Engaging “Passive Learners” Jason O’ Shell, B.A., Page County High School Brandon K. Schultz, Ed.D., NCSP, James Madison University

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

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Page 1: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Engaging “Passive Learners”Jason O’ Shell, B.A., Page County High School

Brandon K. Schultz, Ed.D., NCSP, James Madison University

Page 2: Engaging “Passive Learners”


Academic Motivation ‘Passive Learners’ Targeting Motivation?

Typical targets for intervention Theoretical intervention models

Real-World (Feasible) Applications

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

Page 3: Engaging “Passive Learners”

What Causes ADHD?(Nigg, 2006)

The causes are unclear, but research strongly suggests a biological link

Some environmental toxins (e.g. lead) may be associated with ADHD, but only explain a small portion of cases

Brain imaging techniques have found significant differences in specific parts of the brain for ADHD and peers

EEG scans have been shown to differ between ADHD and peers

Page 4: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Academic Motivation

Motivation 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 ways

From this growing literature, some useful concepts have emerged…

Page 5: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Academic Motivation(Covington, 2000; Olivier & Steenkamp, 2004)

Early theorists suggested there are two components of motivation:

These drives oftentimes conflict, and a student’s classroom behavior depends on the balance or imbalance of the two


Hope for Success Fear of Failure

Page 6: Engaging “Passive Learners”

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

Later theorists divided fear of failure into two subcomponents:

Low Anxiety High Anxiety




Positive Fear of Failure – anxiety that improves performance

Negative Fear of Failure – anxiety that impedes performance

Page 7: Engaging “Passive Learners”

“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 successes

“I’m never going to be a good student” Tend to be motivated by fear

(avoiding failure) rather than hope for success

“I just don’t want to look totally stupid”

Page 8: Engaging “Passive Learners”

“Passive Learners”(Olivier & Steenkamp, 2004)

Performance goal orientation – Poor self-regulation Poor frustration

tolerance (e.g., find shorter shortcuts)

External locus of control

Low self-esteem High reward


Page 9: Engaging “Passive Learners”

146 Elementary Students,70% with ADHD(Volpe et al., 2006)



ADHD Motivation






Measured byStandardized Test Scores

Page 10: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Targeting Motivation?

How do we improve motivation? Traditionally, we use reward

systems (e.g., token economies), most often with younger children in highly structured settings

In theory, providing extrinsic rewards (e.g., points, special activities) eventually leads to intrinsic motivation—when it is done correctly

Page 11: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Targeting Motivation?

But what about middle and high school? Is it too late to influence an adolescent’s 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,


Page 12: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Typical Targets for Intervention(Piana & Volpe, 2008)















n /


ior M


Class Participation


Page 13: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Real-World Applications

What are the best ways to address passive learning styles and performance goal orientations? Classroom environment

Cooperative learning? Motivation to complete assignments

Building interest & providing feedback Conveying concepts effectively Structuring writing assignments

Page 14: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Targeting Passive [email protected]

Page 15: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Targeting Passive Learners

An inviting classroom

Motivating to read

Using concepts/vocabulary

Clarifying & organizing writing

Page 16: Engaging “Passive Learners”

An inviting classroom?

Page 17: Engaging “Passive Learners”

More inviting?

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Classroom environment

Seating & technology Order &

interaction What works?

Sights & sounds Pique curiosity Most things


Page 19: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Motivating to read

Balancing consequences & rewards Expectations & choices Checking progress Frequency Simple pleasures

Page 20: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Using concepts/vocabulary Copy the notes? Give the notes?

What about vocabulary?

Page 21: Engaging “Passive Learners”

Clarifying & organizing writing Main idea Topic sentence Thesis S + D+ 3R TAG Support an

opinion Discuss a topic State a position


Page 22: Engaging “Passive Learners”


Barron, 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.