How the Hell Do We Motivate These Kids?
It seems like some students are just impossible to motivate. The problem is that as schools we provide a lot of extrinsic motivators such as praise, rewards, incentive plans, and the biggest culprit, grades. These work OK if a student is motivated by such factors, but even if they are, these extrinsic motivators become like a carrot and without them, students will not learn for the sake of learning. This manifests itself when students memorize the material long enough to take the test, but then have forgotten it the following week.
What if instead, we as educators tapped into an intrinsic motivation that will not only encourage students to do the work, it will provide them with an enduring understanding of what it is they are learning? This intrinsic motivation is affected by what is known as goal valuation. This is how important, how interesting, and/or how attainable the learning is for them. Some students need one of these, some two, and others need all three before they are willing to give an effort. What if the way we set up our lessons allowed the teacher to address all three of these intrinsic motivators? These goal valuations can be focused on by making sure lessons contain the six phases of motivation. They are:
If you structure your lessons to include these phases, you will have met the needs of your students, and thus they will be more likely to be engaged in the learning.
Todd Stanley is the author of many teacher-education books including Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students (2nd edition), Promoting Rigor Through Higher-Level Questioning¨, and How the Hell Do We Motivate These Kids? With over 25 years in education, he served as a classroom teacher for 18 years and is currently the gifted coordinator for Pickerington Schools. Follow him @the_gifted_guy or visit www.thegiftedguy.com.