Establishing a Learning
Community in Your Classroom
This chapter describes key features of classroom management, curriculum, instruction, and teacher–student relationships that create a social context that prepares the way for successful use of the motivational strategies discussed in the rest of the book. Those strategies are meant to be subsumed within an overall pattern of effective teaching that includes compatible approaches to managing the classroom and teaching the curriculum. Students will not respond well to motivational attempts if they are fearful, resentful, or otherwise focused on negative emotions. To create conditions that favor your motivational efforts, you will need to establish and maintain your classroom as a learning community—a place where students come primarily to learn, and succeed in doing so through collaboration with you and their classmates. You also will need to focus your curriculum on things that are worth learning and to develop this content in ways that help students to appreciate its significance and application potential.
It is commonly observed that certain preconditions must be in place before motivational strategies can be effective. Maslow's hierarchy of needs, for example, implies that lower level needs must be satisfied before higher level needs can become operative. Other examples have been developed by industrial and organizational psychologists studying factors that affect workers' satisfaction and productivity. Their studies indicate that workers' motivation is affected not only by the nature of their work and the rewards they