Motivating Middle School Students 1

Motivating Middle School
 What do you believe to be the most
important things in the lives of the
students that you assist?
 What do you think motivates students?
Did you come up with
answers like these?
 What’s important?
How they look in
front of their peers
 Extracurricular
 What motivates?
Fun activities
Being with friends
If the subject is
 If the topic is relevant
 Getting good grades
 Motivation – or lack-there-of – is very often
the difference between a student passing or
failing. Smart students can fall flat on their
faces because they aren’t motivated to study
or complete assignments. On the other side
of the coin, students who aren’t academically
gifted can excel because of their willingness
and determination to learn
Cognitive Theory and
 As people learn, they mentally organize new information.
 Therefore, it is important to present material in an organized
 Learning is more likely to occur when people associate new
material with previously learned material.
 Therefore, we must help students relate new information to
old information.
 Students control their own learning by being mentally involved in
the classroom.
 Therefore, we need to monitor students to ensure they are
paying attention, thinking, and processing.
Why are kids unmotivated?
There are a myriad of reasons. But one
of the influencing factors is society itself.
Has society changed that much?
So what has changed?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau data
released Tuesday September 13th, 2011, the
nation's poverty rate rose to 15.1% (46.2 million)
in 2010, up from 14.3% (approximately 43.6
million) in 2009 and to its highest level since
Children represent a disproportionate share of the
poor in the United States; they are 24 percent of
the total population, but 36 percent of the poor
population. In 2010, 16.4 million children, or 22.0
percent, were poor.
What else?
 According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their
Child Support: 2007, released by the U.S. Census Bureau
in November, 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million
single parents in the United States today, and those
parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children
(approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S.
 There has been a marked increase in the trend of children
living with a single parent which is seen from changes
observed in the U.S. Census report from years 1960 to
2000 when children dependent on a single parent jumped
from 9% to 28% respectively.
 As many as 3.5 million people experience
homelessness in a given year (1% of the entire
U.S. population or 10% of its poor), and about
842,000 people in any given week.
 According to a 2001 report from UNICEF, the
United States has the highest rate of deaths from
child abuse and neglect of any industrialized
nation, at 2.4 per 100,000 children; France has 1.4,
Japan 1, UK 0.9 and Germany 0.8. According to
the US Department of Health, the state of Texas
has the highest death rate, at 4.05 per 100,000
children, New York has 2.46, Oregon 1.49 and
New Hampshire 0.35.
Anything else?
 Through the juvenile courts and the adult
criminal justice system, the United States
incarcerates more of its youth than any other
country in the world, a reflection of the larger
trends in incarceration practices in the United
States. This has been a source of controversy
for a number of reasons, including the
overcrowding and violence in youth detention
facilities, the prosecution of youths as adults
and the long term consequences of
incarceration on the individual's chances for
success in adulthood.
Some startling statistics!
A middle school teacher in the western part of the country completed the
following activity:
In the drama classes we have been reading the play "Freedom Writers". It
focuses on the idea that although we all have different backgrounds,
including race, that we all have experiences that are similar that bring us
together. It talks about how to make a difference and not judge. In it, they
play the "Line Game". Students stand on either side of a taped line on the
floor. The teacher lines up as well. I started with simple things like, "How
many of us have had a crush on someone?" Whoever has, steps to the
line and then steps back. No one comments, just steps forward. I
continued with easy things like what they had for breakfast, who likes
chicken, etc. Then it turns to "How many of us have had a cell phone
turned off because the bill wasn't paid?" and more serious questions. Then
the kids were allowed to ask their questions. They were surprisingly honest
and did not make stupid comments. Below is a sampling of what they
brought up and approximate percentages of who stepped forward:
 Had utilities shut off for more than one day? 45%
 Been evicted from a house or apartment? 40%
 Come home to an empty house for at least 3-5
hours? 80%
 Know someone in jail or has been in jail? 95%
 Has a family member in jail now or in the past?
 Not seen a parent in more than 2 years? 65%
 Does not know who dad is? 33%
 Has seen mom and dad (girlfriend/boyfriend) in a
physical fight? 70%
More Results
 Been threatened with a weapon? 50%
 Been abused or know someone who is abused?
 Thought of suicide? 90%
 Want to graduate? 99%
 Want to have a family when they are older? 70%
 Have an older teenage sister that is pregnant? 30%
 Have a family member deployed overseas? 55%
 Have not felt safe at home? 85%
What does it mean?
 Feels like no one at home really cares about what they
do? 85%
 Been in juvenile hall? 20%
 Been put in foster care? 33%
 Have had the cops come to their house? 85%
 Know someone that has been sold? 1%
―There were many more, but it gave me a lot of insight into
the battles we face. The students were also able to see
people they thought they had nothing in common with step
forward, and they did take notice. We end it today with
speeches and scenes about what person or groups of people
inspire others to succeed.‖
So back to motivation…
―Kids will do what you ask if they have a
relationship with you and if they have the
necessary skills to do so.‖ Ross Greene
Successful relationships require two
 Trust
 Respect
Building Relationships
To truly partner with our students we need
to build trusting and respectful
 Trust and respect cannot be taught.
 They must be learned!
Shocking But True!
There is a connection between selfesteem and motivation and engagement.
Percentages of High Self-Esteem in Kids:
 80% of kids entering 1st grade
 20% of kids entering 5th grade
 5% of kids entering high school
Everyone’s Basic Needs
We are driven by our need to SURVIVE!
We need to feel a sense of
We need knowledge and skill to gain
POWER so that we believe we can control
of our own lives.
 We need to feel FREE to be who we are.
 We need to experience enjoyment in our
Everyone wants to belong….
Basic Human Needs
―When we respect that universal human
need in our classrooms, students discover
healthy, responsible ways to increase
their sense of power in the world. They
are less likely to be driven to get power
―over‖ other people in destructive ways
and more likely to become powerful
beings who make valuable contributions
to our world.‖ Glasser
Theorists have studied several humans
needs which have implications for the
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
 Need for Competence and Self-worth
 Need for Relatedness
 Need for Affiliation
 Need for Approval
 Need for Achievement
1. Implications for
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Love and
 Safety: Students need to be aware
of classroom expectations and to
have routines established.
 Love and belongingness: Students
need to feel as though they are part
of a group. This can be manifested
by a student conforming their dress,
speech, and actions to be like other
 Esteem: In order to be respected, a
student may act in ways that will
bolster his image in front of peers.
Conversely, some students exhibit
low self-esteem.
2. Need for Competence
and Self-Worth
 Robert White (1959) suggested that humans have a basic need for
competence, ―a belief that they can deal effectively with their
environment.‖ (Ormrod,2004)
 Martin Covington (1992) suggested that self-worth (defending one’s
competency) is a primary need for humans. This can be done by
 Consistently succeeding
 Avoiding failure
 Setting low expectations
 Refusing to participate in an activity or to complete an
 Making excuses
 Cheating
 Procrastinating
We see these behaviors on a daily basis, don’t
Addressing the needs
for competence & self-worth
 Allow students to take
restroom breaks.
 Allow students to drink
water in the classroom.
 Refer sick or troubled
students to the nurse or
 Change classroom
activities frequently.
 Encourage students to
ask questions.
 Acknowledge students’
 Have an orderly
 Have students follow
procedures for daily
 Be consistent in dealing
with students.
 Clearly define
3. Need for Relatedness
 As students move toward the middle
school years, they want to be connected
socially to others. They feel this leads to
love and respect. It might be manifested
in the following ways:
 Prioritizing socializing over working on
 Trying to look popular, smart, foolish,
athletic, etc.
 Showing concern and helping others
4. Need for Affiliation
 Need for affiliation describes students who desire
friendly relationships. Some students have a
high need for affiliation, whereas others have a
low need.
 Students with a high need for affiliation might:
 Be nervous when watched by others
 Communicate frequently
 Be affected by peer pressure
 Be more interested in relationships than tasks
 Earn lower grades than their peers
 Thrive in a classroom with a nurturing teacher
5. Need for Approval
 Some students have a strong desire to look
good in front of others.
 How this might be observed:
 Seeking teacher recognition/approval
 Seeking peer recognition/approval
Which of these 2 do we see more in the
middle school?
Note: Students with a high need for approval
tend to be less popular than their peers.
6. Need for Achievement
 Some students have an intrinsic desire to achieve
excellence. These students might be persistent, be
realistic about tasks, and set high standards.
 Can you think of a student this describes?
 Covington and Omelich (1991) have proposed that
learners can be divided into four groups:
 Over-strivers
 Optimists
 Failure avoiders
 Failure accepters
Can you think of a student who could fit into each of these categories?
*The need for achievement might be influenced more by
specific tasks and subjects rather than true for all areas.
Let’s Review!
We know it is harder than ever to motivate
students due to a myriad of factors-especially in
our rapidly changing world!
Key Factors:
Students have basic needs
 Need for Competence and Self-worth
 Need for Relatedness
 Need for Affiliation
 Need for Approval
 Need for Achievement
Addressing the needs for
relatedness, affiliation, approval,
and achievement
 Foster healthy teacherstudent relationships
 Take a student to lunch.
 Get involved in the
mentoring program.
 Attend extra-curricular
 Show interest in their lives.
 Ask about a student’s
day – and then listen.
 Give students birthday
 Give small gifts to the
 Acknowledge them
 Encourage students.
 Allow students to
communicate with their
 Discussion with a partner
 Cooperative learning
 Skits
 Peer-evaluation
 Inform students what
material will be evaluated on
a test; i.e. tell them
specifically what to learn.
 Challenge students.
As stated early on….Implications of
Cognitive Theory
 As people learn, they mentally organize new
 Therefore, it is important to present material in an
organized fashion.
 Learning is more likely to occur when people
associate new material with previously learned
 Therefore, we must help students relate new
information to old information.
 Students control their own learning by being mentally
involved in the classroom.
 Therefore, we need to monitor students to ensure they
are paying attention, thinking, and processing.
How Can That Happen?
The teacher has the power to create it!
 Kids do better with predictability and
 Teachers can build safe, secure and
reliable environments conducive to
If a student is motivated to
learn, he will…
 engage in an activity with greater
energy and activity.
 set goals for himself.
 increase time on task by initiating work
and by persisting despite difficulty and
 be cognitively engaged, i.e. actually
thinking about what’s being taught.
Key Social and Emotional Skills
Work to establish the 3 C’s:
 Connection
 Contribution
 Competence
 Fundamental positive
 regard
 Greeting students by
 Getting to know
 Name their strengths
 Home visits
 Good news calls
 Incorporate humor
and encourage
 Teach the social skills
they don’t know
 Communicate the
expectancy of
Connection (continued)
 Use strategies that
address individual
 Teach empathy
 Make caring
 Cooperative learning
 Teacher/student
 advisory groups
 Peer tutoring/helping
 Comprehensive,
inclusive, in-school
and before and after
 Find out what they
like and ask them
about it
 Give work that is
 Make learning
experimental (service
 Peer helping/tutoring
 Give opportunities to
problem solve, plan and
set goals
 Involve students in
 Classroom rules
 Governance
 Curriculum planning
 Give choices in learning
 experiences
 Use participatory
learning and evaluation
Contribution (continued)
 Cooperative
 Community service
projects that are:
-Student initiated
-Student organized
 Encourage people to
people contact
 Encourage
 Teach generosity by
 Give compliments
 Express appreciation
 Make an apology
 Donate
 Encourage
reciprocity, it’s the key
to healthy
 Appropriate
learning styles
 Positive/realistic
 Logical
consistently enforced
 Help students
appreciate strengths
 Flexible
 Help them understand
and appreciate
 Give them the power
to construct meaning
for the things that
Competence (continued)
 Give increasing
 Expect high quality
 Pep talks-Make
each day count
 Give hope
 Start each day fresh
 Meaningful and
 Authentic and self
 Teach dignity and
good sportsmanship
It’s a Production
You are the director, producer and the
 Set design
 Props
 Stage presence
 The program
Lesson Design
Lesson introduction: provides awareness of
 what they will learn, focuses attention and
 motivates them; what’s in it for them?
Clarity: provide clear expectations in step-by-step fashion
 State objectives
 Outline content
 Signal transitions between ideas
 Call attention to main ideas, and summarize subsections
of the lesson during the presentation
 Summarize main ideas near the end of the presentation
Prevention (continued)
Coached practice: provide coached or guided
 Students need high amounts of success
 Scaffolding: Adjust support to learner, the
nature of the material, the nature of the task
and is removed as students gain competence.
 Closure: Involve the students in summarizing
the key ideas and give them some ideas about
where future lessons will go.
Student Motivation:
Defined by Brophy: The drive that focuses the
student and causes them to achieve the task.
 Student interest
 Student needs
 Novelty and variety
 Attention Span ( average adult=20 minutes!)
 Success
 Tension
 Feeling tone (Madeline Hunter, 1982)
 Feedback
 Encouragement
If only it were this easy…
Teacher Expectations
Teacher expectations influence both
student learning and student motivation.
Research studies found that teachers
often unintentionally communicate low
expectations toward students whom they
perceive as low
Student Motivation
What do students say about themselves?
Student perceptions of why they succeed or fail at
school tasks have a direct impact on their
motivation to perform.
1) Ability
2) Effort
3) Task difficulty
4) Luck
5) Teacher
We all need to feel confident, competent and
Classroom Procedures
Two types of classroom guidelines:
1. Procedures directed at accomplishing
something-not managing behavior,
procedures reflect behaviors necessary for a
smooth operation of the classroom
2. Rules- focus on appropriate behavior,
they provide guidelines for behaviors that
allow teaching and learning to take place.
(These are the classroom
The Need for Clear Expectations
Rules should be directed at organizing the
learning environment to ensure continuity
and quality of teaching and learning, not
at exerting control over students. (Brophy,
When That Doesn’t Work, What
 Proactive Intervention Skills
 Remedial Intervention Skills
 Verbal Intervention
Proactive Intervention Skills
1. Change the pace of classroom activities
2. Remove distracting objects
3. Boost interest of a student who shows
signs of off-task behavior
4. Redirect the behavior of off-task students
5. Non-punitive time out
6. Encourage appropriate behavior of others
7. Provide cues for expected behavior
Remedial Intervention
Make no assumptions—always error
on the side of caution! Teach and
Re-teach and when that doesn’t
seem to be working use:
1. Planned ignoring
2. Signal interference
3. Proximity interference
Verbal Intervention
Skillful Feedback is Critical
 Feedback must focus on the behavior not
the person. Instead of, ―You’re rude!‖, ―You
interrupted me.‖ When we are specific the
student has something they can do,
something they can change.
 If they trust/respect you the most powerful
words are ―it upsets me when you…‖ or
―I’m so proud you can…‖
Classroom Verbal Intervention
Use non-verbal interventions first
Keep verbal interventions private
Make verbal intervention brief
Speak to the situation, not the person
Set limits on behavior, not on feelings
Avoid sarcasm and words that
 Start at student-control and move to
teacher-control or on to logical
 Design and communicate rational and
meaningful classroom guidelines
 Recognize misbehavior when it occurs
 Employ management strategies
effectively and consistently
When You Need To Be Verbal
 Mean what you say, say what you
mean, but don’t be mean when you say
 Optimize your verbal powers!
 Speak only when necessary—listen
only every moment of every minute of
every hour of every day.
 To listen is an art you need to be the
Physical Presence
You orchestrate the tone, volume and
intensity by simply ―being‖
 How you present yourself, sets the
 How you position your body, can make
a difference
 How you stand or sit can influence how
quickly you can intervene
 It’s more than what’s written on your
face--- What are your hands saying?
 What does your physical posturing
 convey?
 Sometimes you can you enhance your
instruction without saying a word.
Strategies for Increasing Motivation
Tips for the classroom Level:
 Ensure classroom expectations for
performance and behavior are clear and
 Work to build quality relationships with
 Break large tasks into a series of smaller
 Promote mastery learning, and
 Evaluate student work as soon as
possible after project completion, and
be sure that feedback is clear and
Motivating Students to Engage in Class
 More tips:
 Ensure course materials relate to
students’ lives and highlight ways
learning can be applied in real life
 Allow students to have some degree of
control over learning,
 Arouse students’ curiosity about the
topic being studied, and
 Design projects that allow them to share
new knowledge with others.
Importance of Motivation
 Students will
always be
motivated by
 A responsibility
exists to
determine what
If a student is motivated to
learn, he will…
 engage in an activity with greater
energy and activity.
 set goals for himself.
 increase time on task by initiating work
and by persisting despite difficulty and
 be cognitively engaged, i.e. actually
thinking about what’s being taught.
Extrinsic & Intrinsic Motivation
 Extrinsic motivation occurs when the
source for motivation comes from
outside the person and task. ( desire for
rewards, fear of punishment, need for
positive recognition, etc.)
 Intrinsic motivation occurs when the
source of motivation comes from within
the individual and task. The individual
sees the task as enjoyable and
Both can be effective,
Intrinsic motivation is more beneficial
than extrinsic motivation
to promote learning.
Students who are intrinsically motivated are more
likely to:
 Begin a task on their own
 Pay attention
 Learn material in a meaningful way
 Show creativity
 Be persistent despite failures
 Enjoy the activity
 Evaluate their own progress
 Achieve at high levels
The bad news for upper
level teachers…
Although most
students start
school with a high
level of intrinsic
motivation to learn,
they tend to lose
this motivation as
they get older.
So how can we promote intrinsic
Relate units of study to the students’ lives.
 ―How are the effects of the tsunami in December similar to the
destruction caused by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.?‖
 ―How would you have reacted if your mother embarrassed you in
front of your peers like this character did?‖
Talk about intrinsic motives.
 ―You must be proud of yourself for getting a B on that quiz.‖
 ―I’m glad you enjoy doing this simulation.‖
 ―It’s important you understand how to reduce fractions. You use this
when you…..‖
Pursue and discuss your own individual interests.
 ―I really enjoying watching the Red Sox; it makes me want to get
there and play baseball!‖
Key Points!
 Recognize that times have changed
 Work to Build Relationships
 Understand the Basic Needs of
 Help Students to See the Connections
 Allow Student Choice
 Make Discipline Fair, Firm and
 Laugh With Your Students Each Day
We all want the best journey for
our students!
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!
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