Case Study in Motivation 1

Running head: EDU 615:

Module 8:

Case Study in Motivation

EDU 615 Fall B: Module 8 Assignment Shawnette Johnson December 16, 2011 University of New England Professor Darren Akerman

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Introduction The student that I chose for the case study is Tyrone. Tyrone is an eleven year old African- American male with one older sibling and three younger siblings. He lives with his

mother, three of the four siblings and his stepfather. Tyrone is the middle child, and he is constantly seeking encouragement from his mother. However, he does not receive the attention and positive reinforcement he needs from his parents. Although Tyrone has great potential, he lacks the intrinsic motivation to let his potential manifest in the classroom setting. For preschool children language acquisition does not start until age 2 approximately. Before language acquisition occurs, these children use their senses to relay feelings of want and need. In addition, children learn basic language from interaction with parents before entering school. According to Slavin, language begins with one word utters such as, “byebye”or “Mommy”, which represent objects the children recognize as important (Slavin, 2009, 66). Eventually these words combine to form two word sentences, and during this time vocabulary increases with rules of spoken language (Slavin, 2009, 66). The book mentions that children in middle class families have wider vocabularies than those from working or lower class families. Typically, children begin to develop language between four and

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six months. Tyrone experienced his developmental milestone of speaking his first words between 24 and 36 months. He was not able to formulate sentences until after 36 months. Consequently, Tyrone received speech and language therapy due to his language delays. As early as kindergarten Tyrone experienced academic deficiencies which led to gaps in learning. Since he was

retained in kindergarten, a school psychologist administered which led to a psycho-educational evaluation. Tyrone’s academic performance is reminiscent of a see-saw ride at a playground. In previous years, Tyrone did not do as well academically, in the first half of the school year, receiving F’s in all subject areas and by fourth quarter improving grades from failing to passing. to F’s. Science tends to be Tyrone’s strong point, which also correlates with his highest grade. At times he would put forth Currently, Tyrone is receiving grades ranging from B’s

effort by working on the level of an average student which includes class work, homework, and participation. However, at other times, he seems to be the exact opposite: refusing to participate, lacking motivation, and displaying a defiant attitude. I have realized that Tyrone has low self esteem and

he also thinks that the most important person in the world to

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him, his mother, does not care about him.

Tyrone has been

observed on several occasions making comments such as, “So, my momma don’t care,” and “She ain’t gonna do nothing.” Because of feeling the lack of parental support, Tyrone responds to parental requests with complete and utter refusal. not get intimidated by adults, not even his father. While I have a variety of students to choose from in my emotional behaviorally disordered class, the student that I have chosen is very unique in his abilities and efforts. Although Tyrone does

every student has academically good and bad day, this student’s academic good and bad days are extreme. On days that this

student feels like working he produces above average work. During whole group instruction time he is focused on the lesson. He has the capability to answer any question that you ask him, he is willing to participate, whatever the task, and when his assignments are turned in, he receives A’s and B’s. particular grades even make him smile. In contrast, when he is not having a great day, it is very evident. His attitude is different towards class work. He These

boldly states that he will not do the work.

He puts his head No matter

down with his jacket over his head and goes to sleep.

what we do or say to him, he becomes defiant, reluctant, and

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His school work does not get turned in, and he does

not care if he receives a failing grades. The student also likes to initiate trouble between other students. While he is small in stature he likes to instigate This

things with the other boys in the classroom by gossiping.

student is very unpredictable, because he can come to class with a smile on his face, and those will be the days when we can barely get any work out of him. great challenge for any teacher. The motivational theories I think would be best tailored to fit the student is a combination of selfdetermination theory and attribution theory. This student has a This student at times can be a

strong determination; unfortunately it is determination to do the wrong things. school year. My desire is to change that by the end of the

With attribution theory, we will conference about

assignments and grades and work on the three dimensions of attribution; stability, locus and control. Instructional

interventions I plan to use include: providing more choices for him, placing him next to a student, whose self-esteem is stronger, who will encourage him, having him do his assignments in smaller sections, having him work one on one with the teacher, and allowing him to teach the class on lesson that he feels confident about.

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Tyrone tries hard to please adults. are very weak.

His academic skills

He seems to learn better when he gets individual

attention, and he seeks the approval of others when he gets answers correct. Frequent reinforcement for correct answers is

a good motivator for Tyrone and his classmates seemed to have noticed that as well, and they try to encourage him as often as they can. Observation 1 The classroom is arranged with individual desk each separated by partitions for science class. The partitions are

there to aid students in focusing on the instructor and classroom activity. During this particular science lecture The

students were engaged in a discussion about weathering.

instructor was attempting to have students recall information from previous lectures and notes. She used a question answer

approach, allowing students to answer the questions at will. Due to the non- traditional structure the teacher allows, Tyrone was sitting slouched back in his chair, appearing inattentive and unmotivated. As the teacher asked the

questions, the students began calling out the answers. Among the sea of incorrect answers, Tyrone was able to answer the question

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Although Tyrone appeared uninterested in the

lesson, his nonchalant correct answer proved that science is a strong point for him. He quickly scanned the room, with a

grin to searching for approval from peers and other adults, and was encouraged to keep up the good work. Small celebratory

gestures from adults and peers aide in keeping Tyrone motivated in an untraditional environment that can contribute to his lack of commitment to school. Observation 2 Tyrone is observed in an independent work setting, which is his preferred method of learning. Social Studies class is

taught by a veteran teacher with sixteen years of experience working with students with special needs. The teacher has a

command of the classroom, and students are taught to raise their hand before answering a question. The teacher begins each

phrase with “Raise your hand…” to promote appropriate behaviors. Tyrone tends to dislike social studies due to the amount of reading that is required. He is easily intimidated by the When he was given an article on

number of words on the page.

the Holocaust, Tyrone was very adamant about not completing the assignment because of the amount of reading, making comments such as , “That’s too hard, I’m not doing all of that, or that’s too many words.” His reading assessments indicate that he has

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difficulties in the areas of reading fluency, and comprehension. On the Qualitative Reading Inventory (QRI) Tyrone scored on a second grade level for reading comprehension. Another test was administered in the beginning of the school year, the Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE), for sight word recognition, Tyrone scored on a second grade fourth month level. Phonemic decoding efficiency was also tested and GRASP (Georgia RESA

he scored on a second grade level.

Assessment of Student Progress) was also administered and he scored within the second grade range on those test as well. Tyrone seems insecure about his ability to perform. His insecurities often cause him to look to his instructors for reassurance, when working one on one. As a result the teacher

works independently with Tyrone to keep him from completely disengaging from the lesson this allows him to feel more comfortable and be successful. Observation 3 Testing is a requirement for all students, rather formal or informal, and Tyrone was observed once again in the science setting. Tyrone was given a science test to take on moon

phases, and although Tyrone knew the information quite well, he immediately said that he wasn’t going to take the test, for no apparent reason. The teacher sat down next to Tyrone and

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attempted to read the test questions to him and he would respond to each one “I don’t know!” Effective Strategies For Tyrone to be successful in the classroom setting and master the concepts involved in the Georgia Performance Standards, he needs positive reinforcement, praise and acknowledgement. These are effective strategies I could use to ensure that Tyrone achieves his potential. Tyrone rarely hears

encouragement from his mother due to their dysfunctional relationship. Because of the amount of siblings in the household, Tyrone is in constant competition with his siblings for his mother’s attention. The classroom setting is one of the few environments where Tyrone can receive the positive feedback he needs to move toward success. Tyrone needs extrinsic motivation. Examples of acknowledgment include giving high fives, fist bumps, or verbal encouragement such as “Good job!” and “Awesome!” I would also make sure that my verbal encouragement was specific, such as “ Tyrone, I like the adjective you used to describe the monster. Awesome job!”. However, I have to make sure that my praise for Tyrone is sincere and that I do not overdo it; otherwise, it can backfire and Tyrone may doubt my sincerity. I would also make sure to

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state this in front of the class so Tyrone could also receive positive acknowledgment from his peers. Other incentives I could provide for Tyrone include occasional treats. The rewards need to be sporadic so he will not expect it every time he masters a concept. Instant feedback and progress monitoring are also effective strategies I could use to increase Tyrone’s motivation. When Tyrone is able to see his progress toward a goal, he can work harder to accomplish various tasks. It is imperative that I provide him with feedback on ongoing formative assessments so he can know how much progress he has attained at a specific point. One strategy that would not work for Tyrone is the incentive chart and stickers. Tyrone was very indifferent to stickers on a chart. However, depending upon Tyrone’s moods, sometimes tickets would be effective in curbing unwanted behavior. Tyrone was very interested in knowing how many tickets he had earned toward the point values. There are many different types of learner in the classroom and it is important to differentiated instruction. Due to the fact my student Tyrone becomes easily intimidated by work he has never seen before it is important to break work into sections. For example on an average day in science a student might read an entire unit within a chapter and then answer the questions at

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the end of the section. Tyrone would become easily demotivated, shut down, and then would refuse to do work. Therefore, it became important to give him work in smaller sections and move on to the next subject and then come back to the unit either later in the day or the next day. In conclusion, I have learned many things about my student Tyrone and the different approaches to learning and discipline I need to take in order to be successful with him. There is not one right way to teach or motivate Tyrone and it is important to display that in the classroom. When it came to Tyrone, I realized early on that every day is a new day when it comes to working with this particular type of student. One approach very rarely worked with him because his days, actually hours, were very sporadic. One class period the student would be on task and learning and within the next minute the student would become intimidated by a worksheet that was given. Over the course of the semester that I worked with the student I realized he was actually very brilliant and had the mental capacity to retain and apply information at his grade level. I also learned his home life and his mother was very unstable. Tyrone has constantly seeked approval from her but very rarely received any; his interpretation of the situation was if my mother does not care why would anyone else care. The student trying to

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overcome all of these issues such as intimidation of work, family, and self-esteem has truly come a long way with the methodologies I have implemented. One thing I learned from this study was, using a thematic approach to teaching the different components of reading, could possibly increase a student’s level of motivation, by giving them a sense of ownership and allowing them to become experts on that topic. From doing my own research I have come to the realization student develop their own meaning and understanding. Important strategies I will continue to implement within the classroom is positive reinforcement. Many of the students I teach do not receive enough positive feedback for the good that they and it is important they hear when they have great achievements.

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Reference Slavin, R.E. (2009), Systematic Reviews of Research Educational Programs: Methodological and Substantive issues. In R St. Clair (Ed), Education Science: Critical

Perspectives (pp. 53–70). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.