Looking Back and Ahead:
Integrating Motivational Goals
Into Your Planning and Teaching
If you have read through the rest of the book before turning to this chapter, you may be feeling that the whole topic of motivation is much more complicated than you thought. You also may be daunted at the prospect of trying to integrate so many principles into your teaching. This is understandable. After all, in the very first chapter I described factors built into schooling that limit your motivational options (the high student–teacher ratios, the public nature of much teacher–student interaction, the need to work through an established curriculum and assign grades to students instead of just acting as a mentor and resource person).
Then, in subsequent chapters, I developed a lengthy list of motivational principles for you to keep in mind, frequently attaching qualifications on when or how they should be used: If used as incentives, rewards should be delivered in ways that communicate verification of accomplishment rather than exercise of your power as an authority figure; praise should be communicated mostly in private rather than in public; feedback should emphasize advances in knowledge or skill rather than normative comparisons; value-oriented strategies should focus on developing students' motivation to learn rather than just on connecting with their existing intrinsic motivation; and so on. Implementation of many principles requires not just using a strategy but doing so in just the right way (delivering the right kinds of praise in the right situations, attributing successes to one set of causes but failures to another). In addition, you may need to make adjustments in response to developments in students (continuing to provide just the right levels of challenge as students gain confidence, doing less structuring and scaffolding of their learning efforts and transferring more responsibility for self-regulation of learning to them as they develop expertise).