Posts Tagged Motivation

What Motivates People

what motivates peopleHave you ever wondered what motivates people? While motivation is complex, I’ve long asserted that people are motivated to do good when they feel good. In other words, your mindset affects your motivation and performance tremendously.

Like teachers and parents, sports coaches are in the motivation business. Have you ever heard of Dean Cromwell? He was the track coach of the University of Southern California from 1912 until his retirement in 1949. No other coach in collegiate track has ever approached his records. His teams won 21 national championships, had 13 world record holders, and at least one of his protégés won an Olympic gold medal during his 39-year coaching career.

Cromwell was a master at motivation. He knew how … >>>


Weaning Off Rewards to Promote Responsibility

So many parents and teachers believe that it is necessary to give young people a reward for doing the right thing that it is a challenging endeavor to stop the practice. But rewards don’t promote responsibility, which is why they need to stop.

A parent asked how to wean her child off the rewards system. Here is what she wrote:

How do I wean my five-year-old son from expecting rewards? He’ll make his bed, straighten all his shoes, and hang up his clothes, all without being asked, and then he comes running up to me with a smiling face and says, “NOW can I have something?” Oh, boy! Have I turned his taking responsibility into a reward? Do I then

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Mindsets Foster Responsibility

Mindsets are attitudes, dispositions, intentions, and inclinations. If Johnny’s mindset is one of little or no interest in learning (and this includes learning appropriate behavior), Johnny will not learn much. Therefore, a major task of adults working with young people is to promote mindsets that promote learning and appropriate behavior.

James Sutton is a psychologist in Pleasanton, Texas, who trains child service professionals. Jim emphasizes how perceptions are as important as reality. If a child is afraid, behaviors will reflect that fear, regardless of whether there is anything to be afraid of or not. Jim’s experiences have led him to conclude that there are youngsters who are damaged more by their perceptions of their lives than by the realities … >>>


Avoid Criticism: Use Feedback

Criticize, and you will often get resistance and hard feelings. This is the case when you are criticizing something over which the youngster feels little control. Encouraging in a supportive way is much more effective.

Criticizing is almost always interpreted as, “What you are doing isn’t good enough.” Such comments stimulate negative feelings. Instead, encourage young people by communicating a higher expectation. For example, if your child is slow to get going in the morning, try this approach: “Yesterday, it took 10 minutes to come to breakfast after I called you. I know you can do better than that. Let’s see if today you can come to breakfast in 8 minutes.” Using this approach, watch your child rise to the … >>>


Homework: Whose Responsibility is It?

School has started in many areas (and will start very soon everywhere else). This is the time of year when Dr. Marshall gets many questions from teachers and parents about homework—specifically how to handle a child who simply refuses to do homework.

Many times the question comes in after the adult has asked the child reflective questions and has spoken to him/her positively about the matter. Often, the youth is also well aware of the various levels of The Hierarchy of Social Development and knows where his/her behavior falls when refusing to do the homework.

So what’s the solution?

According to Dr. Marshall, no one can force another person to learn. The person needs to be motivated. If there is … >>>


Classroom Management and Motivation

A common confusion of teachers and school leaders is that classroom management and motivation are the same.

Successful classroom management does not create motivation to learn. More and more teachers complain about the apathy of students to put forth effort in their learning. However, a teacher can have the most effective classroom management but still not prompt student effort. The reason is that classroom management has nothing to do with student motivation. Classroom management  has to do with what the teacher does—specifically, the procedures taught, practiced, and reinforced to ensure that students understand how to implement what has been taught. 

Motivation, in contrast to making instruction efficient, is about making instruction effective. What does the teacher do to … >>>


Suggestions for Motivation

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. But we can speed up the process.

1. Create curiosity
Curiosity is perhaps the greatest of all motivators. Here is the difference between American and Japanese styles of teaching: In Japanese schools, students are immediately introduced to a problem or challenge. They grapple with it. Curiosity is naturally engendered. By contrast, in American schools the main idea(s) are presented, the solution is taught, and then students practice. Where is the curiosity engendered using this approach?

2. Teach students to ask themselves questions
Encourage students to ask themselves questions. The questioning process starts the thinking process. When students begin to ask themselves “Why?” and “How?” questions, both alertness and interest increase. There … >>>


Rewards change motivation

I was talking with a friend yesterday who told me the following story.

Recently she had been chatting with a man who coaches soccer teams of 8 and 9 year olds. He mentioned that this year he’d had a lot of difficulty in getting his players to work together as a team.

My friend, an experienced teacher, started to offer some suggestions; she knew of many activities that might encourage teamwork.  But the man quickly stopped her.

“Oh, you don’t understand,” he said.  “It’s not the kids who are the problem––it’s the parents!  The parents have all promised their children that they’ll get two dollars every time they score a goal. The kids are so intent on getting … >>>


When to Teach the Raise Responsibilty Sytem


I had the pleasure of hearing you speak in New Orleans. Thank you for your encouraging words.

I am a fourth grade teacher who desperately wants to move away from students only working for rewards, which is the nature of “behavior plans” at my school. After implementing a few of your strategies in my classroom, I am pleased with the way my students have responded. Because I, and all their previous teachers, have used rewards, I am unsure how the students will react if I do away with all tangible rewards.



Use principle two, CHOICE, of the THREE PRINCIPLES TO PRACTICE of the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model.

Rather than stopping the use of rewards, give … >>>


Japanese Motivational Approach to Increase Learning

The following is from a communication I received:

Dr Marshall:

I really enjoyed your presentation in Margate, New Jersey. I am a strong believer in positive thinking and you verified many aspects that have been helpful to me. You specifically spoke about a Japanese classroom during your talk. Unfortunately, I did not hear what you said because I was taking notes. Would you mind telling me the benefits of a Japanese classroom?

I also enjoy your newsletters. Even though I have been teaching for over 30 years, there is still so much to learn especially from experts like you.

Thank you,

Kathy Revelle

I responded as follows:

Dear Kathy,

The JAPANESE teaching model starts by tapping into student motivation. … >>>


Procedures and Motivation

Procedures are critical for motivation and for success in the classroom.

If there is a procedure for doing something, and not all students are doing it, practice the procedure.

When a student asks about something, or isn’t doing something for which you have a procedure,  simply ask, “What is our procedure?”  Put the responsibility on the student to think of the procedure or to practice it after a reminder.

When the class doesn’t do something by the procedure, simply stop and practice.

Part I of the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model is critical to successful teaching, learning, and discipline

Without taking care of classroom management (developing, teaching and practicing procedures,) it’s very difficult to have success in helping kids to … >>>


Motivation and Great Teaching

A cover article of Time Magazine was entitled, “How to Make Better Teachers.”

My thoughts after reading the article:

Great teachers understand that they are in the “relationship business.” Many students—especially those in low socio-economic areas—put forth little effort if they have negative feelings about their teachers. Superior teachers establish good relationships and have high expectations.

These teachers communicate in positive ways, such as letting their students know what the teacher wants them to do, rather than by telling students what not to do. Great teachers inspire rather than coerce. They aim at promoting responsibility rather than obedience because they know that obedience does not create desire.

Great teachers identify the reason that a lesson is being taught and … >>>


How can I let those Level D “wonders” know they are wonderful?


I have 5 kids in my second grade class who take most of my attention because of their misbehavior.  I feel so badly for the other students who are on task and listening, because honestly, they don’t get very much of my attention.  I try to point out what Level D looks like and give these great students more freedom but still I don’t feel that’s enough.  How can let these wonders know that they are being wonderful?


We often had discussions about this on my staff years ago.  Some of us were starting to feel uncomfortable with rewards, awards and trophies etc.,  but our principal at the time felt that the “good kids never got anything.” He … >>>


Stopping Confrontations Immediately by Using the Hierarachy

Someone wrote the following:

“I am teaching at an urban middle (6-8) charter school in Indianapolis. It is the first year, and the school has expelled a number of kids. I am on a temporary assignment (3 weeks). My teacher friend has adapted the, “They are not serious about their education” approach and has a dumbed down curriculum.

“I have had success in simply using the hierarchy when I was struggling with teaching middle school. So I taught the hierarchy. In order to bring the class to order, I used a whole class approach of stating the number of students not at levels C or D and then stating the behaviors being displayed as being either A or B behaviors. … >>>


An Empowering Story

The old story told of a banker who often dropped a coin in a beggar’s cup bears repeating.

Unlike most people, the banker would insist on getting one of the pencils the beggar had with him. The banker would say, “You are a merchant, and I always expect to receive good value from the merchants with whom I do business.”

That daily routine went on for some time, but one day the poor street beggar was gone. Time passed, and the banker forgot about him.

Years later the banker walked by a little store, and there was the former beggar, now a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper said, “I always hoped you might come by some day. You are largely responsible for … >>>


The 15-Minute Rule

She was a vibrant picture of health and an inspiring speaker. The audience was stunned to see a slide of her when she was morbidly obese. She had lost 125 pounds and spoke about how diet and exercise saved her life.

The question was asked what she did when she wanted to go off her diet and when she didn’t feel like exercising.

She described her 15-Minute Rule. She explained that when she had a craving for something that she knew she shouldn’t eat, she told herself, “I CAN eat that, but I will wait 15 minutes.”

Invariably something happened in those 15 minutes that got her mind off food. She would make a phone call, check her e-mail, write … >>>


The Hawthorne Effect

The idea of communicating a caring interest to those with whom we work—as parents, teachers, administrators, or leaders—was first documented in a classic study on human relations and is known as the “Hawthorne Effect.” It emanated from a study that took place in the late 1920’s at Western Electric’s Hawthorne plant near Chicago.

Researchers went into the factory to see if, by increasing room lighting for a group of employees, the productivity would increase. Improvements did indeed seem to boost worker output. But much to their surprise, when the researchers analyzed a comparable group with no change in the lighting, their productivity also improved.

Further study and analysis of this puzzling result showed that productivity increased because the workers were … >>>


High School/Adult Book- “Everyday Greatness”

I recently came across a book from the public library and thought that I’d pass along the title for those who enjoy reading about Level D!

The book is called “Everyday Greatness–Inspiration for a Meaningful Life.”  It’s actually a book of excerpts from Reader’s Digest that have been organized into various themes.  The Table of Contents looks like a list of virtues.  In each theme there is commentary by Stephen Covey and then some related quotes.

I find that I can more easily motivate my students when I feel motivated myself!  Reading stories about individuals who have acted from a place of internal motivation encourages me to think deeply about the value of such behavior.  In turn, this … >>>