I’ve admired the work of Larry Ferlazzo since early on in my blogging career. I first came across him back when his blog earned numerous Edublog nominations and awards starting back around 2009. In the years since, he has been a prolific author, with numerous books about student motivation, a topic dear to my heart and mind.
Now I must admit with some embarrassment that it was only last week that I finally bought one of his many well-regarded books and started digging into it. Once I started reading Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation, I seriously didn’t want to put it down! This baby is just chock full of ideas, tools, and the kind of thinking that inspires me.
Self-Driven Learning … starts by making the case against extrinsic rewards as motivation. Ferlazzo cites an array of studies that make it clear that intrinsic or autonomous motivations are more effective than external rewards. Points, grades, and percentages are external motivational levers that do not consistently deliver the desired effect from all students. Fortunately, many studies show that engaging lessons, cooperative “discovery learning”, and many other techniques can encourage students to take learning into their own hands. In the book, many of these techniques are explored.
Throughout the book, Ferlazzo also offers links to sets of resources for further exploration, like these:
The Brain is like a muscle – developing a growth mind set.
It’s always been a belief of mine that everyone learns much better when they are treated and spoken to respectfully (as opposed to being talked down to, which is something too many teachers are far too willing to do).
Continuing on through Chapter 1, the author gets into the value of helping students understand that the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger with regular and rigorous use. A mini-lesson is offered in which students can explore the way that mistakes help the brain learn. Additional motivational techniques that build on instilling a growth mind set are shared and supported with research, including:
- The value of letting students see their own progress
- The benefits of setting and achieve goals
- The importance of helping students understand the relevance of topics to their own lives
The Chapter concludes with insights into the value of letting students teach other students as an intrinsic motivator. An extensive 5 Day “Teaching Others Lesson Plan” is provided, as are more “Best Resource” listings, like these two:
- Best Resources for Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger by Learning
- Best Rubric Sites – A Beginning Discussion About Their Use
So obviously, I’m really enjoying Larry’s book and look forward to sharing some more about it here before long (I think I’ll reach out and ask him if he’s up for an interview too)!
Here’s the link again, if you want to pick up a copy for yourself: Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation