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Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice

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Amy Rector-Aranda

on 5 February 2013

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Transcript of Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice

"Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice" Article by Eric Toshalis and Michael J. Nakkula The Results Matters of Behavior Student Voice Challenges Building Pathways The Scope There is an interrelated web made up of student motivation, engagement and voice that creates the essential whole: human agency in learning. Cognitive science has shown that the developing brain is highly shaped by environmental factors, but that it retains the "plasticity" to "rebuild, refurbish, reinforce, and even dismantle already constructed pathways..." As with cognition, students' behaviors are built upon their experiences. If those experiences are not supportive of their unique social, emotional, and psychological needs, they will not result in meeting the child's academic needs. "To learn something deeply, students need to internalize it and make it their own... "Students build motivational beliefs in relationship to a domain... then use these beliefs to orient themselves in new learning... Since motivation emerges as the individual responds to and prepares for the environment, when the individual or the environment changes, so too does motivation."

Human Development: Adolescence
Harry Prats
University of Cincinnati
Spring 2013 "If education is, at least in part, intended to help students effectively act upon their strongest interests and deepest desires, then we need a clearer understanding of how to cultivate that sense of agency." Presented by Amy Rector-Aranda The Context Student-Centered Approaches to Learning... Young people are "striving and struggling to make a life for themselves, an authentic life capable of surmounting challenges and accessing supports in their everyday world. A life that makes sense to them in their world - this is what motivation, engagement, and student voice address." The Experience of Agency "the capacity to act in a way that produces meaningful change in oneself or the environment" "...teachers work exceptionally hard to convince students that the day's lessons are worthy of their attention... When they fall short, young people tune out, disengage, and, ultimately, fail." The authors have found: Giving youth a stake in the outcomes is a powerful tool Academic achievement is increased through opportunities for choice, control, and collaboration Separating students based on perceived motivation or intelligence can be harmful Both intelligence and motivation are malleable: they can be changed Customized pedagogical approaches work better than "catch-all" techniques, or "teaching to the middle" "Students exist in a dynamic ecology;
it shapes them, while they also shape it." Emotional Climate Unique Backgrounds School can be a place where students experience support and encouragement; or where they feel marginalized -- the "other." Each student brings a particular set of individual interests, social, economic, and cultural backgrounds, personal history, and overall needs to school every day. "Motivating students to apply themselves requires knowing them, their beliefs, their anxieties, and their backgrounds and customizing approaches that are responsive to each. It does not require 'dumbing things down,' a common feature of lower-tracked classes." "Such students may wait for educators to draw them in, to feel invited, needed, interested, and even inspired before motivation rises to a level that propels achievement-oriented activity." Students
at the Center "Seen as vital, indispensable actors in the shaping of school learning contexts, students are understood to be motivated by ethics of care, contribution, and compassion." Toshalis, E., & Nakkula, M.J. (2012). Motivation, engagement, and
student voice. The Education Digest, 78(1), 29-35. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1039300585?accountid=2909

Toshalis, E., & Nakkula, M.J. (2012). Motivation, engagement, and
student voice. The Students at the Center Series. Boston, MA: Jobs for the Future. Retrieved from http://studentsatthecenter.org/papers/motivation-engagement-and-student-voice "Neural pathways are built whenever we learn something. The pathways that get used the most and connect to the greatest number of related pathways become the guiding tendencies in our way of thinking, which in turn shape subsequent learning." Being both supportive AND having high expectations is the ideal. Intrinsic, self-regulation is much more effective than external motivators at effecting true engagement If maladaptive pathways become the guiding tendencies, the student suffers. However, these pathways are susceptible to "teachable moments" that can shift the student's tendencies onto a more positive route. The authors pay specific attention to: The shift from behaviorism to constructivism... "Constructivism observes that the human mind generates knowledge rather than absorbs it." Extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation... "Motivations tend to be stronger, more resilient, and more easily sustained when they emerge from internally held goals rather than from externally applied coercion." Self-Determination Theory... Student motivation often depends on "the extent to which they feel their actions are or will be self-determined. The key contributors...are experiences of competence, autonomy, and relatedness." Expectancy-Value Theory... "We choose to participate in those arenas about which we care most deeply and in which we can expect to succeed... We are motivated to devote energy to those activities..." Students who most need help are also the least likely to ask for it. "Findings like these highlight how important it is to consider help seeking, not just as an academic self-regulatory strategy, but also as a social interaction with others.
...achievement motivation is the product of school structures, relationships, and social interactions, not just an internal process." To be able to use that learning and influence issues that matter to them, students need to participate substantively: They need to practice leading in contexts that provide autonomy, agency, and the personalized attention of caring adults." Perhaps the most influential of all factors is whether students view intelligence and ability as something achievable, as opposed to something one either innately has or does not have. "If a particular student believes intelligence is largely a matter of effort, then that student is likely to be more motivated to exert effort, attempt difficult academic tasks, and persist despite setbacks, confusion, and even failure." Students must be taught to believe in persistence, and to associate achievement with effort. "Students tend not to choose avoidance behaviors and maladaptive strategies when alienating experiences are minimized." "Students create knowledge more than just absorb it, which helps us understand why students want to do things that enhance that feeling of creation." Student voice drives motivation and engagement as it enhances the ability to exercise AGENCY. Voice is important for adolescents who are developing their sense of identity and aptitude for higher thinking. The Need The authors frame other potential difficulties in implementing student voice... "the need to alter traditional structures, practices, beliefs, and values to allow student voice to flourish" "cultivating
'respectful disagreement' between youth and adults" "time limits, levels of administrative support, worries about teachers losing power..." "the authenticity of voices, and whether full inclusion of all voices is being achieved" "the supposed opposition between standardization and individualization" Perhaps the most pressing challenge is providing teachers the support needed to make student-centered learning a core methodology. "Absent growth opportunities and peer networks that sustain teachers' motivation, engagement, and voice, it is likely teachers will avoid student-centered techniques and regress to far easier, far less productive 'stand and deliver' sorts of pedagogies." However... "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 succeed academically, and develop into healthy adults, they require each of these experiences." References Diagrams Question for reflection... Can you remember from your adolescence a teacher or classroom environment that supported your personal sense of agency and voice? One that had a more "traditional" approach to student-teacher roles? Describe, compare, and reflect on your level of learning in each of these environments.
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