The Motivation Breakthrough, October 2010

by Lorraine Combs

On Monday, October 11, 2010, the second Studio Teachers Meeting of the season took place at the home of Dorée Huneven, attended by eight MD/DC Chapter members.

The topic was motivation. Everyone watched a 90-minute video, “The Motivation Breakthrough,” by Richard Lavoie. It was filmed in 2008 in front of an audience of teachers and parents, all of whom were searching for ways to motivate their students and their children.

Lavoie began his talk by telling the group that most teachers and parents don’t understand motivation. He said that even he did not understand motivation until he began his research. He discovered that most of the things we think are true about motivation simply are not true. Rewards don’t work most of the time. Neither does punishment. On the other hand, all human behavior is motivated. If someone is motivated to walk out of the room during his talk, that person was motivated to do just that. If a student sleeps with his head on the desk during class, he’s motivated to sleep with his head on the desk.

Primary (physical) needs have a tremendous impact on what it takes for a student to be motivated.
     Need for elimination of waste
     Air and rest (the need for recess or a break)
     Escape from pain, either physical or psychological, such as embarrassment. (“Adolescence is a 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365-days a year battle to not be embarrassed.” —Mel Levine)

Secondary (psychological) needs must also be met. These can get complicated, and are not the same with each person.

The degree to which each of these needs is present in each individual gives an indication of how that person can be motivated.

This is the outline of the topic that was presented. After the session, members shared some lively discussion and a potluck lunch.


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