How do we get students to do hard things? It’s true that most classrooms grapple with this concept in some form or another whether the students are high-achieving or not. It is a universal challenge; however, in our intervention classrooms, there is an acute need for an immediate and intentional set of moves with a potential to reverse these students’ pattern of chronic failure.
In Table 1, we see that growth minded behaviors seem to logically lead to higher growth and
achievement. But most of us know that
telling students to have a growth mindset is not successful. Knowing I CAN grow
and then making the leaps needed to do the work to grow is a wide chasm that
many people choose not to cross. Just
apply this concept to our adult lives. I KNOW I can train to run a marathon. 26.1 miles is doable. But will I do the work,
put in the time, let other people watch me do it badly, get a slow time, pay
the money, and do what I say I will by the race date? Well, in order to do that, I need more than
the knowledge that “I can.”
Adapted from Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
What do you do to get
your students to do hard things? Comment below to share with others!
In part I of this post, let’s discuss two out of four moves that we can make in intervention settings to accelerate our students’ motivation as well as their reading and math skills.
Move 1: Belonging
First, a student has to feel like she is part of a learning community, and to identify herself as part of the in-group of students who work hard at learning. If she doesn’t see herself in this group, she will choose out-group behaviors (truancy, not completing work, etc.) to create a sense of belonging. Taking the time to build a classroom community of learners is time well spent in our intervention courses.
Some ways to build a community in an intervention setting are:
Move 2: Sense of Purpose
How well does a task relate to current and future goals? Oh geez! While it may feel overwhelming to “own” the idea of connecting your class to a child’s goals (especially since many are a bit fuzzy about their goals themselves), there are things we should know that will help us resiliently support our students.
Typically, intervention students don't expect good results in school, and they are unsure of the value of school in their life. This is described as Expectancy-Value theory and is a key to understanding the achievement behaviors students choose.
If a student expects that school will not help him achieve his goals, he is unlikely to engage purposefully in learning tasks. How can you help him foster a sense of purpose?
Summer is a perfect time to reflect and plan for infusing these moves purposefully into your teaching practices. What is inspiring you?
In my August post, I will discuss two other moves we can make to foster motivation in an intervention setting:
For more on this topic
see Diehl’s post on Shaped
Dweck, Carol S.. (2008) Mindset :the new psychology of success New York : Ballantine Books, 263.
Green, S. (2002). Using an expectancy-value approach to examine teachers' motivational strategies. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18(8), 989-1005.
Martin, A., & Dowson, M. (2009). Interpersonal relationships, motivation, engagement, and achievement: Yields for theory, current issues, and educational practice. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 327-65.
Walton, Greg. “Supporting Students' Sense of Belonging.” Mindset Scholars Network, 14 Sept. 2017, mindsetscholarsnetwork.org/supporting-students-sense-belonging/.
As an educational consultant, author, and curriculum designer, Emily Diehl translates the latest educational research on academic mindsets and motivation into student programs and teacher practices. She served as an ELA and Reading teacher and instructional coach in South Sacramento, California, implementing mindset research in schools with students and adults. In 2009, she began her work with Mindset Works, Inc., as a classroom teacher, then joined the team in 2013. Emily supports schools across the country in implementation of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Leadership, and professional learning sessions working with schools like School District of Philadelphia; New York City Schools; Washington, DC, Public Schools; Cincinnati Public Schools; and Los Angeles Unified School District. She has contributed to programs for Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Mindset Works, including MATH 180, READ 180, Brainology, MindsetMaker, and LeaderKit. She frequently writes for the Mindset Works blog and other publications.