doing on the
goals you set?
It’s great to see
involved in this
we have been
From your work I
can tell that you
have learned a lot
about this topic.
The need for relatedness
Students need to feel that others
(especially the teacher, but also other
students) care about them and are
responsive to their needs.
The feeling of connectedness to
others in one’s social environment
resulting in feelings of worthiness of
love and respect.
This is related to some ideas on
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Needs: lessons for teachers
Students need to feel competent and
Goal orientations and motivation
what an individual strives to
Goal orientation: patterns of beliefs about
goals related to achievement in school.
Goals and Goal-orientation
This subject is
—I’d like to
I’d like to do
as little as I
can in order
to get a
Both of these students have goals. Can you see how their goals will influence how
Types of Goals
Mastery goal—focuses on mastering information, increasing
understanding (not concerned with performance)
Performance goal—a personal intention to seem competent or
perform well in the eyes of others.
Approach goals are goals focused on achievement (learningapproach is a goal to increase achievement, performance-approach
is a goal to increase performance).
Avoidance goals are goals focused on avoiding something.
Performance-avoidance is a focus on performing in order to avoid
Task-involved learners: students who focus on mastering the task
or solving the problem.
Ego-involved learners: students who focus on how well they are
performing and how they are judged by others.
The type of goal a student has determines a lot about how that student learns.
I had a violin student whose goal was to get a 93 in
his academic classes. According to him, a 93 is the
“perfect A” because it is an A with the least amount
of work. His goal was basically performanceavoidance: he was avoiding any grade his parents
could give him trouble over (such as a B). As you
might imagine, his performance in class was
lackluster because he didn’t get excited about
learning anything. School was a game to play and
he knew how to win in such a way that most
authorities would leave him alone.
A couple of years later, he appeared to have
abandoned this particular goal—he was involved in
college-level classes and enjoying them.
Work-avoidant learners: students who don’t want to learn or to look smart, but just want
to avoid work.
This is SO boring.
I’m going to get
through this reading
as fast as I can so I
can watch Survivor
What do you think she will remember
about the text she is reading? If she
were your student, what could you do
to help her?
Social goals: a wide variety of needs and motives to be connected to others or part of a
Ryan said he signed up
for Algebra II. He’s so
cute. I guess I’ll sign up
so I can be with him in
How do you think she will do in
algebra II? How can you, as a
teacher, harness the social goals
your students have?
Feedback and goal acceptance
Students need accurate, positively-stated
(e.g., you have achieved 75% of your goal
rather than you have fallen short by 25%)
feedback to help them with their goals.
Students need to accept and commit goals
if they are going to work on them.
Effective goal setting: Specific
My goal is to
do better in
My goal is to spend
one hour every
Why are specific goals better than general goals? Which student will be able to
monitor his progress better on his goal?
Effective Goal Setting: Immediate
I want to
honors four years
My goal is to
make dean’s list
Why might immediate goals work better than goals that are far away?
Effective Goal Setting: Challenging
I want to graduate in
four years with a
perfect 4.0 average.
I don’t care what
my grades are in
four years—I just
want to get out of
I think I can
maintain a high B
average for the
next four years.
goals that are
goals are not
I studied for an hour
yesterday and today. Two
days in a row! That’s pretty
good. It’s helpful to do it right
after supper and to get into a
Why do you think monitoring
goals would be important?
Even though I studied an
hour a day, I still didn’t do
very well on the test. My
teacher says I need to do
more than just read the
text. I think I’ll make a
goal of working on 5
problems per day.
Why is it important to be
strategic in the process of
The t.v. is too distracting. I
had better study here in my
room where it is quieter.
Can you see how
metacognitive strategies are
critical for effective goal
setting and achievement?
How can you help students
to develop metacognitive
Interests and emotions
When students are not interested in a
topic, they will not learn.
Personal interests: enduring interests that
a person has.
Situational interest: more temporary
interest—something that catches the eye
of the student.
Capturing student interest
Find out about their interests—if a group
of them have a personal interest in
something, perhaps you can use that
Work with situational interest—find
interesting ways to approach curricular
topics (e.g., using a computer program,
using a puzzle, using an unexpected
Capturing student interest
This is critical, particularly for students
who are at risk for failure. Students from
strongly academic backgrounds have a
degree of tolerance for boredom, but
students who don’t have a strong
academic background do not have this
Capturing student interest
This takes some creativity—but it is one of
the most fun aspects of teaching.
Further, when you teach something that is
interesting, you will really enjoy the
teaching process and watching the
students get into the activity.
For several years I have been part of an
Appalachian project that involves an urban
school and my students in Education 214,
Integrating the arts in the elementary classroom.
In this project, we build dulcimers, sing
Appalachian songs, dance to a live band,
perform a Jack tale, decorate quilt squares and
sew a quilt, and learn about the culture in
general. We meet a lot of social studies
benchmarks in this project.
The Appalachian Project
The classroom teacher plays guitar. We had a volunteer banjo player, as well.
The Appalachian Project
Our volunteer banjo player came every week and was
generous about sharing with the students (that’s a $2000
banjo a child is holding).
You can do this, too
Not every day has to be filled with something
this special—but this sort of thing needs to
We began with an interest I had. Because of my
personal interest in Appalachian music, I had
resources—I had books about it, I knew the
music, and I knew people who could help us to
pull this project off.
Most of the students did not have an initial
interest in this subject, but because of the nature
of the activities (building a working musical
instrument) they became interested.
Arousal: excitement and anxiety in
physical and psychological
reactions causing a person to be alert,
attentive, wide awake.
this is related to interest.
People have studied curiosity and found
that it often happens when we don’t fully
understand something—there is a gap in
Anxiety: general uneasiness, a feeling of
Can get in the way of learning and
showing what one has learned.
Anxiety gets in the way of our ability to pay
attention. It’s a negative cycle—we feel
anxious, struggle to pay attention, then
become more anxious as we realize we
are not comprehending the material.
Arousal and anxiety
I’m so nervous I
don’t know what to
do. All I can think of
is how nervous I
Anxiety: a general uneasiness and
feeling of tension. Anxiety can affect
motivation both positively and
negatively. A little anxiety can be
good motivation. Too much anxiety
can get in the way of effective
When people get nervous,
they lose some of their
ability to think logically. In
anticipation of a nervous
situation, they may use
poorer strategies to prepare.
Problem-solving—trying to address the
learning problems in an intelligent and doable way. It is important for teachers to
help students with problem solving.
Emotional management—trying to reduce
feelings of anxiety.
Avoidance—avoiding situations that cause
anxiety (not a good strategy to use in
Beliefs and self-schemas
Beliefs about ability
Beliefs about causes and control
Beliefs about self-efficacy and learned
Beliefs about self-worth
Is intelligence a set characteristic like your
height as an adult or the color of your
eyes? Or can intelligence be influenced
by what you do? How you answer these
questions may influence how motivated
you are as a learner.
Entity view of intelligence
This means that
intelligence is an
Since I can’t do
anything about how
smart I am, I will focus
my efforts on how I
This attitude “works” for learners
who feel that they are pretty smart.
Learners who feel non-intelligent
are likely to give up because they
Incremental view of intelligence
If I work at
learning this, I can
get a lot smarter.
This view gives students a sense of
control over their own destiny. If
they work, they will be rewarded
with increasing ability.
Does it work? Is it fair to get kids’
There are limits. Most piano students aren’t
going to become Vladimir Horowitz, no
matter how hard they work. Most student
athletes are not going to break world records
at the Olympics. But the belief in learning
and work increasing ability does go a long
way, even in sports and music. Hard work
can make up for a smaller amount of talent
and no amount of talent can make up for the
lack of practice.
Attribution theory involves how we explain our successes and failures. Do we
attribute them to ourselves or to factors outside ourselves? Do we attribute them
to things that change or things that don’t change? How much control do we have
over these factors?
Attribution theory: descriptions of how individuals’ explanations,
justifications, and excuses influence their motivation and behavior.
It’s not my fault. The
teacher made the test
“location.” It can be
internal or external.
For which student is
the cause of not doing
well external? For
which is it internal?
What are the
implications when a
student attributes her
performance to an
external cause? How
about to an internal
If I had studied
more, I would
have done better
on the test.
I didn’t do so well
this time, but
maybe my luck
will change. I’m
rabbit’s foot the
next time we have
Luck can change (with
or without the rabbit’s
foot). Ability doesn’t
effort can change and
it can make up for
ability to a certain
I don’t think I’m very
good at this subject.
It’s awfully hard for me
The point of
stability is how
changeable is the
cause of the
Some things are
controllable by the
person and others are
not. What implications
does this have for your
implications does it have
for the strategies you
Yeah, but you
can’t control how
hard the teacher
makes the test.
Attribution Theory: Application
Where does the student
consider the locus of the
problem to be? How
stable is the cause?
What kind of control does
the student have?
The answers to these questions
influence how you respond to the
student. For example, if the student is
externalizing, you might guide him to
think about his own contribution to the
problem. Whatever the cause, you
might want to help the student to focus
on his effort. You need to be aware of
what the student can control and what is
beyond the student’s control.
Impact of Attributions on Learners
I’ll never be
able to do
I feel bad
because I got
I’m not going to
for the next one
that I keep
Fortunately, you can help students change this kind of attitude…
This is a review of a concept you had in the last chapter.
Your beliefs about your abilities.
Four factors influence them:
Verbal persuasion (a teacher tells you you
can do it)
Physiological and psychological factors
(hunger, being upset, etc.)
Guess what: students who are high in self-efficacy do better in
school. What can we do as teachers to help students develop
with a lack of
lead to failure.
I can’t succeed,
so I might as well
not even try.
Learned helplessness is
associated with low selfesteem, depression, and
refusal to try.
Learned helplessness is a psychological condition in which a
human or animal has learned to believe that it is helpless. It thinks
that it has no control over its situation and that whatever it does is
futile. As a result it will stay passive when the situation is unpleasant
or harmful and damaging.
It is a well-established principle in psychology, a description of the
effect of inescapable punishment (such as electrical shock) on animal
(and by extension, human) behaviour. Learned helplessness may
also occur in everyday situations where environments in which
people experience events in which they feel or actually have no
control over what happens to them, such as repeated failure, prison,
war, disability, famine and drought may tend to foster learned
helplessness. An example involves concentration camp prisoners
during the Holocaust, when some prisoners, called Mussulmen,
refused to care or fend for themselves. Present-day examples can be
found in mental institutions, orphanages, or long-term care facilities
where the patients have failed or been stripped of agency for long
enough to cause their feelings of inadequacy to persist.
Not all people become depressed as a result of being in
a situation where they appear not to have control; in
what Seligman called "explanatory style," people in a
state of learned helplessness view problems as
personal, pervasive, or permanent. That is,
Personal - They may see themselves as the problem;
that is, they have internalized the problem.
Pervasive - They may see the problem affecting all
aspects of life.
Permanent - They may see the problem as
Martin Seligman's foundational experiments and theory
of learned helplessness began at the
University of Pennsylvania in 1965, as an extension of
his interest in depression, when, at first quite by
accident, Seligman and colleagues discovered a result of
conditioning of dogs that was opposite to what B.F.
Skinner's behaviorism would have predicted. A dog that
had earlier been repeatedly conditioned to associate a
sound with electric shocks did not try (later in another
setting) to escape the electric shocks after that sound
and a flash of light was presented, even though all the
dog would have had to do is jump over a low divider
within ten seconds, more than enough time to respond.
The dog didn't even try to avoid the "aversive stimulus";
the dog had previously "learned" that nothing it did
Dealing with learned helplessness
Seligman eventually taught the dogs how
to escape—but they had to be dragged
over the barrier to learn.
Students who have experienced a lot of
failure and who are in learned
helplessness need to have lots of success
in order to get out. They need immediate
small successes and then to build up to
longer term and larger successes.
An emotional reaction to or evaluation of the self (also known as self-esteem).
Self-worth Theory What he says:
What he says:
That project was too
hard. It’s not fair to
be assigned such a
What he means:
If I can blame someone else,
then I don’t have to look at my
own contribution to the failure
of the project. This is how I
maintain a sense that I am
competent in the face of
possible evidence otherwise.
I couldn’t work on
the project ‘til the
last minute. If I had
had more time, it
would have been
What he means:
If I really put in time on the
project, it might not have
been very good. So I didn’t
put in the time so I have an
excuse I can live with for it
not being good.
How the maintenance of self-worth gets in the way of achievement.
What can you do as a teacher to help a student like this?
Master-oriented students: students who focus
on learning goals because they value
achievement and see ability as improvable.
Failure-avoiding students: students who avoid
failure by sticking to what they know, by not
taking risks, or by claiming not to care about
Failure-accepting students: students who
believe their failures are due to low ability and
there is little they can do about it.
Motivation to Learn in School
The tendency to find academic activities
meaningful and worthwhile and to try to
benefit from them.
How motivated are you?
In what classes or subjects do you find
learning to be interesting?
What has contributed to your motivation to
learn in those classes or subjects?
Is there anything you can learn from those
situations that might help you to feel more
motivated about other subjects or topics?
Learning from bad teaching
Probably all of us have stories of “teachers from hell.”
This is unfortunate, but remains true.
When you find yourself in a bad situation, now that you
are studying educational psychology, think to yourself:
“what can I learn here about what NOT to do with other
people—students, colleagues, etc.?”
Remember that you can be motivated about a topic but
not about a class, especially if a teacher has done a poor
job. I loved French before and after high school but had
a very bad teacher in high school. Even as many
problems as this teacher had, she never stamped out my
love of French.
Barriers to motivation
Curriculum determined by state, not students
School attendance is mandatory, not a choice
Too many students in classes
Classrooms are a social setting where failure
“Daily grind”—routines that lead to boredom.
What can you do as a teacher to get rid of the barriers?
Academic task: the work the student must
accomplish, including the content covered and
the mental operations required.
Importance/attainment value: the importance of
doing well on a task; how success on the task
meets personal needs.
Intrinsic or interest value: the enjoyment a
person gets from a task.
Utility value: the contribution of a task to
meeting one’s goals.
Task value and Educational
If you like peoplewatching, you’ll
explains WHY you
see what you are
If you are working with people in any
sort of job, you will find Educational
Psychology useful because it tells you
how to teach and motivate people.
This means you potentially can get
your ideas accepted over someone
who does not have the same people
skills, regardless of level of authority.
Being able to understand
why people do what they
do is critical information.
It helps you to respond in
a more constructive way.
Here’s the rub. It’s not
always easy to understand
all these theories and
ideas. It takes work to
absorb these ideas in a
way that makes them really
What does it mean to you to do well
in this class?
Perhaps it means that you are smart?
Perhaps it means that the instructor likes you?
Perhaps it means that you have achieved a goal
you set for yourself?
Perhaps it means that you have learned
something interesting and useful?
Perhaps it means that you will be able to
maintain your high GPA?
Perhaps it allows you to avoid the anger of your
advisor or your parents?
Doing well has different meaning for different people. This is the importance or
Tasks that have some connection to real-
life problems the students will face outside
Problem-based learning: methods that
provide students with realistic problems
that don’t necessarily have right answers.
Authentic tasks are motivating…
…because students can see the
connection between what they are doing
in the classroom and what they will be
doing out in the “real world.”
You will probably find your field placement classes to be really fun and
interesting because in those you will be doing what you plan to do as a
professional. The further you move in your degree program, the more
authentic the tasks of learning are likely to be.
One way to create authenticity is to use
problem-based learning, using real
problems either within the community or
problems students are likely to face (e.g.,
how to deal with the proficiency test).
Students can research the problem and
explore solutions. With community
problems, students can express their
opinions in local forums such as the letters
to the editor of the local newspaper.
Supporting autonomy and
Students need a balance between structure and choice.
“Bounded choice”—giving the students a range of options but not total freedom.
For younger students, the choices need to
be simpler: between fewer options. The
same is true for students who have not
had many choices in the past
Older students can handle more choices.
When students are resisting something,
give them a choice about HOW they do it.
They can work on their math facts at their
desk or lying on the floor (if this is not a
frequent option, it will make doing the
math facts more fun). They can do their
sustained silent reading in a chair or on
the floor. Even high schools students like
the opportunity to move around.
Portfolios and choices
Portfolio assessment (which you will learn about in a later chapter) allows
you to offer many choices to students, including what gets assessed (not
every student work goes into a portfolio) and even how it gets assessed
(e.g., choosing which work is to be assessed for which characteristic).
Portfolios can be used in almost any subject area.
Students need feedback on their work.
We need to recognize what is right along with
helping students to work on problems.
Instead of praise (“good job”) it is more effective
to point out how a student might feel about the
accomplishment (“Look what you did. You
worked hard. I bet you feel proud of that.”) This
encourages students to own the
accomplishment and to attribute the
accomplishment to their own efforts.
the way students relate to
others who are also working toward a
particular goal. Can be cooperative,
competitive, or individualistic.
Cooperation leads to higher achievement
Competition is a zero-sum game: when
someone wins, other(s) lose. This doesn’t work
in a classroom where there is a commitment to
Competition might be motivating for the people
who are near the top but it is enormously
demotivating for the people at the bottom. Their
thinking tends to be: “I’ll never win, so why
should I try?”
Competition doesn’t work in the workplace. The
best companies encourage employees to work
There is a difference between evaluation
Grades are simply one form of evaluation.
A more valuable form of evaluation is
constructive, detailed feedback given in a
caring manner. This can be done in
person or in writing if the student is able to
Don’t make a test the reason students need to
Think of the utility of what they are learning and
use that as a primary reason.
If at all possible, use authentic tasks as part of
the learning process.
Be prepared to re-think what you are asking
students to do. Is it part of the curriculum or is it
something you just always do? If it is part of the
curriculum, in what other way can you teach it?
How do you feel when you are doing
something engaging and have to stop to
do something else?
Students will be frustrated if they have to
stop all the time. See what you can do to
schedule relatively large blocks of time for
students to work on important and
Another challenge with time is that some
students move through work quickly and
others desperately need more time.
You need to plan learning activities for
those who move through their work
quickly. You need to plan how students
might have more time on a topic when
they need it.
Technology can help. Students who work
quickly in an area might read a text that goes
quickly over the material they need to learn.
Students who need to consider things at a
slower pace might benefit from a power point
that covers the same material but with greater
explanation. In other words, take the text, break
it into smaller parts, and add explanations and
Motivation and demotivation
Motivation is based on an inner feeling.
We cannot control other people’s feelings.
SO it is hard to make someone feel
motivated about something (although we
can encourage it).
On the other hand, it is EXTREMELY easy
to DEMOTIVATE someone. Just give
them a bad or unpleasant experience in
Messages of accountability and high expectations
Teacher communicates importance of work
Connections across the curriculum
Opportunities to learn about and practice dramatic arts
Attributions to effort
Uses games and play to reinforce concept
Multiple representations of a task
Positive classroom management, praise, private reprimands
Stimulating creative thought
Opportunities for choice
Teacher communicates to students that they can handle challenging
Value students—communicate caring
Attributions to intellect rather than effort
Teacher emphasizes competition rather than cooperation
Few displays of student work
No scaffolding for learning a new skill
Lack of connections
Negative class atmosphere
Punitive classroom management
Work that is much too difficult
Emphasis on finishing, not learning
Sparse, unattractive classroom
Motivation and culture
Culture influences motivation.
to be aware of this and the possibilities for
the nature of the possible influence.
Build confidence and positive expectations
Help students to see the value in learning
Help students stay focused.
Emphasize incremental views of
The more you work on
this, the better you are
going to get.
Emphasize goals, strategies, and
This piece is a real
challenge. But if you
work on it thoughtfully
and every day, I know
you’ll be able to do it.
Promote student interest
I’m so glad you are ready
to play the Paganini. It’s
one of my very favorite
pieces. Did you know
that Paganini was so
much better than anyone
else at his time, he had to
write his own music?
Nothing that had been
written then was hard
enough for him.
Emphasize the utility value of
Because you have
worked on this skill,
it’s going to make the
next unit SO much
easier for you.
Give students the opportunity to
Here are some
problems that are like
the ones on the test.
Let’s see what you can
do with these.
Let’s work on this
together so everyone
Model effort attributions
The last time we had a
test, all of you worked
hard and did really well.
I’m sure you can do this
Now tomorrow we are
going to have a practice
quiz to get you ready for
It wasn’t easy for me to
learn to play, but I
practiced and I began to
use the techniques my
teacher taught me.
Pretty soon, I could see
Provide Evidence of
Look at what you have done!!
Last week you couldn’t do this
kind of problem and this
week, you can!
Encourage internal attributions for
successes and controllable
attributions for failures
You did this part of the test
really well because you
practiced these problems.
I think you’ll do better on
the other part after some
view of ability
Entity view of