Four classroom drivers

18th February 2005 at 00:00
Alan McLean suggested that the motivating teacher influenced pupil motivation through four drivers: engagement, structure, stimulation and feedback.

* Engagement is how teachers show they are interested in and value pupils.

"Pupils need to know they count before they see any point in trying to learn. The best teachers lead through their relationships with, rather than authority over, pupils."

* Structure refers to being clear about learning goals so that pupils know what is expected of them. "A major tension for teachers is to strike a balance between controlling pupils while releasing their potential for self-determination. This can be resolved by imposing authority then, in a geared approach, letting go of the reins to provide increasing opportunities for autonomy."

* Stimulation comes from a curriculum that highlights the importance, usefulness and fun of activities and sets clear, achievable, specific goals. "Motivating activities challenge the pupil's present capacity, while permitting some control and provide a sense of competence."

* Feedback lets pupils know how they are doing. "It is the motivation power tool, yet the least well used. Teachers are often reluctant to praise for fear of making pupils big-headed. They misunderstand the purpose of feedback - it is about giving information about progress to increase self-efficacy, not about encouraging arrogance.

"Motivating teachers praise pupil effort and how they tackle their work and so make pupils feel responsible for success. They help pupils become aware of 'how' they are smart rather than how smart they are."

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