Steve Ward’s book What You Need to Know about Motivation and Teaching Games: An in Depth Analysis focuses on the concept of incorporating motivation while teaching children, especially when teaching them various play activities.
Whether or not a person is motivated, largely determines how well that person will perform on a task. Steve Ward’s book What You Need to Know about Motivation and Teaching Games: An in Depth Analysis focuses on the concept of incorporating motivation while teaching children, especially when teaching them various play activities. Steve discusses the idea of “steam” when looking at how motivated a learner is to participate in the activity or work task. A child with high steam exhibits behaviors such as looking intently at the materials, responding quickly to the instructions, and has a positive affect. Whereas, a child who has low steam is not engaged in the activity, responds slowly and has either a neutral or negative affect. Robert Schramm’s book, Motivation and Reinforcement: Turning the Tables on Autism, teaches parents and teachers how to incorporate motivation within their teaching so that children want to learn and choose to learn. Unlike many recommendations that encourage teachers to force a child to complete a task, Robert indicates that this process decreases a child’s motivation and pairs the teacher as an aversive stimulus. Instead, he provides a comprehensive set of seven steps that will allow the teacher to design the environment such that the child wants to learn and even seeks out the work setting. If a child is motivated and chooses to learn, the child will acquire skills more quickly than if forced to learn.
Application for Capturing Motivation
Capturing motivation can occur in several ways: within the instructional activity; creating the need for an item; and assessing preference then rewarding with a motivating item. Within your teaching materials, incorporate characters, items, or activities your students prefer, or that are interesting and fun for most children, as an easy way to capture motivation. For example, if your students prefer Mickey Mouse you can use a Mickey Mouse puppet to help sing the alphabet. To create a need for an item, there are thousands of opportunities that exist throughout the school day when you can withhold an item that is necessary to complete a preferred activity (e.g., withhold a spoon for an edible item so that the child has to request it or complete a demand to earn it). You might also turn an educational activity into a game (e.g., counting items and earning a piece of a preferred item for each piece counted). Lastly, to quickly assess for motivation prior to starting an instructional activity, show a child several items that he typically enjoys and see what interest he indicates for each item. Adding this assessment step, prior to starting a task, will ensure that what you present to the child as a reinforcer (after the task) is something the child is actually motivated by and wants to earn. Just presenting the child with an item that you think is fun runs the risk that it will not be truly reinforcing of the desired learning behaviors. Additional steps for capturing motivation and incorporating motivation within the classroom are included in the Motivation Guidelines Checklist. This list can be used to check for integrity and fidelity when capturing motivation in your classroom.
For Additional Information:
Schramm, R. (2011). Motivation and reinforcement: Turning the tables on autism. Raleigh, NC: Lulu.
Ward, S. (2008). What you need to know about motivation and teaching games: An in depth analysis. Raleigh, NC: Lulu.