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  Motivation and Management


Subject Knowledge
Student Developement
Adapting Instruction
Instruction Strategies
Motivation and Management
Instructional Planning
Continuing Education



I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.

- Thomas Jefferson



Classroom management and student motivation are often the most difficult problems for a beginning teacher to overcome. Throughout the student teacher training experience a safe environment was established and a universal policy of respect was maintained. Every effort is made to handle problems in the classroom and not waste the class' time dealing with the transgressions of individuals. When behaviors became distracting, a system of reflection on inappropriate behaviors was put into place in order to help develop a sense of individual responsibility for their actions.

A Colloquium on Classroom Management was attended during the pre-service program. Notes from this workshop are included since they have proven invaluable in developing a personal system to manage the classroom. The Managing the Classroom section contains reference materials to overcome challenges in the future, and a Reaction to Special Education Management is also included to highlight some of the unique challenges students with special needs present.

Motivating Students is the key to keeping the maximum number of students engaged in learning. Modeling excitement, making lessons realistic, and addressing students' interest are paramount to motivation and the included notes serve as a reminder of methods to meet individual needs.

Classroom Management Colloquium

 Given by Patricia Downing (office Graham 242)

I attended the colloquium on classroom management that was given by Patricia Downing. She emphasized establishing rules on the first day of class. She recommended that the rules be established by the class as a group effort in order to give the students some ownership of the classroom environment and make them remember and follow the rules better. She has a list of the rules she wants to have in the class so she can encourage the class to come up with any that they don’t create on their own. She stressed that the rules should be stated in a positive manner and kept short and simple with clearly understood consequences.

Once rules and consequences are established, they should be clearly displayed and shared with the parents so expectations are clear. Patricia Downing demonstrated a Classroom Student Handbook that she uses to communicate with parents. The handbook consists of: a welcome letter, the teacher’s background, a class list, a behavior plan, class rules, the grade level curriculum, an assignment notebook, the homework policy, the make-up work policy, the communication plan, a description of field trips, study time suggestions, coupons for encouragement, and a classroom contract.  Communication with home is important because the teacher and parents share common goals for the students. Once communication is established, it was recommended to keep in touch with students’ homes by using a monthly newsletter or classroom website. Do not focus entirely on negative behaviors; it is important to send home positive notes too. Communication with the home also involves accurate records of all correspondence.

 Appropriate behavior needs both short-term and long-term rewards. Patricia Downing’s long-term reward system involves the accumulation of blocks. Proper behavior earns blocks and improper behavior removes blocks. These blocks are student controlled and used to purchase items they would like. This system is also used during orientation, and the blocks that are earned by the parents are given to the students the next day.  She also talked about using C.P.R. (being Consistent, being Positive, and Responding not reacting) to keep conditions equitable. Classroom management also involves assignment management. Policies should be established to deal with handing papers in and returning them, work that has no name, and missed assignments.  Finally, a folder containing examples of student’s work should be sent home one day a week in order to keep parents informed of student’s progress.


Reading Response: “Managing the Classroom Environment”


Important Points:

!         Children’s intellectual, social, and ethical development are important to classroom management and creating an environment that supports learning. (p.83)

!         Activities, materials, time, communication, and room design all need to be managed. (p.84)

!         Keep students involved in the learning process by giving them choices about how and what to learn instead of giving them busy work.  (p.84-85) Variety also keeps them motivated and engaged and their curiosity. (p.85-86)

!         Establishing classroom communication signals is a good way to move smoothly through lessons without interruptions. (p.87)

!         Praise needs to be genuine and sincere. Using a student’s name is a good way to let the student know they are important to you. (p.87)

!         Establish classroom rules on the first day of school. Have few rules and keep them simple and fair. (p.88, p.90)

!         Some strategies for handling misbehavior include: shared culture, assertive discipline, conflict resolution, and group process. (p.88)

!         Praise students for desired behaviors and give them opportunities for recognition in order to counteract misbehavior of students who desire attention or seek revenge. (p.88)

!         With students seeking control allow students to have choices and never have an open confrontation. (p.89)



s    What portion of students’ development are the schools responsible to advance? Schools need to address children’s intellectual, social, and ethical development. (p.83)

s    What is classroom management? Classroom management is a strategy to control important issues in the classroom such as time, student involvement, student engagement, and classroom communication. (p.84)

s    How can I create the most time for actual learning in the classroom? Even the best schools only spend half of the school day on actual learning. (p.84) Organization and planning are the best ways to minimize unnecessary interruptions. (p.85)

s    How do I keep students involved and engaged? Give students a say in educational decisions. (p.85) Give students choices and a wide variety of learning activities. This uses student’s natural curiosity, interests, abilities, and sense of importance to keep learners intimately involved with classroom activities. (p.86)

s    Can classroom communication help to better manage a classroom? Establishing classroom communication signals can help limit pauses and interruptions. Sincere and properly placed praise can help to keep students motivated and engaged. (p.87)

s    What are the strengths and weaknesses of assertive discipline? Assertive discipline works by taking advantage of the pressure of peers to influence behavior. (p.92) Some researchers believe that assertive discipline can be harmful to children’s developing self-regulatory behavior. (p.92-93) 

s    How do teachers deal with the wide variety of misbehavior that occurs in the classroom? The best universal answer is to use positive reinforcement to encourage desired behavior and not give extra attention to inappropriate actions. (p.93) Teachers should keep rules few and simple and give students some say in rules and consequences. (p.91)

s    How can teachers help with the issue of gangs? Once children are members it is extremely difficult to overcome the sense of belonging that is created by gangs. Teachers need to remain informed and aware of signals that students are considering or have joined a gang and encourage a sense of belongingness in the classroom community and in extracurricular activities. (p.97-98)

New Terms:

+    engagement time- thinking about nothing but the learning task (p.86)

+    shared culture- code or common rules governing behavior in the school (p.90)

+    Assertive discipline- giving students choices to make them productive members of the classroom, limiting rules to 4-6, and clearly stating the rewards and consequences for compliance. Consequences are delivered to individuals and rewards are delivered to the class. (p.91)

+    Conflict resolution- cooperative problem solving using a impartial mediator to discuss and resolve problems. (p.95)

Motivation: A force that energizes, sustains, and directs behavior toward a goal.

Motivated students:

bulletHave positive attitudes toward school and describe school as satisfying
bulletPersist on difficult tasks and cause few management problems
bulletProcesses information in depth and excel in classroom learning experiences

Extrinsic motivation: motivation to engage in an activity as a means to an end

Intrinsic motivation: motivation to engage in an activity for its own sake

Characteristics of intrinsically motivated learners:

bulletChallenge: activities in which goals are moderately difficult and success not guaranteed.
bulletAutonomy: activities where learners feel they have influence over their learning
bulletCuriosity: experience that are unique or surprising to learners existing ideas
bulletAesthetic value: experiences that evoke emotional reaction especially with beauty

Behaviorism theory of motivation: motivation as reinforcement

Examples of reward in the classroom:

Elementary school:

bulletApproval such as praise or position
bulletConsumable items

Middle school and secondary school:

bulletHigh test scores and good grades
bulletTeacher comments on papers
bulletTeacher compliments given quietly and individually
bulletPhone calls to home for complements of work or attributes
bulletFree time to talk

* Critics believe that rewards decrease intrinsic motivation and can give the wrong message about learning.

* Underachievers and older students are less affected by rewards

Cognitive theories of motivation: focus on learners’ needs for order, predictability, and understanding.

Cognitive views of motivation can help explain:

bulletWhy people are intrigued by brain teasers
bulletPeople’s curiosity with unexpected events
bulletWhy students ask questions about unrelated aspects of lessons
bulletWhy people persevere until mastered then quit
bulletWhy people want any feedback even negative

Humanistic theories of motivation: people’s attempt to fulfill their potential as humans through growth.

Promoting growth: good teaching is inviting students to see themselves as able, valuable, and self-directing’ and encouraging them to act in accordance with these perceptions

Good teachers are:

bulletGenuine people
bulletAccepting of students as individuals
bulletEmpathetic people

Need: a real or perceived lack of something necessary

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

bullet Self-actualization
bulletAesthetic appreciation (order, truth, beauty)
bulletIntellectual achievement ( knowing and understanding)
bulletSelf- esteem (recognition and approval)
bulletBelonging (love and acceptance from family and peers)
bulletSafety (freedom from physical and emotional threat)
bulletSurvival (shelter, warmth, food, water)

      * The bottom four need are called deficiency needs which energize and move people to meet them when they are unfulfilled

      * Top three needs are growth needs that expand and increase with experience

Characteristics of self-actualized individuals:

bulletClear perception of reality
bulletAccept themselves, others, and the world as they are
bulletSpontaneous in act and thought
bulletProblem-centered rather than self-centered
bulletAutonomous and independent
bulletSympathetic to the conditions of others and seek common welfare
bulletHave a democratic perspective of the world
bulletThey are creative
bulletEstablish few deep and meaningful relationships rather than many shallow ones
bulletHave peak experiences marked by feelings of great excitement, happiness, and incite

Social and emotional needs:

Need for relatedness: need to feel connected to others in a social environment and feel worthy and capable of love and respect.

Need for approval: need to secure acceptance and positive judgment from others

Need to reduce anxiety:

bulletMake expectations clear and achievable
bulletModel study strategies that increase understanding
bulletProvide a variety of examples
bulletRequire that all students are actively involved in learning activities
bulletProvide specific feedback about learning process
bulletBe available to help outside of class

Cognitive learning needs:

bulletThe need for autonomy (self-directed)
bulletThen need to achieve and experience pride in accomplishment
bulletThe need to explain success and failure: attribution theory

Attributions occur in three dimensions:

·        Locus: location of the cause

·        Stability: whether the cause stays the same or can change

·        Control: extent in which student accepts responsibility for success or failure

Systematically describing success and failure in a classroom situation can elicit:


bulletpredictable emotional reactions to success and failure
bulletExpectations for future success
bulletFuture effort

Learned helplessness: the feeling that no amount of effort can lead to success

Motivation and belief:

bulletBeliefs about ability: belief that ability is stable and uncontrollable
bulletBeliefs about capability: self-efficacy (learners’ belief about their capability of succeeding on a specific task)
bulletInfluence of teachers on learners’ beliefs

Influences of self-efficacy on behavior and cognition:

                                                      High self-efficacy    /   Low self-efficacy

bulletTask oriented – accept challenging tasks /   avoid challenging tasks
bulletEffort-high effort on difficult tasks/ low effort on difficult tasks
bulletPersistence- persist when goals aren’t reached/ give up easily
bulletBeliefs- believe they will succeed/ focus on feelings of incompetence
bulletControl stress and anxiety/ experience anxiety when goals not met
bulletThey control environment/ believe they are not in control
bulletStrategy use- discard unproductive strategies/ persist with ineffective strategies
bulletPerformance- better than low self-efficacy with the same abilities

Factors that influence self-efficacy:

bulletpast performance (most important factor)
bulletverbal persuasion (maybe more encouragement)
bulletpsychological state

How teachers influence self-efficacy:

bulletAttributional statements ( comments about cause of performance)
bulletPraise and criticism
bulletEmotional displays (excitement, annoyance, frustration)
bulletOffers of help

Learning-focused environment: one that emphasizes understanding, improvement, and mastery.

Performance-oriented environment: focus on ability, avoiding failure, and competition

                Learning-focused classroom

bulletSelf-regulated students
bulletsetting goals
bulletmonitoring goals
bulletstrategy use
bulletTeacher characteristics
bulletpersonal teaching efficacy
bulletmodeling and enthusiasm
bulletpositive expectations

Promoting student motivation

bulletClimate variables
bulletorder and safety
bullettask comprehension
bulletinstructional variables
bulletintroductory focus

Learner-centered approaches: instruction in which learners are responsible for creation of own understanding with teachers’ guidance

Learner centered planning model:

bulletidentify goals and outcomes
bulletdesigning and organizing learning activities
bulletassessing current understanding
bulletplanning for social interaction
bulletcreating productive environment
bulletplanning for assessment

Types of learner centered instruction:

bulletdiscovery learning
bulletunstructured discovery (in natural setting, learners construct own understanding)
bulletguided discovery (teacher identifies goals and arranges information so patterns can be found)
bulletproblem based learning (start w/ problem and students create own strategies to find solution w/ teachers’ guidance)
bulletidentify question
bulletform hypothesis
bulletgather data
bulletdraw conclusions
bulletgeneralize based on conclusions
bulletlearn to listen to others
bulletdevelop tolerance for different views
bulletlearn democratic process
bulletcritically examine understanding, attitudes, and values

Effective discussions:

o       student background knowledge

o       focus

o       emphasis on understanding

o       student-student interaction

bulletcooperative learning
bulletsmall groups 2-5
bulletgoals direct activities
bulletsocial interactions emphasized
bulletlearners must depend on others to reach goals

Positive effects of cooperative lessons

o       chance for different types of students to work together

o       equal-status roles for students

o       chance for different students to learn about each other

o       teachers’ support for students working together

bulletindividualized instruction



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This site was last updated 04/05/04