The How of Motivation…Thinking Continued

If we foster student centered learning and pedagogy, then learners will possess an increased sense of belonging and be motivated to learn.       

(BLP SGDSB 2014)

Last week I wrote about how planning for professional learning motivated me and gave me a sense of efficacy – it also helped me to connect our Conditions for Learning to Student Centered Learning… of how practicing our Conditions for Learning helped me to consolidate my thinking.  This is one of the other goals of my LLT session;  to take the participant leaders back to why we are embedding the Conditions for Learning into our practice, why we are increasingly shifting from a culture of teaching to a culture learning – our ultimate goal is the motivate and engage our students.

culture of learning vs teaching.docx

Here is a quote from the SEF document (taken from Toshilis and Nakkula) …that addresses the struggles with intrinsic motivation and thus engagement that many educators (especially secondary school educators) reflect back to us:

“Motivation, engagement and student voice are critical elements of student-centred learning. Without motivation, there is no push to learn, without engagement there is no way to learn and without voice, there is no authenticity in the learning. For students to create new knowledge, succeed academically, and develop into healthy adults, they require each of these experiences” (SEF, pg 22).

This quote makes us see the Conditions for Learning (and the Foundational Principles to be Developed in the Learner and in the Environment) as the HOW to solve the mystery of motivation and engagement!

As always, I think about the alignment between adult learning and student learning and in my analysis of the factors that motivated me, I began to think back to Ferlazzo’s blog from last week that I had shared – the blog about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.  Since that post, a number of people have shared their struggle to motivate and they have asked for more of the “HOW?”  Ferlazzo published a subsequent blog and I felt compelled to post it here for you to continue this conversation.

 The post is housed at

Until next week…

2 responses

    I had just read the most recent Grant Wiggins post which was followed by Nicki’s post. My mind started to thinking about this piece and motivation of our students. What I have been thinking about is why would a student want to be in my school/classrooms??? What is it that brings to light their passion/excitement to learn? There drive to learn???Although, many of us have focussed on one condition for learning for our SLP, they are all linked in creating optimal conditions for learning for our students.
    I thought I would share a little piece from the Wiggins blog…..yet once again insightful in our land of learning…..
    After a day with the student the Executive Director of this academy noted….
    Here are my two biggest take-aways:
    First, like the original post, I declare that scholars must get up and MOVE! As a lover of all things data, I decided to wear a Fit-bit to track my movement (the same as Julian’s movement) for the day. The recommended target is 10,000 steps per day. Based on the blog, I predicted it would be far less and set the Las Vegas over/under at 4,700 steps. Eight-and-a-half hours later, the under wins! Julio and I, from 7:45-4:15, only made about 1,400 steps. And yes, it’s amazing how tiring sitting can be…

    ​Second, ​personal connections matter. Connections lead to focus. Connections lead to happiness. Connections lead to learning. Throughout Julian’s day (and not just Julian: I tracked this for several of his peers), teachers checked in with him. From small taps on the shoulder to ensure focus, to quarterback crouches to look over his work, I counted seventeen different occasions teachers made sure Julian was engaged in what he was supposed to do. While I didn’t count every interaction with every scholar, Julian was not alone, and his great teachers were checking in all over the place, and the scholars reacted. Julian had no choice but to feel attention, push, and love.​
    What resonates for me from the initial Wiggins posts and this most recent post is the quest to see what makes the learning environment better for our students – how are we engaging our students and are they motivated to learn? What is it in the learning that we offer to our students that ignites their intrinsic yearning for yet more learning? We are seeing in our twitter feeds that many of the postings from mind shift are about motivation and engagement. What has been interesting is that in our quest to discover the HOW….. it has been about “educators” slowing things down and taking time to “see”, “listen” to the VOICE of the consumer – our students. They are able to share insight and also make us question W|HY we do what we are doing. And be RESPONSIVE about what it is that will make things more authentic and relevant in their worlds.
    I think about a most recent example of student voice. One of our student senators suggested that we have an environmental course at the school – so we talked at the Program Leader table and offered this option this year – we have had a great response to the course offering and the teacher assigned to the course has engaged the students in the co-planning of what the course will look like for next year. See link below.

    Exciting times as we continue to talk about how to create environments for our students that allow for their intrinsic motivation to shine !


  2. We had some great conversations today at LLT about how things are interconnected and how a balance is necessary. almost as if they are co-dependent. I particularly liked the connections between engagement and student -centred learning. SHIFT happens! And it is happening, slowly but surely!


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