Engaging “Passive Learners”

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Engaging “Passive Learners”. Jason O’ Shell, B.A., Page County High School Brandon K. Schultz, Ed.D., NCSP, James Madison University. Agenda. Academic Motivation ‘Passive Learners’ Targeting Motivation? Typical targets for intervention Theoretical intervention models - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Engaging “Passive Learners”

  • Engaging Passive LearnersJason O Shell, B.A., Page County High SchoolBrandon K. Schultz, Ed.D., NCSP, James Madison University

  • AgendaAcademic MotivationPassive LearnersTargeting Motivation?Typical targets for interventionTheoretical intervention modelsReal-World (Feasible) Applications

    Our Goal: Explain the why and how to improve student motivation

  • What Causes ADHD?(Nigg, 2006)The causes are unclear, but research strongly suggests a biological linkSome environmental toxins (e.g. lead) may be associated with ADHD, but only explain a small portion of casesBrain imaging techniques have found significant differences in specific parts of the brain for ADHD and peersEEG scans have been shown to differ between ADHD and peers

  • Academic MotivationMotivation has been defined as desires, needs, and interests that energize the organism and direct it toward a goal (Santrock, 1987, p. 662)Motivation related to achievement has been examined in many waysFrom this growing literature, some useful concepts have emerged

  • Academic Motivation(Covington, 2000; Olivier & Steenkamp, 2004)Early theorists suggested there are two components of motivation:

    These drives oftentimes conflict, and a students classroom behavior depends on the balance or imbalance of the twoMotivationHope for SuccessFear of Failure

  • Academic Motivation(Hermans, as cited in Olivier & Steenkamp, 2004)

    Later theorists divided fear of failure into two subcomponents:Low AnxietyHigh AnxietyPerformancePositive Fear of Failure anxiety that improves performanceNegative Fear of Failure anxiety that impedes performance

  • Passive Learners(Barron, Evans, Baranik, Serpell, & Buvinger, 2006)What is the motivation profile of an adolescent with ADHD and/or related learning difficulties?Tend to have a long history of failure experiences, which reduces hopes for future successesIm never going to be a good studentTend to be motivated by fear (avoiding failure) rather than hope for successI just dont want to look totally stupid

  • Passive Learners(Olivier & Steenkamp, 2004)Performance goal orientation Poor self-regulationPoor frustration tolerance (e.g., find shorter shortcuts)External locus of controlLow self-esteemHigh reward thresholds

  • 146 Elementary Students, 70% with ADHD (Volpe et al., 2006)Prior Reading AchievementADHDMotivationSocial SkillsStudy SkillsEngage- mentCurrent Reading AchievementMeasured by Standardized Test Scores

  • Targeting Motivation?How do we improve motivation?Traditionally, we use reward systems (e.g., token economies), most often with younger children in highly structured settingsIn theory, providing extrinsic rewards (e.g., points, special activities) eventually leads to intrinsic motivationwhen it is done correctly

  • Targeting Motivation?But what about middle and high school? Is it too late to influence an adolescents intrinsic motivation?Can we strengthen desire or interest?

    The research to date seems to have focused on extrinsic influences on motivation, and not so much on intrinsic factors (Piana & Volpe, 2008)

  • Typical Targets for Intervention (Piana & Volpe, 2008)Prior Reading AchievementADHDSocial SkillsStudy SkillsEngage- mentCurrent Reading AchievementLearning StrategiesMedication / Behavior Mod.Class ParticipationMotivation

  • Real-World ApplicationsWhat are the best ways to address passive learning styles and performance goal orientations?Classroom environmentCooperative learning?Motivation to complete assignmentsBuilding interest & providing feedbackConveying concepts effectivelyStructuring writing assignments

  • Targeting Passive Learners


  • Targeting Passive LearnersAn inviting classroom

    Motivating to read

    Using concepts/vocabulary

    Clarifying & organizing writing

  • An inviting classroom?

  • More inviting?

  • Classroom environmentSeating & technologyOrder & interactionWhat works?

    Sights & soundsPique curiosityMost things work

  • Motivating to readBalancing consequences & rewardsExpectations & choicesChecking progress FrequencySimple pleasures

  • Using concepts/vocabularyCopy the notes?Give the notes?

    What about vocabulary?

  • Clarifying & organizing writingMain ideaTopic sentenceThesisS + D+ 3RTAGSupport an opinionDiscuss a topicState a position


  • ReferencesBarron, K. E., Evans, S. W., Baranik, L. E., Serpell, Z. N., & Buvinger, E. (2006). Achievement goals of students with ADHD. Learning Disability Quarterly, 29, 137-158.Covington, M. V. (2000). Goal theory, motivation, and school achievement: An integrative review. Annual Reviews of Psychology, 51, 171-200.Olivier, M. A., & Steenkamp, D. S. (2004). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Underlying deficits in achievement motivation. International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, 26, 47-63.Piana, M., & Volpe, R. (2008). ADHD and motivation: Relevant research and meaningful strategies. Presentation at 40th annual National Association of School Psychologists Conference: Resilience: Building Strength for Life, New Orleans, LA. Santrock, J. W. (1987). Adolescence: An introduction (3rd Ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: Brown.Volpe, R. J., DuPaul, G. J., DiPerna, J. C., Jitendra, A. K., Lutz, G., Tresco, K., et al. (2006). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and scholastic achievement: A model of mediation via academic enablers. School Psychology Review, 35, 47-61.