MAT Blog

Free Student Motivation Resources from Larry Ferlazzo Now Available

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Aug 21, 2014 10:18:42 AM

I refer to Larry Ferlazzo’s website on a regular basis, but for good reason. In addition to teaching English, social studies, and international baccalaureate classes to English language learners, Larry has written five books and is a weekly teacher advice columnist for Education Week Teacher and The New York Times! When does the man sleep? I have no idea.

This morning I found out from Richard Byrne—another one of my favorite bloggers—that Larry has made every student hand-out from two of his books on student motivation available for free download.

If you’re interested, check out Larry’s resources here.





Pedagogy with a Personality

Tags: intrinsic motivation, classroom management, Classroom Climate, Challenging Students,

Think You Know What Motivates Students? Think Again.

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on May 5, 2014 10:14:00 AM

Last week, I shared a simple goal-setting strategy I’ve been using over the past few years. As a companion piece, I thought I’d share “The Truth about What Motivates Us,” an animated video adapted from a longer lecture by Daniel Pink. It’s a fascinating piece and was certainly an eye-opener for me.  

New Call to action

Tags: student leadership, Success, intrinsic motivation, student independence, student engagement, student evaluation, goal setting

Keep Students Motivated with This Goal-Setting Activity

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on May 3, 2014 6:00:00 AM

goal setting activityWhen we were students, often the last week of school was spent watching videos and goofing around. We loved every minute of it, but looking back, it’s easy to see that this was not a productive use of our time.

To keep students motivated and self-reflective, we like to have them complete goal-setting worksheets throughout the year—but you can certainly implement them at any point in the semester, even if you only have a few weeks left of school.

This activity comes from Larry Ferlazzo, but over the years, we've made a few tweaks to the original lesson. Here’s what we do:

Start by having students read an excerpt from Michael Jordan’s book, I Can’t Accept Not Trying. After students finish reading, ask them to pair up with another student and write a one-sentence summary of the information.

Next, students get together with another pair of students to compare their summaries and work together to develop the best one-sentence thesis/summary they possibly can. Once groups finish, we like to have each group write their sentence on the white board. Then, as a class, we review the strengths and weaknesses of each summary and work together as a class to create the most accurate and concise one-sentence summary that we can.

Following this, each student completes this goal-setting worksheet. If this worksheet doesn’t work for you, Worksheet Place has a nice collection of alternatives. 

After completing the worksheet, give students the opportunity to share their goals with their partner. Following this, collect the worksheets, make copies and return their sheets to them the following day. Until the end of the year, we will review student progress each week.

Photo credit: Ulf Bodin / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

36 Brain Breaks for Students

Tags: student leadership, Success, intrinsic motivation, student independence, student engagement, student evaluation, goal setting

A child’s motivation in the classroom is influenced by many things.

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Mar 1, 2012 5:34:00 AM

Marygrove MAT discusses motivation, and how extrinsic rewards can go a long way for some children.On Sunday, February 5, we received the following comment from one of our readers. We would like to thank him/her for offering an astute observation about a guest blog we published on Motivation. Our Academic Director Diane S. Brown, Ph.D. has formulated her response. We’d love to keep the conversation going, so please let us know your thoughts.

“ I am greatly offended that a college is promoting this type of motivation. Anyone who is familiar with actual science and best-practice research behind motivation knows that external rewards (like stickers and stars) do not work. I would recommend looking at this video from the TED Talk by Dan Pink:” Posted @ Feb. 05, 2012: by Blog Reader

Dear Blog Reader,

We viewed the Daniel Pink video you suggested, and we are big fans. We particularly like the RSA Animate’s version of Pink’s work, as well as that of Sir Ken Robinson about Changing Education Paradigms. However, Pink is addressing adult motivation in the workplace, and our guest blogpost from Teacher Blogger Charity Preston focuses on children. 

There is a big difference in a child’s motivation in grade school versus an adult’s motivation in the workplace. The very act of applying grades to student performance is extrinsic motivation, which, in our educational system, is pretty hard to get around.  

The controversy regarding the use of extrinsic reinforcement began in the 1970’s, as researchers began to examine the effects of reward on individual motivation. (Cameron & Pierce, 1996; Lepper, Keavney & Drake, 1996; Cameron, et. al., 2001).

As an institution of higher learning, we stand on the basis that certain motivators– even certain token reward systems– can be a practical reality for teachers, but should always be used with care. Intrinsic motivation is largely developed in young children based on their interaction with their parents. (DeHass et. al, 2005) Therefore, teachers must do what they have to do to reach a seemingly unreachable child, who may be inordinately motivated by extrinsic forces.

In the name of educational achievement, child nurturing, classroom management and teacher sanity, a certified teacher should carefully and lovingly make the call for what works best in his or her classroom.  In my own classroom, I have had children who would do almost anything for a trip to the “Treasure Chest,” but weren’t motivated by ANYTHING else.  Sure, intrinsic motivation is ideal, but judicial use of extrinsic rewards goes a long way in the primary grades.

Dr. Charles Fay begins his blog on by sayingThe healthiest and most powerful types of reinforcement involve time and attention rather than stuff.” As a teacher, the best extrinsic rewards I have found are those based on giving my time to a child. Getting a ticket to eat lunch in the classroom with me was a great motivator, as was playing chess or checkers, quilting, or even straightening the bookshelves during recess. The point was not so much what the child was doing, but that the child was receiving one-on-one time with his or her teacher.

Marygrove College Master in the Art of Teaching respects the science on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, but also pays homage to the power of the art, which is placed in the hands of every teacher, every day.

Would anyone else like to weigh in on this? This is a great topic!

-Diane S. Brown, Academic Director
Marygrove MAT



Tags: intrinsic motivation, classroom management, behavior, extrinsic motivation, motivation

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