Motivation and Our Conditions for Learning

I follow and read Larry Ferlazzo’s blog (faithfully) and thought that this week, his blog on student motivation clearly supports our Conditions for Learning.  We have had many discussions regarding intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation and this post helps to bring additional clarity to our thinking.  Be sure to read some of the comments as well.  I think that I may have to buy the book!

Until next week…how are you ensuring that EVERYONE on your staff/within your sphere of influence understands our Conditions for Learning?  This is our goal for this year…where are you at in achieving this goal? What’s next?

10 responses

  1. Thanks Nicki, I will take a look later today, in the meantime have a Happy Easter!


  2. Enjoyed the read this week!


  3. Certainly what we are aspiring to at all levels. Creating learners that have a thirst for learning and it is created by their intrinsic drive to learn more and wonder about the world around them! This is a nice tie in to our “growth mindset” work. It is about creating that environment for all learners in the building! Belief that we are can learn. It is about having a better understanding of the brain and knowing that we can make new connections and learn new things. Our brain responds when we accomplish new things and makes us feel better as a result. It drives us through that next challenge and allows us to be open to that next provocation. Thanks for sharing. Happy Easter!


  4. This is an interesting topic and I agree there have been many conversations about intrinsic vs extrinsic motivators (rewards). In my experience rewards have worked better for changing the behaviour of younger students and with older students it is difficult to pinpoint what that extrinsic motivator is. The eventual goal of which is to remove the extrinsic reward to build intrinsic. As the research would suggest we need to rethink that approach. I make a connection to Ross Greene and his work in reference to not making a kid wanna. ( cause you can’t) I have seen the use of choice as an effective motivator. The trick is how to structure or design the task or environment to provide for that choice. I look forward to the following read on strategies.


  5. As I have been preparing for our LLT this week, I have been reading about why it is so important for us to fail – when we fail we learn, we practice having a growth mindset and experience new things. I have also read about how marks are extrinsic motivation – which isn’t where we want to go in learning. If we want students to be motivated to learn, they need to be taught how to fail and to be supported through this and marks need to be put onto the back burner – as opposed to front and center where they often are! To move students to this, the environment must be fully learner centered. This is our continued work – the shift from teacher centered to learner centered – putting the conditions for learning into full practice as they support the learner centered environment.


  6. I watched a Carol Dweak video this week-end and she talked about this piece and talked about how some have adopted a mark of “not yet” as opposed to a mark that indicates that the student is failing or has failed. It just means that they have not reached the goal yet. Interesting notion and certainly one worth pursuing ! Here is the link.


    1. I really like the mark of “not yet” as it reminded me of some of the work we did a couple years ago… I like the language. This was taken from
      Level one (acquisition) – I can’t do it YET
      Level two (prompts) – I can do it with help (visual, verbal, gestural, physical)
      Level three (mastery/independent) – I can do it!
      Level four (generalized) – I can do it in other situations or expand on it


      1. What great dialogue this week and I love the different lens that we each bring to the conversation!


  7. I enjoyed the read this week, and the Ted Talk that Heidi shared as it tied in really nicely. I have forwarded the link for Nicki’s article to my staff and asked them to reflect on how they motivate students in their class. I asked them to consider their planning for this week and compare it to the 4 elements suggested in the article. We will talk about it at our staff meeting before Everyone Matters Week. We have a grade three writing EQAO this year who should get level 3’s across the board but might not due to lacking the motivation to succeed or complete the test. He will withdraw and disengage because of the amount of work he will have to do to complete the test.


  8. Hey there!
    This is a very interesting topic for sure … one filled with much debate. I think there are many layers to this and I thought I would add a little piece from the ABA lens as I find that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation fall under the “reinforcement” piece. Within the field of ABA there is ‘socially mediated’ reinforcement and ‘automatic’ reinforcement. Socially mediated reinforcement (i.e. extrinsic motivation) is accessed from outside of an individual, whereas automatic reinforcement is obtained from within the person (intrinsic motivation); very broad categories that impact each other. I personally do not believe that we can separate the two as Ryan and Deci (2000), write in one of the linked articles “because many of the tasks that educators want their students to perform are not inherently interesting or enjoyable, knowing how to promote more active and volitional (versus passive and controlling) forms of extrinsic motivation becomes an essential strategy for successful teaching (p. 55). I think the real discussion becomes contrived versus naturally occurring reinforcers…the concept of reinforcement is very complex and not as simple as just handing out a sticker or grade carelessly without thought and planning for the behaviour that we educators want to support.
    As ABA looks at the functional relationships between behaviour and the environment and analyzes these variables to increase socially significant behaviour or decrease maladaptive behaviour and increase student performance. Because I am a strong believer that our environments impact our behaviour, I am very excited that our board is doing such great work with the conditions for learning… we are creating environments that will have a positive effect on student outcomes.


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