PsycholARTSical: Psyched about the arts/Motivation

Motivation edit

What is Motivation? (pp. 359-361) edit

Define Motivation.

Motivation: An internal state that arouses, directs, maintains behaviour.

Traits or State?

  • Motivation can be the result of personal traits (ex: an inherent desire to achieve);
  • A state that is the result of a temporary situation (ex: a test);
  • The motivation we experience at any given time is a combination of both trait and state.

What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation?

  • Intrinsic motivation is associated with activities that are rewarding in itself. This motivation stems from internal factors such as needs, interests, curiosity, or enjoyment.
  • Extrinsic Motivation is created by external factors such as rewards, social pressure, or punishment. We are not compelled to complete such an activity for its own sake.

What type of motivation should teachers encourage?

  • In school, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are useful. Teaching can encourage students' intrinsic motivation by stimulating their curiosity and making them feel more

competent as they learn. Encouraging intrinsic motivators also fosters the development of critical thinking skills and a passion for life-long learning. However, in some situations, incentives and external supports are necessary.

How does locus of causality apply to motivation?

  • Offers an explanation or reason for acting/ behaving a certain way;
  • It is the cause for motivation that can be either internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic).

Four General Approaches to Motivation (pp. 361-366) edit

1) Behavioural 2) Humanistic 3) Cognitive 4) Sociocultural


  • Relies soley on extrinsic motivation;
  • Rewards are objects or events that we think are attractive and act as consequences of certain behaviours;
  • Incentives are objects or events that encourage or discourage behaviour.


  • Relies on intrinsic motivation
  • also referred to as, third-force psychology because it was conceived in the 1940's in reaction to behaviourism & psychoanalysis theory;
  • Assumes that people are continually motivated by inherent needs to fulfill their potential for "self-actualization";
  • Emphasis on personal choice, needs, and self-determination;
  • Maslow's hierarchy: seven levels of human needs, from basic physiological requirements to the need for self-actualization


  • Focus is on thinking;
  • Emphasizes intrinsic motivation;
  • People are active and curious;
  • Behaviour is dependent on: plans, goals, schemas, and expectations.


  • Emphasizes participation in communities of practice;
  • Motivation derives from discovering one's identity within a community of people;
  • Legitimate peripheral participation - immersion in group work, despite one's under developed abilities and small contributions;

MASLOW'S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS: DEFICIENCY NEEDS: (LOWER ORDER NEEDS) - * must be satisfied first; Pre-requisite:

  • Survival
  • Safety
  • Belonging & Love
  • Esteem

With deficiency needs motivation decreases as needs are met.


  • Endlessly renewed

Whole person:

  • Intellect/achievement
  • Aesthetics
  • Self-actualization

With being needs motivation increases as needs are met.

--Jameso'reilly (talk) 04:09, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Note: theorists after Maslow have, while accepting his taxonomy of needs, recognized that such needs do not necessarily unfold or progress in as hierarchical, linear a fashion as Maslow seemed to indicate. For instance, different needs may be pursued simultaneously , and a 'higher order' need could be pursued and satisfied before a lower order need (page 362).

  • So, how does hierarchy affect motivation? According to the text, as it refers to Maslow's needs, if we as teachers foster community and collectivism in our classrooms the lower order needs will be addressed and the student can focus more on attaining the higher order needs. That is great! I am sure there are many creative ways to create community in the classroom, one example is group work were the groups are made up of students who have various skills. I think that creating community it is just something to always be cognizant of in teaching-an organic process. It is nice to image a perfect world on the inside of my imaginary classroom. However, hierarchy makes me think of situations outside of striving for self-actualization. I think that creating a community is great BUT need to first consider, what is the POWER hierarchy in any given classroom or school, and how does that affect motivation and the classroom atmosphere? Maybe the challenge here is to re-evaluate the roles that we are all too familiar with, i.e.; the authoritarian teacher figure, the class clown, the rebel...and somehow create an "equal playing field". Even with the whole hierarchy of needs thing, some students are more ready than others to move onto knowing and understanding.
--Lisa chupa (talk) 01:02, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The thing that worries me as an educator about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is being able to fulfill all of the higher order needs of the students. As a teacher one can create a safe community within their classroom but if a students' higher needs are not being met in other classrooms or at home with their family and friends, how can a teacher help motivate that student. Teacher have no control over what goes on in a students' personal life and family and friends play a huge role in students' lives. My fear is that even if a teacher can create a good learning environment in the classroom that it won't matter to the student who is not having their higher needs met in their personal life outside of the classroom. Can 75-minutes a day be enough to help motivate that student? Will the student still not show any motivation in the class or will the student only be motivated in that particular classroom and nowhere else?

--Ali.dormady (talk) 13:59, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

It is very easy as an educator in our current educational climate to become very cynical, bitter, or even burned-out. We are highly conscious and aware of the many social issues that plague children in our classrooms today, and the emotional and psychological ramifications that manifest in work ethic and classroom behaviour.

Upon closer inspection, I see a truly holistic quality within Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It would be foolish to imagine that any one teacher could facilitate meeting all the needs of any one student. Within our own means and experiences, we do our best daily as educators to inspire, nurture, and support our students through the creation of community and collectivism. However (as was pointed out above), there are many contributing factors to a student’s life outside of the 75-minute period.

I think then that Holistic approaches to education are therefore one of the most powerful tools in shaping young minds. It is a profound awareness of self that best allows an individual to become “renewed, whole, explore intellect, and achieve self-actualization”. This awareness of self will further help a student to connect with factors such as attention and personal motivation.

An educator has the potential ability to provide students with the tools to be self-aware (i.e. motivation, visualization, journaling), and I believe the qualities acquired from self-awareness will follow through in any aspect of an individual’s life including professional, educational, and personal aspects. - Christopher Wilson

--chuckstopher (talk) 19:30, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

To expand upon the point made above, although Maslow's theory may not be airtight, since it does require humans to act and respond in the same manner every time, the link between it and holistic educational perspectives is clear and worthy of support. Three of the four deficiency needs are met when a school and/or classroom promotes a positive atmosphere. A school's administration sets rules to keep everyone on that property safe. Promotion of school spirit and even classroom community ideally gives the student a sense of belonging. A classroom environment where all points of view are respected and deemed worthy of being heard helps a student to develop esteem. To a lesser degree, I suppose schools can also meet the need for survival through practices such as staff members staying alert for signs of neglect or abuse and informing the authorities in such cases but I do not feel this need is as strongly fulfilled, nor should it be, by public schools. Independent boarding schools are, obviously, an exception. But already, just through running a school in a professional manner and teaching with compassion, Maslow's deficiency needs are met.
The being needs are where holism really becomes advantageous to students. With emphasis placed on learning through discussion and through questioning, students are encouraged to continue following a path of inquiry until they fully grasp it. Need for knowing and understanding satisfied. Self-actualization, Maslow's term for "realizing personal potential" (p. 362) is what holistic education is all about; helping the student to grow in the cognitive sense, the emotional sense, and the spiritual sense. My limited observations as a teacher candidate have led me to believe that a student, in fact any person, is not capable of completely fulfilling their potential if their growth in one of those three areas is stunted to too great a degree. Holistic education works to foster growth in all areas, enabling the students to self-actualize. I admit, there is not much a teacher or a school can do to satisfy the need for aesthetic appreciation. However, as with the need for survival, I would dispute whether it is the teacher or school's responsibility to satisfy that particular need.
For more information about holistic educational perspectives, I would encourage you to visit [1]. Ron Miller and his colleagues elaborate on this approach to education in a clear and precise manner.

--SwordPhilip (talk) 03:21, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Goal Orientation and Motivation (pp. 366-370) edit

What kinds of goals are the most motivating?

Effective Goals Are:

  • Specific
  • Challenging
  • Attainable
  • Focused on the task
  • Supported by social relationships
  • Reinforced with feedback
  • Accepted by the student

Describe mastery, performance, work-avoidant and social goals.

Mastery goal: A personal intention to improve abilities and understand, no matter how performance suffers. (Relates to "task-involved learners": Students who focus on mastering the task or solving the problem).

Performance goal: A personal intention to seem competent or perform well in the eyes of others. (Relates to “ego-involved learners”: Students who focus on how well they are performing and how they are judged by others).

Work-avoidant learners: These are students who want to avoid work. They try and complete assignments/activities as quick as possible and with little effort. Rather then be concerned with looking smart in front of peers and teachers, these students feel successful when the work is easy, or when they can "goof off" (Woolfolk et al., 368)

Social goals: A wide variety of needs and motives to be connected to others or to be part of a group. As students move into adolescence, non-academic activities such as athletics, dating, etc., compete with school work and can hinder learning. An example can be seen if a student's goal in the classroom is to maintain friendly relations in a cooperative learning group. If the friends are afraid to challenge the student's wrong answers and misconceptions for fear of hurting their feelings, then this can interfere with learning. Another example relates to "fitting in". Rather then being labeled a "geek", students would rather go out and have fun with peers and classmates. This however, can get in the way of learning.

Rewards to Motivation: Negatives and Positives

  • In the Chapter on Motivation it really caught my attention when the author was talking about rewards as tool to motivate students. What caught my attention was the fact that I have been reason a fair bit on the positives and negatives of using a reward system when trying to motivate students. The article which I was really interested in was called "Beyond 'wonderful': Authentic Interaction in the Art Classroom" by Masayuki Hachiya. She wrote this paper as her doctoral thesis at OSIE
In this paper, the author brings attention to the idea that there are negative aspect of rewards and positive aspects. She first examines the positive. An example of a positive reward would be the praise of the teacher. In term of a positive outlook on rewards teachers and academics believe it provides positive feel back to students who learn a skill properly, are behaving properly or obtaining and showing they understand new knowledge. Rewards as a positive motivational tool, the author continues, provides a way in which the teacher of the class would be able to encourage classroom management. With rewards, classroom management would be maintaining because it reaffirms the authority of the teacher. A teacher would praise a student when the student shows the appropriate behavior or does something properly when developing a new skill.
On the other side of the spectrum, some critics of rewards believe that they are not always positive. In the paper, the author introduces another critic of motivation Kohn Albeit. According to Albeit, when you motivate a child by using rewards as a way to encourage them to do a project in comparison with a child who is given the same assignment he has noticed that the child who was not motivated with an award does better work. Overall, he believes that the reward system is an ineffective way to encourage students to do work. As a result, he argues, students who are given rewards are not as ambitions to learn because they feel like their work is not good enough to get the reward.
--Naddles (talk) 01:07, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

  • On pg. 368 of the text book the authors describe what they call performance goals. By their definition a performance goal is a personal intention to seem competent or perform well in the eyes of others. The authors write that performance goals cause students to only care about outdoing other students, rather than what they are learning.
This concept made me think about the use of competition in the classroom as a way to motivate students to learn. In my practicum I had to teach a unit on drama vocabulary; in the past it consisted of giving students a booklet full of terms and definitions and reading through it with them. I decided to create a drama vocabulary activity challenge. The students were divided into teams and over three days competed in different activities. The challenge was highly competitive, with points given out after each activity and in the end a prize was rewarded to all students. This unit was a huge success. The students absolutely loved it! They were engaged the entire time and at the very end of the unit they were given a test on the material and they were all highly successful!
So in my experience competition was a very useful tool to motivate students. Although the whole challenge was about beating their classmates, the students learned the material through the activities. The authors seem to portray performance goals as the worst method of motivation, but I found it very effective.
What are other people’s views on the use of competition as a form of motivation?
--JollyJamie (talk) 15:39, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Jamie, like you I found the part about performance goals a little peculiar, especially as it relates to performance oriented studies in the arts like Drama, or Music, or Dance, or maybe even something like Public Speaking. Most of the accomplished professional artists I've had the pleasure/pain to work and/or associate with are highly competitive and extremely self-centred people. Many of these people are award-winning and highly public figures who create socially-progressive work and regularly appear in the media espousing noble ideals about equity and social justice. Many also do great work along these lines...really, effective, sincere, and life-changing work. Go figger. Maybe one has to ultimately separate the art from the artist...but how do you do this as a teacher teaching Arts students who are not yet artists, who have no real body of work to speak of? Showing off is what artists do, and having a killer instinct is absolutely essential to having any kind of career in the arts.
Granted, not many of our students will actually become career artists, but I don't know how one avoids fostering strong performance goals through competition while teaching a performance-oriented arts course, especially to students in the higher grades who are considering post-secondary Arts education. To do otherwise is to do a disservice to the student.
I have no teaching experience to relate on the subject, though I can offer a student's perspective on the downside of competition for marginalized students. By the age of 13 'd lived in 13 different neighborhoods and had not had the chance to spend an entire academic year in any one school. I was the new kid in every school I'd been in up until grade 7. Competitive activities killed me because I could not compete...I could barely understand the rules, let alone devise strategies for success. Further to this, my parents were low-achieving and uneducated couch-potatoes who despised virtuosity of any stripe because it made them insecure. There was no room for competitive anxiety at my kitchen table. I'm not kidding here. Also, I'm sure that my situation is not unique.
As I read the description of your Drama Vocabulary exercise I could understand fully how it could work and be very effective. After I read it I tried to imagine myself as one of your students in that situation. I'd want to be on the winning team.
--Jameso'reilly (talk) 04:09, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I used competition to an awesome end on my practicum. I created an interval face-off game in my instrumental band music classes, where I would place to opposing chairs at the front of the room, sit myself in between them, and then draw two names out of a hat. Those two people would then come up to the front, and face each other in an interval challenge: I would have another student (or my associate) play an interval on the keyboard, and then the first to identify it correctly would win. Both contestants were only allowed one answer, so if one answered incorrectly, the other often got it because she was allowed to sit and think about it. A maximum of three guesses each was allowed until both were eliminated.
After having done it twice, I was able to identify some pros and cons about the activity. The advantage was that, due to the nature of competition, nearly everyone in the whole class was completely engaged, right through to the end--even despite the fact that some had been 'eliminated' and were not actively playing anymore; those individuals seemed to chat a bit in between rounds, but the competitive tension in the air as the contestants grew fewer tended to grab their attention, since they had various allegiances within the class, and also because they wanted to know the intervals themselves so that they could officiate my decisions. So even the eliminated participants were engaged, still listening intently to the intervals.
The disadvantage was that there were a few who didn't engage because they considered themselves to be of too poor ability to compete. Their expressions were resigned, and they were somewhat loathe to be summoned up to the front, to demonstrate their 'incompetence'. However, since humans are always prone to error, there were many occasions where demonstrably superior guessers were beaten by their opponents, which provoked the class to more enthusiasm and engagement.
I think overall it was an awesome way to motivate the classes. Throughout the rest of the whole practicum, they asked me to play that game over and over, every day!
--JonathanisFTMFW (talk) 17:15, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I think the notion of friendly competition can spur students into trying harder. For teenagers the worst thing in the world is to look bad in front of a group of people and often this can be the only thing that motivates them to try. I think that in Jamie's case, even though students were competing against each other during the task, they were all rewarded for their effort instead of only singling out the "winners" of the task. As long as the students who did poorly aren't made to feel as if they don't measure up then a bit of competition can be healthy. The key is providing a reason, besides looking good in front of their peers, for students to want to do well. As long as the intrinsic motivation is worked into the task then the extrinsic motivation of the competition could be entirely positive.
Does anyone have any ideas about how to work intrinsic motivation into a competition task?
--Liz P (talk) 02:57, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Meaning and Motivation
Hmmm. Working intrinsic motivation into a competitive task ...? Well, first thought is that if you were able to 'push a button' to activate a student's intrinsic motivation, it would no longer be intrinsic but extrinsic. A second thought is that hair-splitting aside, intrinsic motivation being internal is hidden and not known to us unless a student discloses it candidly (or maybe an experienced teacher can spot it after knowing a student for some length of time). The closest I can imagine to a student being intrinsically motivated in a competitive task is if they were somewhat of a perfectionist, and actually saw the task as competing with themselves to better their performance.
There are certainly no shortage of theories in this chapter. Interestingly, the various views of motivation are not presented as mutually exclusive, and may be complimentary. There is also a contradiction I find intriguing. Namely, that a) identity making among students depends on conventional integration into community structures and values, and also that b) students forming their identities may reject conventional social goals and values.
For instance, the text alternately notes that:
“… motivation arises from identity and identity develops through legitimate participation [as] students can progress from positions of legitimate peripheral participation to become full participants in the community” (366)
And that:
“Sometimes social and academic goals are incompatible. For example, academic failure may be interpreted positively by some minority-group students because non-compliance with the majority culture’s norms and standards is seen as an accomplishment. Thus it would be impossible to simultaneously succeed in both school and the peer group (369).”
This begs several questions about teachers' methods, goals and values, and about our own professional identities:
  • In what ways might we conceive that social and academic goals could be incompatible?
  • How (and for whom) might maintaining a peripheral identity be seen as an accomplishment?
  • Do peer groups - even gangs - sometimes provide something valuable or meaningful that schools generally do not?
  • How well do curriculum and academic goals honour students' issues of personal meaning and purpose?
  • How do factors such as inherited wealth, cultural capital, patronage or talent shape how we as 'public servants' approach student differences, and how we teach?
  • In terms of motivation and meaning, are students receiving contradictory messages in domestic and public domains? For instance, at home, receiving familial values such as cooperation, compassion, mutual responsibility, respect for elders, and concern for juniors. While at school & work, receiving commercial values promoting rational, non-emotional, calculable choices, punctuality and obedience, limitless expansion of production and wealth, ambition & competition, pragmatism, opportunism, multitasking, and avoidance of moral questions.
  • How do we reconcile institutions and curriculum that presume equality of opportunity, equality of preparation, and equality of social standing with the social realities of class tensions and the differential distribution of status and power between peers and social groups?
In this light, it's worth considering the paragraph from page 369:
“Generally, students are more willing to adopt goals that others set when the goals seem realistic, reasonably difficult, and meaningful … and if good reasons are given about the value of the goals.”
I am thinking about this statement in relation to the kind of apathy which many of us have seen in the schools during first practicum. So ...
  • Who determines what learning and goals are valuable and meaningful for students?
  • How (and why) do we convince students about the meaning and value of institutionalized goals and civic participation, if they are well aware of embedded power differences, and social injustices stemming from race, class, gender, education, ethnicity, labeling, etc., not to mention the (frequently enough) unethical nature of public institutions like government, and commercial monopolies?
--Jcowan (talk) 23:59, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Ya! The paragraph from p.369 about feedback and goal acceptance, I think is one of the most valuable pieces of info in this chapter!

On Goal Acceptance, I programed and facilitated a therapeutic recreation program for seniors with special needs at the YWCA. One session I thought it would be good to teach them about nutrition, 5 food groups- yada- yada, I made a game up and everything! Well one of my participants starts yelling "I'm not doing this, this is boring, you can’t make me…" Can you imagine what kind of effect this would have on the motivation of the other group participants? Lucky for me I recognized that this was not meaningful for my participants and, even though I still wanted to try to motivate them to eat their veggies, I enthusiastically told Nancy that she was right and asked her what her favorite junk food was. After talking about junk food around the group, including myself, we somehow managed to play my healthy choices game- and it was good.

--Lisa chupa (talk) 01:07, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I think to understand the difficulty in motivating students you have to look at why we have to motivate someone. Motivation is the carrot we put in front of someone to get them to do something they would otherwise not do. Although it would be nice to say that people do things for intrinsic reasons, the truth is that people do things that in some way or another give them benefit.
Take something as selfless as giving blood. We give blood to help people that might need it in the future. What could possibly be the motivation for this? Even without monitary benefits of some kind, most people would benefit from the feeling of satisfaction they got from helping others. It also demonstrates why people put voluntary work on their resumes. I don't want to be pessimistic, but I can't think of a activity that people do that doesn't result in them getting something out of it.
So how does this apply to students? Well it seems to me that what we need to do as teachers is express to our students why they go to school, and how they are going to benefit. The students that are academically stable have already done this for themselves, because they realize that school will lead to better things for them. It is the students that are at risk that don't understand how they will benefit from education.
The problem with the at risk students is that they are probably more apt to need immediate gratification for them to be motivated. That is where feedback will be extremely useful. These students need positive feedback all the time so they constantly feel good about what they are doing. It isn't a simple issue though. I'm even going to say it is an issue that I don't have a clue how to combat. I was at a school for at risk kids during my practicum and that was one of my greatest struggles and reason for frustration. The students didn't see how they were going to benefit from an education so they had little reason to make an effort to succeed let alone show up to class.
So how do we motivate those who don't motivate themselves? I don't know. Look at me; I could barely motivate myself to write on wikibooks because I don't see how I'm benefitting from it. Then I realized that it's a significant part of my mark for this class and will ultimately dictate how my transcript looks after I'm finished my B.Ed, so that is why you are reading the words that are in front of you. It was a means to and end. Perhaps if we know the students end or goal is we can motivate them to work towards that goal. I do believe everyone has a goal.
--Hassan (talk) 02:19, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

  • The question of how to motivate our students becomes much more complex at the high school level. Students are not generally motivated by a desire to please or be praised by the teacher, and we can't hold pizza lunches for the students who consistently complete their homework anymore. If students are not motivated by their own desire to succeed or marks, it can be tempting for high school teachers to feel like there is nothing they can do about it. I think the only answer is to ensure that our students see a purpose in what they are doing and feel that their learning is meaningful. This ties in to what Hassan mentioned about students at-risk.
During my practicum, I taught a unit on writing and reading newspaper articles for a grade 12 literacy class. One day, as I was passing around handouts a student asked me that terrifying question: “Why do we have to do this?” You might expect that this student was being rebellious, but his question was actually quite sincere and I think, legitimate. This was his last credit to graduate, which he only needed because he had failed the grade 10 literacy exam. He already worked full-time in construction and was very satisfied with his job, but felt it was important to him to have a high school diploma. All he wanted was an assignment that he saw as practical to his life.
I explained that the assignment would give him an opportunity to develop his writing skills and that communication skills are very important, especially if one day he wanted to run his own construction business. I added that learning to express an opinion allows us to be active citizens. He seemed to appreciate the effort I put into my response, but I don’t think he bought it. In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but agree with him. I think this is where getting to know your students and the idea of backward design really come into play. As educators, we need to figure out the needs of our students, and devise the enduring understandings we want our students to leave with accordingly. Then we can use this as the basis for lessons that our students are actually interested in.
--Malexander (talk) 05:01, 22 January 2008 (UTC)


The Expectancy X Value Theory combines cognitive with behavioral approaches (see below). + *I think to understand the difficulty in motivating students you have to look at why we have to motivate someone. Motivation is the carrot we put in front of someone to get them to do something they would otherwise not do. Although it would be nice to say that people do things for intrinsic reasons, the truth is that people do things that in some way or another give them benefit.

Side Bar: Fixed Mind Set vs. Growth Mind Set + :Take something as selfless as giving blood. We give blood to help people that might need it in the future. What could possibly be the motivation for this? Even without monitary benefits of some kind, most people would benefit from the feeling of satisfaction they got from helping others. It also demonstrates why people put voluntary work on their resumes. I don't want to be pessimistic, but I can't think of a activity that people do that doesn't result in them getting something out of it. In a study of 100 seventh graders, all doing poorly in math, psychologists randomly divided the group into two workshops. The first workshop was given lessons on how to study well. The other taught about the nature of intelligence and the brain. Students in the latter group "learned that the brain actually forms new connections every time you learn something new, and that over time, this makes you smarter.” By the end of the semester, the group who had been taught that the brain can grow smarter had significantly better math grades than the other group. (...Referencing for this study and this quotation are coming. I am contacting the speaker of a workshop who quoted it...) Teacher Tip: Carol Dweck’s Mindsets has a great chapter to use in you classroom describing these functions of the brain.[

  • I agree with the Expectancy x Value Theories that motivation stems from the individual’s expectation of reaching a goal and the value of that goal (p.365). As the textbook mentioned, at the high school level students’ social goals are in constant competition with their schoolwork (p.368). Most of the time students do schoolwork as a result of the extrinsic motivational factors forced upon them. School is seen as an obstruction to life for many students. I believe this is because many subjects fail to establish how the material relates to every day life. Students are unable to identify how the subject material is pertinent to them; therefore it has no value for them.
Assigned coursework helps develop and hone essential skills that are required for students to succeed later on in life. However, the correlation between the work and their lives is never clearly exposed. How many times have students been told, “It will help you later on”. Yes it is true that it will help them later on if life but WHY/HOW! Why not explicitly articulate what skill the activity will develop when introducing a topic or an assignment?
Also, it is important to give students leeway/choices in their assignments so that they can pursue topics that interest them while developing life long skills. In a math class a student could research data on a topic that appeals to them and develop graphs based on their findings. Students could also search through photographs at home and answer geometrical questions based on their photographs. Science students could study the combination of elements in soap and create their own soap–everyone uses soap. In english, history, geography, sociology, anthropology, and the arts the possibilities are limitless. Students want to progress; however, at times the cost of pursuing it is to high.
--Thomas20 (talk) 21:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I'm curious to find out if anyone agrees/disagrees with my understanding of the different types of learners described in the book, specifically those supposedly dreaded ego-involved learners. Wouldn't everyone in some way be considered an ego-involved learner in some respect, simply because self-actualization, getting good grades, receiving appreciation, and whatever kind of goal/reward associated with motivation is already tied to the ego right from the start? Cheating from tests, for example, could be motivated by something else outside of personal satisfaction/selfishness (i.e. maybe the student is worried he/she might get in trouble with his/her parents if he/she fails a test, maybe the student is ill/did not study hard enough but needs the grade to pass the course, etc.). And characteristics such as "seeks attention for good performance", "works hard on only graded assignments" , and "chooses tasks most likely to result in positive evaluations" sounds a lot like the entire Secondary School student body to me. Does that mean I should anticipate getting entirely ego-driven learners in school who won't lift a finger/make an effort if it doesn't benefit them first? I surely hope not.
--Irenedongas (talk) 20:32, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Feedback and Goal Acceptance make goal setting effective.

Feedback: to achieve a goal, students must have an understanding of where they are and how to get where they want to be. When feedback tells the student that their effort falls short of the goal and tells them how to improve, the student can exert more effort and has a better understanding of what to do. When feedback describes accomplishment in relation to goals, the student can feel satisfied and competent, which in turn, would boost their self-confidence. + :--Irenedongas (talk) 20:32, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Goal Acceptance: students can only achieve goals that they willingly accept; generally, students are more willing to adopt goals that seem realistic, reasonably difficult, and meaningful to them.

Interests and Emotions (pp. 370-375) edit

Do interests and emotions affect learning?

Researchers say that emotion (hot cognition) can contribute to learning and the processing of information (Woolfolk et al., 370). Students are more likely to be engaged, to learn, and remember material that provokes appropriate emotional responses or that relates to their personal interests. It is important to balance the inclusion of "seductive details" (interesting bits of information that are not central to learning) into lessons/activities becaues this can hinder learning.

Two kinds of interests:

  • Personal interests: These are enduring/lasting aspects of the person, such as an interest in astronomy, music, or ancient history. These interests will continue.
  • Situational interests: These are more short-lived aspects of the activity, text, or materials that catch and keep the students attention.

What is the role of arousal in learning?

  • Related to curiosity, which motivates a person to pursue information they lack and are deprived of
  • We can thus increase arousal by stimulating curiosity
  • One way to do this is through using a variety of approaches: "individuals are naturally motivated to seek novelty, surprise and complexity."
  • Note that arousal can be too high for optimum learning. Severe anxiety is an example of arousal that is too high for optimal learning.
  • Generally, higher arousal is helpful on simple tasks and less arousal is better for complex tasks.

How does anxiety interfere with learning?

Anxiety has been described as feelings of uneasiness, self-doubt and tension (Woolfolk, Winne and Perry, 373). This feeling can hinder a student's ability to learn in school at three levels: focusing attention, learning, and demonstrating learning on assessment (Woolfolk et al., 374). In order for students to learn new material, they must pay attention. The dilemma that students experiencing anxiety face is that their attention is split between the new material and their internal worries. The majority of their attention is given to thoughts about failure, being criticized and feelings of embarrassment (Woolfolk et al., 374). For instance, during my practice teaching I encountered one student who was identified with anxiety problems and this was seen quite clearly in the time I spent with him. Every time that I would conduct my lesson, I made sure to be clear and thorough. But with my one anxious student, I was never quite clear enough. After every lesson he would approach me, in his own nervous way, and ask for the transparency notes so that he could copy them down, or he would ask me to repeat the expectations of an assignment over again, after I had already repeated them TEN times prior for the entire class. The one thing that I realized with this student was that I had to offer him individual attention and I did this later on in my practicum by photocopying notes that the rest of the class had to copy down and copying homework questions down for him because he could not focus long enough to do it himself. Thankfully, my strategy worked, and I think I helped to lower his anxiety levels.

Unlike this student that I encountered, some students are able to pay attention. However, even when students with anxiety do pay attention, they still experience difficulty learning new material that is disorganized and challenging -specifically material that requires them to recall material from memory (Woolfolk et al., 374). These students also tend to focus their attention on insignificant details of the material and miss the most important facts of the material (Woolfolk et al., 374). Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel for students with anxiety. They are capable of learning material and they can become knowledgeable in whatever they have learned, however some cannot demonstrate this on tests as they may "blank out" on test day due to their anxiety (Woolfolk et al., 374).

It may be difficult to understand sometimes why a student experiences anxiety over a certain task, assignment, or subject, and for this every teacher should be available to the student and open to hear what their concerns may be. If, for example, a student experiences trouble or difficulty in group presentations because he or she has difficulty speaking in large groups, the teacher needs to be sensitive to this challenge for the individual student. Of course, it may be difficult sometimes to believe whether the student is sincere about their anxiety (or whether it is just an excuse to get out of a presentation) but teachers should not force their students to become big-time performers or presenters and put them on the spot when they would learn more effectively by doing something else. In my own teaching practice experience, I found that a lot of students shied away from presentations but because they were forced to do one in a group, there would be one speaker, and the rest would mumble. In individual presentations, there was a lot of reading on projection, a lot of mumbling, and in one of my classes the boy just completely backed out at the last minute and would not present. He was very shy, and every subsequent class he would say that he couldn't find his powerpoint presentation, but had this handy, neat essay ready to submit in its stead. My teacher chastised him (alone, in her office) for failing to produce a presentation, and said that the ability to do presentations is essential to his opportunities in future careers. I have heard this statement many times before, but does it really apply? What if that boy wants to become a skilled carpenter, tool and dye maker, computer technician, or even a writer? How often do carpenters, technicians, or writers have to make powerpoint presentations? There are a myriad of career options available to the shy dude or dame, and teachers should motivate their students to expand their repertoire without being imposing. In the end, the boy did fail the presentation, but the teacher made a separate mark for him, to allow for his well-written and researched essay.

Coping with Anxiety (pg. 376)

  • Students with anxiety often select extremely difficult or extremely easy tasks. Thus, teachers should guide anxious students to set realistic short- and long-term goals (Woolfolk et al., 374).
  • Teachers should eliminate time limits on important tests because students with anxiety will often make careless errors for fear of not finishing in time.
  • Avoid situations in which highly anxious students will have to perform in front of large groups.
  • Make sure that all instructions are clear. Uncertainty leads to anxiety.
  • Teach students self-regulation strategies.

  • In my own experience, I found that the reason why students were not motivated to learn was due to a lack of engagement/interest into what was being taught. For example, when I was teaching my class a lesson on tones and semitones, the students’ attention and interest seemed to dwindle, to say the least. However, I then infused modern-day musical examples to explain the differences between tones and semitones (such as playing the Jaws theme on the piano), and the students responded well. As teachers, we have to make learning fun and inspire curiosity/inquiry into our students. Especially with the arts, we can easily focus our lessons around the interests of our students by relating our lessons to pop culture, for example. However, in a subject such as math or science, creating a relevant curriculum or lesson might be difficult. Making your lessons relevant and interesting to students will increase their level of engagement, which in turn, will keep them motivated to learn and discover.
On the other hand however, if we focus on including “seductive details” (pg. 373) into our lessons, are we diverting the attention of our students to less meaningful ideas? For example, if we are teaching students about Vincent Van Gogh and mention how he cut off his left ear, would students remember this detail or the fact that Van Gogh was one of the leading post-impressionist artists? Thus, if we focus on what is “interesting” for the sake student engagement, are we weeding out information that is valuable for students to know?
How can we find a balance between incorporating a student’s interests into the lesson, while still ensuring that they are learning what is valuable and meaningful? Thoughts, ideas, comments?
--Colillis (talk) 19:41, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
How can we find a balance between incorporating a student’s interests into the lesson, while still ensuring that they are learning what is valuable and meaningful?
  • This may be cheesy of me to say, but I think the best way to achieve this coveted balance is to create a lesson (or choose a piece, monologue etc.) with lots of depth and possibility for exploration. First of all, this will usually give the students some options in terms of their own learning – so even if an individual is not interested in the general “topic” of the lesson he/she will still be able to latch onto something valuable/meaningful.
During my practicum, providing students with options was something I used with great success. In our grade 12 English classroom, the students’ final assignment with me was to create a blog. While many were initially sceptical about they idea, they warmed to the concept once they realized they could essentially express themselves in any form and about anything. The assignment had guidelines, of course, but I tried to design it so that – while adhering to certain criteria - the students had as much control over their own actions as they desired.
On another note, I think emotions can be a powerful way to make a particular topic, lesson or song – just to name a few examples - more meaningful to our students. While the motivation behind a particular feeling – be it anger, sadness, or any number of things – may be different for everything person, the emotion itself is something everyone can relate to and I’ve found that understanding something on an emotional level can really increase students’ engagement and motivation to participate in a particular endeavour.
I also think the principle of backward design comes into play here. Often students are disengaged in the learning experience because there’s no “point” to the lesson/test/assignment etc. If the teacher designs a lesson or unit with a larger goal in mind (ie. increase students’ awareness of and sensitivity to cultures other than their own) not only will he/she be better able to design the lesson, he/she will also be able to “justify” the lesson to his/her students. I don’t know how many times during my practicum I had students say, “Miss, why do we need to do this?!” Unfortunately, while teachers may instinctively feel that something is valuable, we may not always be able to articulate why this is the case. Thus, having a larger goal in mind – of knowledge that we want students to take with them throughout their lives – is valuable on a long-term basis to both the students and the teacher.

--Ayanda (talk) 00:19, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I'd like to follow up on a comment made in the previous post regarding the difficulty of creating interesting and emotionally engaging lessons in the maths and sciences. Last year, my math professor, Ron Lancaster, received the "Professor of the Year" award for his ability to encourage this exact kind of teaching within the math field. One of his assignments is to create a series of math questions based on real world things, which he calls viewing the outside with a "mathematical lens". In effect, rather than leaving students to feel completely disconnected as to the relevance of their subject material, this at least gives students a basic connection to that which they are learning.
Another aspect of his pedagogy is the "catchy opener" that, while not necessarily always reflecting the proceeding lesson 100%, aims at grabbing kids' attention at the beginning. Videos, games, pictures, news articles, social justice issues, or any other types of things rooted in the outside world, and described in the context of math, make for an excellent example. I think these strategies are completely possible and they enable emotional interest, even in the math classroom.
--JonathanisFTMFW (talk) 17:02, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Harp and Mayer state that the aim at increasing emotional interest failed to improve understanding- that “seductive details” interfered with the student’s comprehension. They conclude, “The best way to help students enjoy a passage is to help them understand it”. (Pg. 373)
To elaborate on the question pose by Colillis, we can incorporate a student’s interest into the curriculum by doing just that, plain and simple. Seductive details can be used as part of an introduction to the unit- so that we may “hook” that student’s attention, in order to prepare them to receive vital information.
For example, during practicum I was responsible for teaching students Early Christian & Byzantine Art History, it was suggested that I provide the students with a HEAP the juicy details of Theodora’s life, however I failed to see the relevance of teaching students unimportant information for purely entertainment value. I sifted through their text, condensed it, and then designed an interactive game that we played in class. I found that the students were engaged and enjoyed the competition. This was a great way to spark their interest in the unit but I definitely felt the need to follow-up with an assignment & in-class activity in order to provide them with an in-depth understanding. FOR THEIR ASSIGNMENT: I had the students identify the characteristics and symbolism of Early Christian and Byzantine Art and then they had to create a painting using signs & symbols, which represented “the self”. Having the kids learn the information and then apply their knowledge is a great way to test for understanding while giving them the freedom to express themselves and enjoy the material being taught.
SIDE NOTE: Students often experience learned helplessness, especially if with previous experiences they felt a lack of control or failure.
How do we help these children rise above obstacles and stay motivated? (Pg.380)
--SuzieQ (talk) 20:13, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Someone I know, who is perpetually intent on summing up the world in a nutshell (you know the type) insists that "intelligence is finding interest." Nothing, of course, is ever that simple, but I do find a lot of value in it as a pedagogical guide. As educators we are working to develop and expand students' (multiple) intelligences, not just to satisfy immediate curricular requirements, but to build skills for life-long learning and achievement. In developing engaging lesson plans and facilitating access to course material, are we not also modeling ways in which to find interest that may well inform students' future learning strategies?
I do agree that we need to avoid putting on a dog and pony show at the expense of content, if for no other reason than that students will feel patronized by it, and possibly even interpret it as a comment on their lack of ability (see p.364). However, there are multiple ways to stimulate interest, from the simple to the complex, and these can be utilized at different stages in the unit. We just need to maintain awareness of what knowledges and skills are being engaged through our various strategies.
Another point to keep in mind is that some interest-based pedagogical strategies may effect motivation for socio/cultural reasons that lie outside of the curricular aims of the course. For example, biographical information about female mathematicians may not be relevant to the equation at hand, but could very well encourage young women to find interest in pursuing math as a subject.
--Tearney (talk) 17:16, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I absolutely agree with Tearney - while 'seductive details' may not be linked specifically with curriculum expectations, they can certainly encourage interest in a subject area, and hopefully lead to a lifelong interest in learning.
When I read this part of the text, I thought back to a great alternative school I attended in grades 7 and 8. Many subjects were taught using games, role-playing and other 'fun' methods, and I remember enjoying my time there more than at any other school. So what DO I remember from that time? Do I only remember the fun parts and none of the important information? Do I remember any dates of historical events, math formulas or geographic locations? I don't. I also don't think it matters. What I gained from that experience was a love of learning - which will last far longer than mere bits of information.
If we can foster a love of learning in our students (by making lessons fun), this will lead to skills and traits that will serve them well in any arena - not just school. When you love what you're doing you generally work harder and achieve more, which leads to a boost in self-confidence.
Is the point of education really to ensure that students remember pertinent details? Wouldn't you rather that your students understand overall concepts, and develop important personal skills such as a good work ethic and self-confidence? Really - if kids need to know a quick fact these days - they can Google it.

--Littlelaura (talk) 22:06, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Absolutely! How does a good story (or any piece of art) work? Art is all about seductive details, or, as I prefer to call them, points of access. A writer--I don't remember who it was--said something along these lines, "if you've got something serious to say, you better make it funny". Though I don't always agree with this, I do get the point. Further, I think the point is relevant to teaching, extremely relevant when it comes to things like differentiated teaching strategies which cater to diverse aptitudes in an effort to make every lesson as accessible as possible to all the students in a classroom. In that vein, wouldn't an auditory learner (and latter-life pedegogical academic) find visual and/or kinesthetic learning activities to be superfluous seductive details.
--Jameso'reilly (talk) 05:05, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Self Schemas (pp. 375-384) edit

How do beliefs about ability affect motivation?

Adults use 2 basic concepts of ability:

  • Entity view: Ability is unchangeable. (What we're born with is what we have.)
    • Students with learning disabilities are more likely to have this view
    • Causes students to set 'performance goals' rather than 'learning goals' to avoid looking stupid
    • Causes students to avoid putting in too much effort - to work hard and fail is devastating
    • Students with this view tend to stick to tasks that they can do well
    • Teachers with this view are more likely to make judgments about students and keep them, even in face of contradictory evidence
  • Incremental view: Ability is a set of skills that can be changed and improved.
    • Young students tend to have this view, believing that working hard and being smart are the same thing
    • At about 10 or 11 years of age students begin to see the difference between effort and ability, and this begins to affect motivation
    • Students with this view set goals to improve skills
    • Students with this view see failure as meaning more work is needed, not as a threat to their ability

What is self-efficacy, and how is it different from other self-schemas?

Self-efficacy refers to the beliefs about our personal competence or effectiveness in a given area. This is more future oriented than other self-schemas, and refers to a person's assessment of his/her ability to complete a specific task.

Self-concept is broader, referring to a variety of perceptions about the self, including self-efficacy. Self-concept develops through comparing oneself to others and comparing one's own abilities in different areas with each other.

Here are some key differences between self-efficacy and self-concept:

  • Self-efficacy is a strong predictor of behaviour, while self-concept is less so

What are the sources of self-efficacy, and how does efficacy affect motivation?

There are 4 sources of self-efficacy:

1)Mastery Experiences

  • Our own direct experiences - most powerful source of self-efficacy

2)Physiological and Emotional Arousal

  • Affects self-efficacy through the attitude the student has going into the task
  • Anxiety would lower self-efficacy, while looking forward to a task would heighten self-efficacy

3)Vicarious Experiences

  • Accomplishments modelled by someone else
  • Children may rely more on this than on mastery experiences
  • The better the model does on the task, the higher the student's self-efficacy
  • Vicarious experiences are more effective when the student can identify closely with the model

4)Social Persuasion

  • A pep talk or performance feedback
  • Can't create enduring increases in self-efficacy, but can motivate students to try new things or try harder
  • Can counter self-doubt, but effect depends on the trustworthiness and expertise of the persuaders

How does self-determination affect motivation?

  • self determination is the need to experience choice and control in what we do and how we do it
  • self determination = intrinsic motivation = greater interest and achievement
  • teachers can help develop

How does self-worth influence motivation?

  • There are 3 kinds of motivational sets: mastery-oriented, failure-avoiding, and failure accepting
  • Mastery-oriented students have an incremental view and tend to set learning goals. Their self-worth is not tied to success or failure, so these students are able to deal constructively with performance outcomes
  • Failure-avoiding students have an entity view and tend to set performance goals. Their self-worth is tied to how well they perform, and thus failure is not seen as an opportunity to improve
  • Failure-accepting students also have an entity view, but do not set any goals. These students give up and are likely to become depressed and apathetic

Define motivation to learn.

  • The tendency to find academic activities meaningful and worthwhile and to try to benefit from them
  • Can be both a general trait and a situation-specific state
  • Includes positive views about learning, and constructive strategies towards learning
  • Three goals for teachers: start by creating a state of motivation, then help students develop the trait of being motivated, and finally encourage them to participate deeply and actively and become thoughtful

  • According to Stipek, people with learning disabilities are more likely to hold an entity view rather than an incremental view of ability. I believe other factors contribute to a person's view of ability. My brother has a learning disability. When he was in elementary school, he would come home from school frustrated because he could not read, no matter how hard he tried. His classmates all assumed he was unintelligent and would often isolate him from the group. Fortunately, my mother could see my brother's interest and had confidence in him. She helped him adapt to his learning disabilities. Aware of his interests, she was able to find appropriate books and resources to motivate him. Eventually, he developed his own learning style and gained confidence in his abilities. He is now finishing his Masters degree in computer engineering. If it wasn't for my mother's hard work and dedication, I believe my brother would have easily fallen into the "entity view" mindset and given up on his education. I remember him telling me that he just didn't think like everyone else, he was never going to make it through school. He was listening to his peers negative comments and comparing his abilities. Thankfully, my mother could see his great potential. As a result, my brother had strong support from my family- encouraging him to pursue his interests and trust his abilities. Without a doubt, my brother is now working in with an "incremental view of ability." As a teacher, it is imperative to never undermine a student by categorizing them. Perhaps they are struggling in your class, but at home, they are tearing apart a computer and creating a new design. Challenge yourself by getting to know each student and truly support them in their passions.
--Belshawm (talk) 17:06, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
  • “Jere Brophy describes motivation to learn as ‘a student tendency to find academic activities meaningful and worthwhile and to try to derive the intended academic benefits from them. Motivation to learn can be construed as both a general trait and a situation-specific state.’” To accomplish this, teachers should pursue three goals: to create a state of motivation in the classroom, help students develop the trait of motivation to learn, to invite students to be active learner and be thoughtful about what they study. This presents the teacher with some major challenges, how do you get students to be motivated about learning? There is not an easy answer, but allowing the students some say in the material that they cover is one first and important step. By drawing on themes or topics that students are already engaged in learning about, they will likely be more motivated to complete any task related to it. Also, by teaching skills and techniques that students feel are valuable to learn and know in the future, possibly to accomplish one of their own personal goals will create a more motivated environment. But most importantly, to motivate your students you must create authentic tasks; i.e. task that have some connection to a real-life problem the students may face outside the classroom. If a student feels that the subject matter is relevant to his/her personal life, they will be motivated to find out more. Once there is this state of motivation in the classroom, it is essential that students have opportunity to become independent learners and seek knowledge from outside that classroom environment. This can easily be accomplished by assigning students an independent project that can be related to a subject of their choosing. Also, to get students to be thoughtful about what they study, having them keep a journal and allowing class time for personal reflection is very important to engaging the students. Often times, students will come into class, regurgitate the information they needs to and then leave. Encouraging them to form opinions and reflect on the meaning of what they are doing will help to motivate them to accomplish the tasks. If the student can find a personal importance for the subject matter being covered, they will want to learn.

--Ajlaflamme (talk) 13:23, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

On TARGET for Learning (pp. 384-391) edit

TARGET is an acronym outlining the six areas of a teacher’s decision making that influences student motivation. Tasks Autonomy Responsibility / Recognition Grouping Evaluation Time


There are three different types of tasks which can be either interesting or boring for students depending on their individual values: 'Attainment value' - the importance of doing well, 'Intrinsic or interest value' - the enjoyment of the activity itself, 'Utility value' - achieving a short or long-term goal

  • Encourage instruction that relates to students' backgrounds and expertise
  • Avoid monetary or other forms of payment for attendance, grades, or achievement
  • Foster goal setting and self-regulation
  • Assign authentic tasks
  • Have a wide range of visitors from careers related to the subject come in and offer a workshop or share their experience

Autonomy / Responsibility

  • Give alternatives in making assignments
  • Ask for student comments on school life and take them seriously
  • Encourage students to take initiative and evaluate their own learning
  • Establish leadership opportunities for all students
  • During the introduction of an assignment, have the students create a rubric all together with the teacher in class, and use that rubric in their assessment

"...[C]ompared to controlling teachers, autonomy-supporting teachers listened more, resisted solving problems for students, gave fewer directives, and asked more questions about what students wanted to do."


  • Utilize and foster an appreciation of "personal best" awards
  • Reduce emphasis on "honour rolls"
  • Recognize and publicize a wide range of students’ school-related activities


  • Provide opportunities for cooperative learning, problem solving, and decision-making
  • Encourage multiple group membership to increase range of peer interaction
  • Eliminated ability-grouped classes


  • Reduce emphasis on social comparisons of achievement
  • Give students opportunities to improve their performance
  • Establish grading/reporting practices that portray student progress in learning
  • Encourage student participation in the evaluative process


  • Allow students to progress at their own rate whenever possible
  • Encourage flexibility in the scheduling of learning experiences
  • Utilize block schedules, when possible, to increase time for engaged and persistent learning

Authentic Performance Tasks

(Gini-Newman, G. (2008, January 15). Using Authentic Assessment to Nurturing Critically Thoughtful Students. [OISE/UT Workshop.] Toronto, ON.)

Authentic: Simulating life outside of school and having an audience beyond the teacher and classmates.

Performance Task: A task which requires students demonstrate their learning through a performance or the creation of a product.

What do authentic performance tasks do and why are they effective?

  • Ask students to perform, create or produce
  • Tap into higher-level thinking and problem solving skills
  • Place emphasis on process (assessing both the process and the final product)
  • Change the meaning of knowing and being skilled (it is not about gathering isolated facts but rather applying knowledge)
  • Contextualize learning
  • Recognizes the various abilities and talents of students

Examples of Authentic Performance Tasks for a I/S History Class

  • Create a sandcastle/snow sculpture of architecture that encapsulates a civilization and call local media
  • Create a War of 1812 commemorative project of your choice
  • Create a Life Box from New France
  • Re-create cranium using the grade curriculum
  • Create a visual alternative time line of Canadian history
  • Design a castle to specs
  • Put a historical character on trial (re-try Louis Riel, William Lyon Mackenzie – hero or traitorous rebel?)
  • Host an ancient Greek symposium
  • Take the headlines from newspapers from the past year and have the student's vote on which ones were "historical events"

Examples of Authentic Performance Tasks for a I/S Visual Art Class

  • Create an album cover for their favorite musician's albums or a book cover for their favorite book
  • Design a website for that art class' own "blog site", with rotating editors and writers in the class
  • Create posters for the school play, or certain events in the community
  • Create artwork around the school, rotating throughout the year, on a number of school-related issues (i.e. discrimination, bullying, pollution, etc.)
  • Have the class collaborate on a theme or title for a gallery show, and have all the students create one individual piece to go with the show's thesis
  • Apply the student's ability to be critical visual thinkers by designing an anti-magazine, complete with photo spreads, commentary, and anti-ads (not dissimilar to ad busters)
  • Tie current events that interest them to the art projects, using their artwork as social commentary (i.e. on the re-vamping of T.O., on the destruction of the wall in Gaza, etc.)

Grouping, Evaluation, and Time

Goal Structures: The way in which students relate to others who are also working toward a particular goal.

Cooperative : "I reach my goals only if others reach theirs"

  • Can lead to higher achievement than competition by;
  • Learn to see from another person's point of view
  • Enhance relations among different people in classrooms
  • Increase self-esteem, and willingness to help fellow students
  • Teams-Games-Tournaments: Competition in a tournament game between number of groups where each group works cooperatively.

Competitive : "I reach my goals only if others do not reach theirs"

Individualistic : "Reaching my goals is unrelated to others achievements"

Effects of evaluation

  • Too much emphasis on evaluation and grading can lead students to focus on performance goals rather than mastery.
  • Teachers should emphasize 'understanding' than 'finishing'

Effects of time pressure

  • Teachers should not force the students to work faster or slower since it can interfere motivation
  • Train the students to engaged and persistent learning (EX: DEAR - Drop Everything And Read)

  • I have an example that 'the number of students in a group' and 'the method of conducting the competition between the groups' is crucial when applying Teams-Games-Tournaments.
During my practicum, I tried to adapt the Teams-Games-Tournaments into a Music History Jeopardy in Grade 9 band class.
Since the class was so big (about 50 students in a class), I divided them up into four groups of 12-14 students. The rule of the game was that when each questions shows up on the screen, the first group that raises their hands will get the chance to answer the question. Then the following problems occurred;
  • Only two or three strong students were participating, while the others just seat back and watch.
  • The groups were too big to have a discussion
  • It was hard to be fair to all groups since I could not see which group raised their hand first.
The class was a disaster; those disengaged students were talking; and students were complaining that I was not fair to every group by favouring one group.
Fortunately, I had three Grade 9 band classes a day (in same sizes) so I could do better in the second and third class by fixing the problems. The rule that I learned was "Do not make a group more than four students for a classroom work", and "Make sure to set fair rule and procedures for the game that everyone can agree".
--GraceHa (talk) 22:56, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I really like the idea of fostering “personal best” awards and reducing the emphasis on “honour rolls”. I have been thinking about the idea of placing more emphasis on the progress of the student as it relates to evaluation in visual art, or the arts in general. I am just not sure how one would go about this type of assessment. I imagine that you would have to establish a base line ability for each student, which would involve more diagnostic assessment…it sounds complicated. Any ideas?
--Lisa chupa (talk) 01:30, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • In music, we have been talking about how to measure growth by using rubrics. The idea is that you would have the students play their test piece in September, record it and use a rubric. The following day you would have the students listen to their test (individually) and discuss their rubric with them - give them a copy of this rubric, and make a copy for yourself. Then, use the same rubric for each playing test but mark it in a different colour. Follow the same 'reflecting' process as before in order to show students their growth. At the end of the semester/year, you can have them listen and compare their first playing test with their last.
--Winchell (talk) 04:49, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • That sounds like a great idea. In effect, the students are competing with themselves. The cynic in me wonders if that system might be corrupted by mark-oriented students who might purposely under-perform their initial piece because they realize that their final mark will be judged relative to their progress. Just a thought, and a nasty one at that...though not beyond the realm of possibility.
--Jameso'reilly (talk) 05:17, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Another thought, as it relates to evaluation, specifically the sidebar on Authentic Tasks. Garfield made a few great points during his presentation.
  • Evaluation should serve students, not teachers looking to justify themselves on Parent-Teacher Night, meaning that a poor mark should come with an opportunity for the student to either redo or modify an already-evaluated assignment for a better mark.
  • Failure should be destigmatized by having the students "fail forward", that is, by grading the product (the essay, the project, whatever) independent of the process (rough drafts, notes, sketch), so that a failure of the final product does not sink the whole assignment. Also, an evaluation of the entire timeline filled by any one project may offer the student a good idea of where they might have gone astray in their process and offer them the chance to fix it for credit.
--Jameso'reilly (talk) 05:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Bringing it all together: Strategies to Encourage Motivation and Thoughtful Learning (pp. 391-396) edit

What four conditions must exist in a classroom so that motivational strategies can be successful?

What can teachers do to motivate students?

1. Necessary Classroom Conditions

  • Organized classroom
  • Free from interruptions
  • Safe-to-fail environment
  • Challenging but reasonable work
  • Authentic, worthwhile tasks

Staying Focused on the Task

When students face challenges with their work, they will often lose focus. It is important to help students keep this focus so they will still be motivated to learn. These are some tips to focus learning:

1. Give students frequent opportunities to respond through questions, short assignments, demonstration of skills

2. Have students create a finished product

3. Avoid heavy emphasis on grades and competition

4. Reduce the risk of the task, without oversimplifying the task

5. Model your own motivation to learn

6. Teach the learning tasks that will help students with the material

“[T]he classroom must be relatively organized and free from constant interruptions and disruptions.” (391)

It seems like a no-brainer, but so many teachers I’ve come across leave the door open to their classroom. Maybe for the first few minutes of class to let in the late students, but for the most part there will always be wandering students/teachers in the halls and they will distract your class’ attention (especially if one of the students walking the halls has a friend in your class). Move around the classroom and get students conscious that you’ve got eyes on them (kind of like what our class felt when we had M.Tudor visit our class). For teachers in the Arts, you can decorate and have motivational/inspirational things in your class, but in one area, especially the work area (i.e. the desks, near the instruments/tools) everything should look clean and organized. Students are great at catching weaknesses in teachers and taking advantage of them, and if they get the impression that you’re disorganized or scattered, then the motivation to keep their own notes/things from your class will not be strong.

2. Encouraging and Understanding Teachers

  • The classroom should be an environment where it is safe to make a mistake, and no student should feel embarrassed or singled out for such reasons
  • The teacher should be flexible and patient enough to let the small things (individual disruptions) slide off their shoulders and not distract them from motivating and keeping the rest of the class focused

“[T]he teacher must be a patient, supportive person who never embarrasses students for mistakes.” (391)

Teachers are not meant to embarrass anyone in their class, although embarrassing yourself can offer some comic relief for the students and show the class that you’re willing to show some flaws and not take yourself too seriously, especially when you make a mistake. In regards to patience and support, it is important to remember your students and how they act; sometimes you need to let the talkative boy just let things out at the beginning of class in order to keep his attention throughout the rest of your lesson, or when you have a student who is upset/preoccupied with something else and is not focusing, give them a few extra minutes to regroup and come back to you and your lesson. Sometimes students really need just a few minutes of buffer time, where their mind just processes things, in order to be truly focused for those precious “teaching” minutes in the class. On my practicum I came across a teacher who fit into her lesson about 5-10 minutes buffer time at the beginning of her class so that late people and chatty people can do their thing and let it out right at the start, so that the remaining 60 minutes were all hers. From what I saw it worked out pretty well, because it showed the class that she understood that their social needs, etc. are important to them and by giving them a little they should return the favour.

3. Challenging but Realistic Workload

  • The work should not be too easy nor too difficult; create a range of difficulty levels in your class workload so that everyone has the opportunity to be challenged and succeed in completing the task.

4. Make the Tasks Authentic

  • As described earlier in the book, authentic tasks increase individual intrinsic motivation because the interest level is higher and students can relate the task to their own lives and/or pursuits.

"Can I do it?" How to Build Student Confidence

  • Start at the students level and move up with small goals they can achieve one at a time
  • Keep the goals clear, focused, and attainable over time, with a range of levels in difficulty
  • Emphasize self-reflection rather than comparison with the progress of others
  • Express to students that their abilities can improve and that each success/failure is relative to the specific task and not reflective of their capabilities overall

Motivating Circumstances

  • In a competitive society, motivation is often mistaken for ambition. Furthermore, ambition is viewed as a choice and a virtue rather than a trait dependent on personality. Within a school environment, this notion is problematic because its implication is that lack of motivation is a surefire indicator of indolence and poor character. For decades, teachers have placed blame on underachieving students for being lazy and unwilling. Such assertions are poorly informed and do little to improve the students’ sense of self-efficacy. (p 377) Consider, for example, the case of specialized learners who may fear putting forth effort in activities they associate with failure. They may withhold effort deliberately in order to avoid embarrassment and personal disappointment. This is in line with Bernard Weiner’s concept of controlability, where a perceived lack of ability perpetuates feelings of hopelessness, withdrawal and declining performance. (p 363)
Motivation is not a matter of choice because every person would naturally choose to belong and be successful. Rather, motivation is an outcome, dependent on factors such as security, inclusiveness and achievement. First of all, students require a supportive learning environment, where mistakes are ok and effort does not equal risk. (p 391) Secondly, students respond well when their strengths are recognized, encouraging them to utilize their best-honed skills (multiple intelligences). Finally, students are motivated by experiences of success. Authentic accomplishment can serve as a foundation for the development of higher order needs, nurturing an increasingly intrinsic motivation to learn. (p 392, 362, 359) For a student who has previously struggled with mathematics, a newfound proficiency in geometry can bring tremendous satisfaction and a strong desire to continue understanding. (“I enjoy understanding.” – George Costanza) Real sparks happen when students realize that favourable results are attainable.
Despite the wealth of insight available on the topic, motivating others remains a challenging task. In order to succeed, teachers must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of their students.
--Artursedov (talk) 03:30, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I found that motivation techniques are tough things to tack down. Every student has different factors that motivate them, as detailed above, but how do we cast a wide enough net to engage as many students as possible? I think these four strategies outline many effective ways to motivate students, and I’ve seen them in practice many times during my practicum and volunteer teaching experiences.
I’ve seen many teachers whose love of learning is infectious for students. These teachers either take an interest in the material being taught, or have adapted something that they feel strongly about into the curriculum. In both my practicum experiences, for example, my ATs felt very strongly that the graphic novel should be included in the English curriculum, so they incorporated graphic novels into their classes as a form of media literacy, or just to get the students started along the path to enjoying reading. These teachers’ enthusiasm was infectious, and because the teachers were genuinely interested in the material, the students picked up on this, and were interested in finding out more about literacy.
I myself found that the teacher can act as a powerful motivational force for groups. In my drama practicum, there was a group having difficulties working together to rehearse their children’s play. They weren’t invested in the characters, nor did they seem to have any energy at all. I put myself into the rehearsal, in the role of a student who was absent that day, in the hopes that in putting myself in role in the play, the students could pick up on my energy. I was happy to see that they did, and after I rehearsed with them for a while, when I left them to rehearse on their own, I found that they had a stronger sense of focus, and were more energetic in their rehearsal.
A motivated, energetic and consistent teacher, who demonstrates to the students that they care about the class, and genuinely interested in making an engaging classroom, cause students to be motivated to understand the course material. An inconsistent instructor may hinder the comprehension of even an entire class full of the most energetic, outgoing, friendly and gifted individuals.

--Chareth Cutestory (talk) 04:06, 8 April 2008 (UTC)