Motivation Matters: A Workbook for School Change

Motivation Matters: A Workbook for School Change

by Margery B. Ginsberg




Motivation Matters provides school administrators, K-12 teachers, and teacher educators innovative strategies and tools for school change. With a focus on instructional practice that enhances motivation among diverse learners, this important resource helps schools to become more intentional about inspired teaching and learning.
This book gives educators at all levels the means to become strong instructional leaders and school renewal facilitators. It provides coherent professional development plans that are easily customized to any learning context.
Margery B. Ginsberg— coauthor of the highly acclaimed Creating Highly Motivating Classrooms for All Students— elaborates on numerous strategies from that book. She offers five themes for implementing instructionally focused change
  • A shared language for teaching and learning
  • Approaches to strengthen adult collaboration
  • Innovative ways to collect and use data
  • Ways to strengthen parent and community participation, and
  • A school identity that goes beyond conventional vision statements

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780787964719
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/17/2003
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 8.44(w) x 11.02(h) x 0.44(d)

About the Author

Margery B. Ginsberg is an independent researcher and consultant in Boulder, Colorado. She works nationally and internationally to provide support for instructionally focused, comprehensive school renewal. She has a background as a teacher on two Indian reservations, university professor, and Texas Title I technical assistance contact for the United States Department of Education. She is the coauthor of Diversity and Motivation from Jossey-Bass.

Read an Excerpt

Motivation Matters

A Workbook for School Change
By Margery B. Ginsberg

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7879-6471-9


THIS BOOK PROVIDES concrete approaches to facilitate school renewal based on principles of intrinsic motivation-among students and educators. It describes strategies that award-winning high-poverty public schools have used to become not only more inclusive of but more relevant and challenging to students of diverse student groups. In these schools academic achievement has increased; disproportional rates of achievement among diverse student groups is being reduced; and incidents of school violence have sharply declined.

Although many factors influence the success of ongoing school renewal, in all of the schools that have tested the strategies in this book, teachers regularly work together to share their expertise and engage in inquiry. The approaches these teachers use vary according to the unique strengths, challenges, and aspirations of the school, but all these teachers have one thing in common: they focus on the before, during, and after of lesson or unit design by planning learning experiences together, opening their classroom doors to one another, and engaging in reflective practices through action research, lesson study, and the examination of student work.

Instructional practice and its influence on student motivation and learning is the central concern of successful schools. All other school improvementconsiderations complement this emphasis. Governance structures, scheduling, family and community involvement, environment, safety, and counseling are important to the extent that they help a school develop its focus on curriculum, instruction, and assessment. As Richard Elmore (2002, p. 1) explains, "We are viscerally and instinctively inclined to move the boxes around on the organizational chart, to fiddle with the schedule. We are attracted and drawn to these things largely because they're visible and, believe it or not, easier to do than to make the hard changes, which are in instructional practice." The academic community is in general agreement that public schools in the United States that sustain the centrality of schoolwide instructional practice are seeing impressive gains in student performance (Elmore, 2002; Neumann, 1999; Noguera and Moran Brown, 2002). A requisite to accomplishing this is a coherent professional development plan that serves as the cornerstone of school improvement-whether school improvement is based on a schoolwide plan in which funding streams are coordinated, a comprehensive school reform demonstration grant, a state-mandated change process, or a district template for annual and ongoing improvement.

Typically, the professional development plans of successful schools are the creation of teachers and school-based administrators, with support from a district representative or an external facilitator. Adult learning is embedded in the same motivational conditions that teachers aspire to create in their classrooms for students. The pedagogical language to maintain this focus on intrinsically motivating pedagogy-instructional practice that encourages learning because the learning itself is of value-may vary from the conceptual framework presented in this book. But whatever the language they use, successful schools seek schoolwide agreement on this: all students of all backgrounds are entitled to and thrive on learning that is emotionally, socially, and cognitively significant and rewarding. This is the essence of intrinsic motivation. The tools in this book have been created and field-tested with instructionally focused, motivationally anchored school improvement in mind.

Although intrinsic motivation can work in partnership with extrinsic rewards, for example, national awards and recognition, if learning is to be cognitively significant, it must be compelling (Deci and Ryan, 1991; Lambert and McCombs, 1998). Many educators, of course, agree that finding ways to encourage intrinsic motivation among students is essential, but the challenge can be daunting. In classrooms as diverse as those within the United States, motivation is inseparable from the historical, political, and contemporary influences on students and families. Student motivation, educational equity, and academic achievement require an understanding of how students learn as individuals and as members of their communities (Cohen, McLaughlin, and Talbert, 1993; Darling-Hammond and McLaughlin, 1995; McCombs, 1999). Teaching also requires a willingness to grapple with hard questions concerning race, racism, and our personal responsibility as educators. These issues have not historically been a significant part of the teacher education programs.

This is a primary reason that professional development is the linchpin of school reform aimed at raising academic performance. No amount of standards, benchmarks, and high-stakes testing can bring about school improvement without attention to teachers' knowledge and practices, grounded within the context of the communities they serve (Ladson-Billings and Gomez, 2001). Based on traditions of success in U.S. schools, especially in high-poverty public schools, all of the renewal strategies in this book are within the teacher's sphere of influence and can become a part of daily professional development-although sometimes not without conflict. Because school change is controversial, several of the tools include ways to access ideas and methods that can help teachers cross boundaries that interfere with teacher collaboration and continuous improvement.

This book is a resource guide that stands alone. But it is most informative when used in conjunction with two other texts on motivationally anchored kindergarten through postsecondary renewal. Creating Highly Motivating Classrooms for All Students: A Schoolwide Approach to Powerful Teaching with Diverse Learners (Ginsberg and Wlodkowski, 2000) and Diversity and Motivation: Culturally Responsive Teaching (Wlodkowski and Ginsberg, 1995) provide a thorough examination of the cultural and theoretical foundations of the strategies within this text.

Five Themes for Successful School Renewal

This book categorizes strategies under five themes, each a significant influence on successful school renewal:

Using a schoolwide motivationally anchored language for teaching and learning

Facilitating collaborative adult learning

Using data in ways that go beyond high-stakes tests

Aligning advocacy for school change and support

Creating a signature or identity that goes beyond conventional vision statements

Chapter One provides background on the role of intrinsic motivation in school renewal and introduces a pedagogical language that Raymond Wlodkowski and I (Ginsberg and Wlodkowski, 2000) call the motivational framework for culturally responsive teaching. I encourage the schools with which I work to examine, apply, use, and elaborate on this framework to capture and share teacher knowledge. We created the motivational framework in 1995, but it has been made significant by teachers in schools throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia who have taken these principles to heart and used them to create high-performing schools where students and staff alike possess the will and the skill to engage in courageous learning. The first chapter also introduces the importance of a schoolwide instructional leadership cadre, a team of change advocates who work for school-based professional development. Chapter One includes case studies that integrate and illustrate several strategies to advance the success of a school.

Chapter Two introduces the instructional leadership cadre, whose members are the core of this kind of school renewal initiative. They are the first members of the school community to learn the language of the motivational framework, personalize its potential, apply it to their practice, and cocreate ways to introduce it to the school community as a whole. The chapter includes several strategies for selecting, organizing, developing, and focusing a cadre. It also includes forms for meetings and forms for the school-based reform coach, if a school is fortunate enough to have such a person. In addition, Chapter Two contains a professional development organizer that can help the school community ensure that its various goals and processes complement one another.

Chapter Three is about schoolwide collaboration. It provides ideas for finding additional time, helping grade-level or content teams focus their planning on motivating instruction and ways to assess student learning. It also provides efficient approaches to peer coaching, analysis of lessons through lesson studies, and collective problem solving. As with all of the chapters, Chapter Three provides several useful forms to guide processes. These are easy to duplicate and customize.

Chapter Four provides approaches to two kinds of data: (1) original data related to student motivation and learning and professional development benchmarks and (2) data from standardized tests. Two of the most popular forms of collecting original data are five-minute walk-throughs and data in a day. The walk-through helps administrators to strengthen their role as instructional leaders. At the same time, these help principals gather data to provide regular and comprehensive feedback to the school community on the extent to which teachers are anchoring practice in principles of motivation. Data in a day is another example of a process that schools value. It is a collaborative action-research approach that includes parents, community members, teachers, and, when appropriate, students who visit classrooms to take "snapshots" of how teaching looks throughout an entire school in a single day. This chapter also provides sample schoolwide plans and benchmarks for accomplishing professional development and other goals. Further, it provides an approach to creating a school portfolio that illustrates the school community, provides a communication tool for its members, and allows a school community to reflect on its accomplishments.

The focus of Chapter Five is signature and advocacy. Signature is a theme that excites a school community and integrates academic goals. Schools ask themselves: What do we want to model for the nation as a visionary demonstration site? Examples include community learning, literacy across the curriculum, technology and publishing, or as illustrated in Exhibit 5.2, integrating arts and literacy. Advocacy refers to the essential role of students, families, community members, and district personnel in rallying support for innovation. This chapter provides case studies that illustrate how schools can define a signature that helps everyone to pull in the same direction.


Excerpted from Motivation Matters by Margery B. Ginsberg Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


About the Author.


1. Using a Motivationally Anchored Language for Teaching and Learning.

2. Creating a Schoolwide Instructional Leadership Cadre.

3. Implementing Motivating Strategies for Schoolwide Collaboration.

4. Using Data to Strengthen Motivation and Learning.

5. Developing a Signature with Advocacy to Support It.

Appendix A: How Walkthroughs Open Doors.

Appendix B: By the Numbers.

Appendix C: Motivational Framework Guide.



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Moving from theory to practice is easier when you have a guide. Margery Ginsberg provides a very useful resource to help educators sustain their will and hone their skill to create powerful learning environments for all students."
— Beverly Daniel Tatum, president, Spelman College

"Ginsberg is a veteran educator who asks her reader to create classrooms and schools in which students and teachers alike engage in meaningful work within caring, supportive learning communities."
— Dennis Sparks, executive director, National Staff Development Council

"This manual provides powerful tools, examples, and resources that will enable teachers and administrators to bring about successful school change. Dr. Ginsberg also models a framework for school improvement that will motivate all students to reach their full potential and meet higher standards."
— Rachelle M. Salerno, principal, Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology Magnet School Lincoln Park, Albany, New York

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