Strategies to Promote Motivation in the Mathematics Classroom :

Strategies to Promote Motivation in the Mathematics Classroom TASEL-M August Institute 2006

Motivation in the Math Classroom :

Motivation in the Math Classroom In pairs discuss:
What, ideally, does student involvement in learning mathematics look and feel like from…
your perspective as a teacher?
the perspective of your students?

Research on Motivation :

Research on Motivation Guiding question: What factors promote (or discourage) students’ involvement in thinking about and developing an understanding of math?
“Involvement” is more than being physically on-task
Focused concentration and care about things making sense
Intrinsically motivated to persist
Cognitively engaged and challenged
Two areas of focus:
Cognitive Demand of Mathematical Tasks
Discourse Strategies
References
Henningsen & Stein (1997). Mathematical tasks and student cognition. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(5), 524-549.
Turner et al. (1998). Creating contexts for involvement in mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(4), 730-745.

Mathematical Tasks :

Mathematical Tasks What is cognitive demand?
Focus is on the sort of student thinking required.
Kinds of thinking required:
Memorization
Procedures without Connections
Requires little or no understanding of concepts or relationships.
Procedures with Connections
Requires some understanding of the “how” or “why” of the procedure.
Doing Mathematics Lower level Higher level

Examples of Mathematical Tasks (1) :

Examples of Mathematical Tasks (1) Memorization
Which of these shows the identity property of multiplication?
A) a x b = b x a
B) a x 1 = a
C) a + 0 = a
Procedures without Connections
Write and solve a proportion for each of these:
A) 17 is what percent of 68?
B) 21 is 30% of what number?
Too much of a focus on lower level tasks discourages student “involvement” in learning mathematics.

Examples of Mathematical Tasks (2) :

Examples of Mathematical Tasks (2) Procedures with Connections
Solve by factoring: x2 – 7x + 12 = 0
Explain how the factors of the equation relate to the roots of the equation. Use this information to draw a sketch of the graph of the function f(x) = x2 – 7x + 12.
Doing Mathematics
Describe a situation that could be modeled with the equation y = 2x + 5, then make a graph to represent the model. Explain how the situation, equation, and graph are interrelated.
Higher level tasks, when well-implemented, promote “involvement” in learning mathematics.

The Border Problem Without counting 1-by-1 and without writing anything down, calculate the number of shaded squares in the 10 by 10 grid shown.
Determine a general rule for finding the number of shaded squares in any similar n by n grid.

Video Case:Building on Student Ideas :

Video Case:Building on Student Ideas The Border Problem
What might be the lesson’s goals and objectives?
What is the cognitive demand of the task (as designed)?
As you watch, consider:
Who is doing most of the thinking?
How does the teacher support student “involvement”?
After watching, think about:
What sort of planning would this lesson require?
From: Boaler & Humphreys (2006). Connecting mathematical ideas. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Discourse Strategies (less involvement): I-R-E :

Discourse Strategies (less involvement): I-R-E Initiation-Response-Evaluation (I-R-E)
Ask a known-answer question
Evaluate a student response as right or wrong
Minimize student interaction through prescribed “turn taking”
Establish the authority of the text and teacher
Examples
What is the answer to #5?
What are you supposed to do next?
What is the reciprocal of 3/5? 5/3. Very good!
That is exactly what the book says.

Discourse Strategies (less involvement): Procedures Procedures
Give directions
Implement procedures
Tell students how to think and act
Examples
Listen to what I say and write it down.
Take out your books and turn to page 45.

Discourse Strategies (less involvement): Extrinsic Support :

Discourse Strategies (less involvement): Extrinsic Support Extrinsic Support
Superficial statements of praise (focus is not on the learning goals and objectives)
Threats to gain compliance
Examples
You have such neat handwriting.
These scores are terrible. I was really shocked.
If you don’t finish up you will stay after class.

Discourse Strategies (more involvement): Intrinsic Support :

Discourse Strategies (more involvement): Intrinsic Support Intrinsic Support
View challenge/risk taking as desirable
Respond to errors constructively
Comment on students’ progress toward the learning goals and objectives
Evoke students’ curiosity and interest
Examples
That's great! Do you see what she did for #5?
This may seem difficult, but if you stay with it you'll figure it out.
Good. You figured out the y-intercept. How might we determine the slope here?

Discourse Strategies (more involvement): Negotiation Negotiation
Adjust instruction in response to students
Model strategies students might use
Guide students to deeper understanding
Examples
What information is needed to solve this problem?
Try to break the problem into smaller parts.
Here is an example of how I might approach a similar problem.

Discourse Strategies (more involvement): Transfer Responsibility :

Discourse Strategies (more involvement): Transfer Responsibility Transfer responsibility
Support development of strategic thinking
Encourage autonomous learning
Hold students accountable for understanding
Examples
Explain the strategy you used to get that answer.
You need to have a rule to justify your statement.
Why does Norma’s method work?

Reflecting on Instructional Practices: Creating a Self-Inventory Rubric :

Reflecting on Instructional Practices: Creating a Self-Inventory Rubric How you can strengthen the ways student involvement and motivation are promoted and supported in your classes?
Write 3-5 statements about specific strategies you’d like to work to improve this year.
Draw ideas from On Common Ground, TARGET TiPS, motivation data, and Motivation in the Classroom presentation
Examples:
“I give students tasks that require them to think about mathematical relationships and concepts.”
“I provide feedback to students that promotes further thinking and improved understanding.”
“I allow opportunities for students to be an authority in mathematics.”
Identify where you are now and where you want to be.

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