2019 CSU Symposium -Dr. Margery Ginsbery


Hello, everyone. I’m really thrilled to be here with you. I also know that you are the after lunch bunch,
and I probably just have a few minutes to get in some really important ideas. First, though, I want to thank the people
who brought me here. As everybody else has been up on this podium
has recognized, these things, of course, don’t just fall into place. They take a lot of planning. Thank you for the folks right here, and in
particular to — here’s what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to start naming names, because
it gets tedious and also because there will be people I would leave out. I’ll just say this: Thank you for the wonderful
introduction, Emily, because it made me feel really good. And then I’ll just move on. I come to this topic after a long history
trying to think about ways in which we can improve systems and to, in a very productive
and positive way, interrupt some of the patterns and some of the institutional challenges that
are still with us today, without making everybody go run for cover. In the early days I tried to go directly to
issues that were highly controversial, and it was hard for the people that I wanted to
reach, which is a very large swath of people, to hear some of that. I think discourse, critical discourse, is
essential. I think talking about race and racism and
all the different kinds of biases is essential. My particular approach that I can offer is
to talk about motivation and to talk about motivational integrity. Of course, as our early-morning speaker did,
I went to a dictionary and looked up what integrity meant. Many of you, like me, use the word “integrity”
often and may not have a definition right on the top of your head. So this is pretty straightforward. Essentially, it’s the practice of doing what
it is you say you’re going to do. Now, I also looked up the definition of integrity
in the Urban Dictionary. Does anybody know what the Urban Dictionary
is? Other people who come to the site vote on
the definitions. I was drawn to this one. It’s having integrity is not lying. In other words, doing what you said you would
do, in caps, opposite of integrity, telling her you’re going to call and then, caps, not
calling. That’s the definition of a scum bag. [LAUGHTER] I’ve been thinking a lot about
integrity, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what it has to do with motivation. I’ve come to these three key ideas. This idea that it’s teaching in ways that
promote goal attainment among all learners, with motivation as an initiator, a mediator,
and an outcome of learning. I think this is really important because motivation
is something that many people think of as something that you do at the beginning, or
it’s a particular exercise that energizes or there are some of us who still remember
when motivation was a matter of receiving rewards or trying to avoid negative sanction
sanctions. Motivation is inseparable from learning. Motivation is to learning, as heat is to fire. It’s important to think this way if we’re
really going to get to the point in our instruction where instructional plans can be motivational
plans. So the definition of motivation is, the H2O
definition is energy directed toward a goal. In the old days, we used to think that it
was something that we did to other people, and in fact some of that language is still
around. I’m going to motivate you. You’ll hear people say that. But what happens when we think in that way
about motivation is it implies that you’re not motivated, that you don’t own your motivation,
that you’re dependent on me for motivation. It implicitly puts people in a one-down situation. In fact, all people are motivated. All people want to make sense of things that
they’re curious about. Everybody is motivated. So when we say things like, “My students aren’t
motivated,” what we may mean is, “My students aren’t motivated to learn what I’d like them
to learn.” Right? But they’re motivated. So the challenge for us as educators, and
I think there are students in the room as well, but the challenge for all of us as human
beings is to try to help people direct their attention and energy towards a goal that they
value, that has social value, and that ultimately increases the likelihood that their motivation
will continue. So in that way, it’s an initiator, a mediator
of learning, and it needs to be an outcome of learning. I’m glad that we don’t have ways of testing
whether or not motivation is an outcome of learning. That would give us one more great, big, giant
test to administer. But sometimes I feel really badly that there’s
no way for us to check in on that in particular. We look at course grades, completion rates
and so forth, but we really don’t have a mechanism for thinking about whether or not, when somebody
leaves a learning situation or a course, their motivation is still strong and will continue. Now, motivation is problematic. Motivation in higher education can be problematic,
because when we’re doing things that are the most motivating, sometimes we can feel really
alone. Sometimes we can feel that we’re calling our
own integrity into question, especially if we’re trying something new and novel, which
is really what it takes, and we haven’t succeeded yet. And also because it’s not always easy to rally
colleagues around an idea that’s new. So some of us have felt like this when it
comes to integrity. I’m going to hide this, so you don’t see where
we’re going right now. The big issue for me with motivation, more
than anything else, is that when we primarily teach using rewards and sanctions — so, for
instance, getting a good grade, avoiding a bad one — what people will do is take the
most cursory approach to accomplishing a goal. And so whether we intend to or not, we’re
cheating the cognitive process. And every single one of us has an example
of this, because most people here have crammed for a test, right? Sometime in your life? And it was to either get a good grade or avoid
a bad one. And when you think about what you learned,
it’s pretty much gone the next couple of days. So the challenge is to teach from an intrinsic
perspective and in a way that makes us clear minded about how to reach the broadest possible
number of learners. And I am going to show you a pragmatic tool
that’s been helpful to me, and I believe to other people, and that when I introduce it,
you can think about your own experience and your own language. But I’m going to introduce it to you as my
co-researcher and author created it, because only when I understand I think our own thinking
can you scribble on it and make it your own in a way that makes sense. When you are introduced to a framework or
when you read a text, there are different ways to think about it. There’s basic decoding. There�re the cultural meaning practices. And then there are the pragmatic practices. I’m going to focus today on decoding, how
does this framework really work, and then on practicing pragmatic magmatic, how could
I apply this to my own experience. First let’s just feel what intrinsic motivation
is. In order to do that that, would you think
of a time — hopefully you can think of one without too much angst, when you as an instructor
or if you’re in the role of learner, felt these three emotions: you felt capable, you
felt creative, and you felt vital. I used to say — a lot of people don’t think
in terms of hyperbolic language. So let’s go with capable, creative and vital. Go ahead and just turn to somebody and talk
about what that might have been, what were you doing, where were you, what were you learning? So a time, a situation, an activity, a course,
where you — an interaction — where you felt capable, creative and vital. Go for it. You’ll have about four minutes for this. OK, OK. Just one more minute, please. Alright. Would you refocus, please. Finish your sentence and look up here. Thanks. Is anyone brave enough to volunteer their
example? If we could hear from maybe three different
people. Let’s see who the first person will be. Great. Thank you. What is your name?>>Hi. I’m Bree assistant professor of biology at
San Jose. The example was in my research and we got
unexpected results in the lab and my students and I couldn’t figure out what to do with
it for a few days and then figured out a new path of research, one of the main focuses
of my lab now. That was the experience that came to mind
for me.>>Thank you very much. OK, someone else. You’re going to get some exercise, Bryan.>>Josh, faculty developer at Chico state. This is a moment where I can give a little
credit to Mr. Anderson, my seventh-grade science teacher. I was pretty much a knuckle head kid, poor
grades up to this moment where he gave kind of a lecture, long before PowerPoint, so no
bullets or anything, but he told a story about what it means to be an organism. I was just hanging on his every word because
it was in a story format. That was the moment in my life where I was
like I really enjoy learning. This is great. So I owe where I am today to Mr. Anderson.>>How great. Have you told him that?>>Oh, yes.>>Maybe one more, please.>>Hi. I’m gabby. I’m a master�s student at Sacramento state
university. When you mention those terms I immediately
thought about my first experience with research in my child development quantitative methods
class. At the end we had to make a poster and do
a symposium-style presentation. It was very scary, but throughout the course
we interacted with the data so much and our instructor was constantly keeping us on track
and answering questions. And by the end, during my very short two-minute
presentation, I felt completely excited and capable about the research I had done.>>How great. Thank you. So we have three different kinds of answers. We’ve got — we heard about a research lab,
kind of struggling to find your way but, after some scrutiny and heartache, the path became
clear. How’s that for a paraphrase? Alright. We heard about somebody who ended pup influencing
your ended up influencing your life and whose way of teaching really caught your attention. Then we heard about somebody who is a graduate
student doing research, quantitative research and who took on the challenge, really, of
figuring out how you were going to give a stellar two-minute presentation about something
that sounds to me like it was quite complex. Is that reasonable? OK. Thank you. How many of you couldn’t think of a time where
you felt capable, creative and vital this year, or any time in your life? Some of you? We can talk afterwards [LAUGHTER] But, you
know, this is the challenge, is that sometimes it’s really hard to think because when we’re
in the act of feeling that way, we’re not really aware of it. What my co-researcher and I tried to do is
look at a whole bunch of literature and research, and lots of different theories, and put them
together so that we could answer the question: How can we more consistently support intrinsic
motivation to learn within cross-cultural groups and all kinds of backgrounds? This continues to be a bit of a challenge
because just in the area of motivation alone, let alone other disciplines that speak to
motivation, we have theories all the time that emerge. We have mindset. We’ve got social emotional is something that
many people have become more familiar with. We’ve got the concept of grit. But we also have these theories, like self-determination
theory and the importance of agency. And then from the larger domain, we have everything
that we know about motivation from universal design, for example, from our assessment folks,
from people who think about critical literacy. You cannot be in education and not have some
kind of theory that connects somehow to motivation. So what do you do? How can you make an instructional plan a motivational
plan with this idea that, really, to have motivational integrity, we need to get better
and better at supporting learners and their motivation, before, during and after. So here’s what we came to. As you think about your own examples of when
you felt capable, creative and vital, you might see these conditions in your scenario. The first, of course, is inclusion. Who’s going to be motivated if they don’t
feel respected and somehow connected to other people? The examples spoke to connections — connections
with your educator, your teacher, but also connections with your peers. In the old days we thought of this as being
the kind of touchy-feely. That was language I never liked. But this has cognitive value because when
you learn, what you’re doing is being your most authentic self-. You’re being vulnerable. When we’re truly learning. All we have to do is think of something we’ve
recently tried to learn to remember the kind of humility that involves. And who’s going to put themselves at risk
if there’s any kind of fear of humiliation? Or discord? Or alienation? The second has to do with developing a positive
attitude towards learning. You’ll notice there are two criteria for each
of the four conditions. In the research that we scrutinized, the two
things that influenced a positive attitude more than anything else are choice or volition,
and choice is always a challenge. It’s always choice within a framework, or
else you really have a situation on your hand, right? And largely you’ve got a situation on your
hand because when you don’t have clear boundaries, the voices that are most likely to emerge
and be dominant are not necessarily representative of all the other kinds of voices that are
in the room. And relevance. How do you make something relevant? The example of a story speaks to having a
positive attitude toward learning. Even before you learned anything deep in the
sciences, you had a positive attitude. Now, you can attach strategies to each of
these, and we do that. So, for instance, with inclusion, like many
of you, we have lots of different things we do, from participation agreements, which become
more and more essential as we do group work, because without them the people in the group
who are most likely to feel disconnected are people who are learning English along with
academic content, or people who have not historically seen themselves in higher education. But also with attitude, there are different
things you probably do to foster a positive attitude towards learning. This is really where, for me, remembering
to ask people to set their own goals, in addition to the goals that I want to set, is important. Can you think of any other examples that you
use right off the bat to foster a positive attitude towards learning? And are willing to share? Some of you might do quite a bit with prior
knowledge, the old KWL, what do you know, what do you want to know, how will you learn
it? There are lots of different strategies. But right now I’m talking conceptually, less
technique and more conceptually. Everybody feels great, they love coming to
your class, but they have to learn something. And that’s what meaning is. Challenge and engagement, we hear those words
a lot. What we’re really after here is having people
so lost in a learning experience that they can lose their sense of time, they can lose
their appetite. It’s what is called flow. Some of you who run know other language that
comes from the physical sciences. Flow is this idea of high challenge, low threat. If you’ve got high challenge, high threat,
you’ve got anxiety. So when we talk about having high expectation
expectations and so forth, but we don’t have adequate safety nets, that can be problematic. When you think of low challenge, low threat,
you’ve got botherdom. So high challenge, low threat. This is where problem pose posing comes in,
inquiry, integrating the arts, all kinds of things that allow people to completely lose
themselves because they’re so involved in the learning for the learning itself. And then finally we’ve got to have ways for
people to see — (airplane noise) — that’s my plane going back to Chicago. [LAUGHTER] And I let it go, because I’m staying
here with this weather. OK. So now competence. We know a lot about formative and summative
assessments. Some of us think a lot about equitable grading
and those kinds of things. Some of us think about self-assessment. The most important thing here is that assessment
needs –) airplane noise) — to provide evidence that we’re becoming more effective and not
just in what an instructor or discipline values but in what we value. So all four conditions work together. When you think about the example that you
use for capable, creative and vital, could you merely map it on to this? Could you think about the fact that there
was something in it that helped you to feel connected and respected; there was something
that was relevant and that had choice; there was challenge and engagement; and your assessment
practices for seeing what you had learned had built in authenticity and effectiveness
in ways that you valued? That’s not a small thing to plan for. But if we’re really talking about motivation
and motivational integrity and this idea of making motivation something that happens throughout
a learning situation, what we need to do is have some sort of conceptual model for planning,
because without it we’ll rely on our default mode. And my default mode is not necessarily, given
how I was socialized, the same default mode of the learners who have come to my class
or course. The thing about this is that some of us are
really good at one or two of these and not so good at another one. All of us have learning edges, or some of
us can apply this on a basic level, but it’s harder to go deep. When you look at this particular model, just
going with it, with somebody who is nearby, will you talk about — which of these four
conditions are you particularly strong in, and then think about which of these conditions
is really a learning edge for you? People who are in the room, who are in the
position of students right now, or here as students, think just about your own learning
situations. Choose a context and think of — or think
generally across your classes. When you go to classes, are all four of these
typically represented, or is there one that’s almost always missing? Have that conversation. So the rest of us, where’s your strength,
where’s your edge. Go for it. We’ll take about four minutes here. OK. May I have your attention, please. Do you know this technique fist to five? It’s asking people if they will use their
hands like — it’s actually Likert. Sometimes I’m afraid the people don’t know
what I’m talking about. But use your hand as a scale, 1 to 5, with
5 as high, 3 is right in the middle, and fist is not at all. To what extent could you make sense of this
particular model? Just in your conversation. OK. Thank you. The thing about the fist to 5 if you choose
to replicate it in your work is you to make sure everybody plays, otherwise you’re only
hearing from the happy people. Although there was a range, because any conceptual
model can be explained at a surface level but then has to be messed with and integrated
into one’s own way of thinking to be of value. If I could ask students, without putting you
too much on the spot, when you think about your experiences campus wide, is there one
motivational condition that tends to be missing or one that’s more prominent than any of the
others? Let’s do it this way: Oh, thank you for volunteering.>>I’m a master’s student here currently working
on curriculum instruction. Being that it’s an educational master’s or
in that field, it’s very different. So I’d have to say because of that, more of
that is happening in my classes, as opposed to I’m sure if you were getting your master’s
in a different field, it would look very differently. But in my more traditional-type classes, I
would have to say that some of the pieces that were missing would be the competence
piece, being able to really show the evidence of what I learned. Because if I wasn’t able to demonstrate it
the way that they wanted me to demonstrate it, it didn’t necessarily mean that I didn’t
understand that concept. I just maybe wasn’t able to demonstrate it
the way that professor wanted me to. I didn’t have that option or choice to show
him a different way or something. So maybe that.>>Thank you very much. Which takes us back to what Dr Kelly was talking
about this morning with universal design, right, that we have to have some choices in
the way people both learn, construct knowledge, and can demonstrate knowledge. You know, the thing about any model is at
a certain point you make arbitrary decisions because, in fact, there’s tremendous overlap,
isn’t there? For instance, relevance is something that
you’ve got to have in assessment, in competence, right? However, what I try to do is just make sure
that no matter what I’m teaching, I’m hitting on all fours, to the best I can figure out
at the moment. And this is where collaboration comes in. So, for me, it means finding a motivational
condition that I’d like to start with. Some of you like to start with competence
and backwards mapping. Some of you like to start with meaning and
a creative idea. But ultimately you’ve got to hit on all fours. So, for example, you might be an instructor
that comes up with great problem-based learning, opportunities, but there isn’t any real safety
for people to collaborate. You might be an instructor who gets everybody
excited about learning, positive attitude towards learning, but ultimately, when it
comes to testing and grading, you’ve got winners and losers. Those of you who like to plan sequentially,
I just would like to say one more time — these planes are reminding me I have to get on one. Alright, alright. Plan sequentially but then code for whether
or not you really are hitting on all fours. And I’m going to put this out too: Students
are such an important resource for instructional improvement, and yet that’s loaded with dilemmas. I’m going to use an example of one way in
which professional learning has occurred that could happen on every campus if we were really
courageous. This is called day in a day. This is my last little piece and then I’m
going to close. Data in a day was a way of organizing teams
of people where you had four people on a team and you had eight teams. And each person on a team had a motivational
role. One person was inclusion, one person was attitude,
one was meaning, and one was competence. So across teams you’d have eight people who
were looking for inclusion. Are you following me? For the most part? And these eight teams each visited four different
classrooms. There was a schedule. With the goal of taking a snapshot of teaching
and learning across the campus on a particular day. And after they visited these four classrooms,
and oftentimes they would stay for just a half-hour, not the full class, they would
come together and we would just do a jigsaw. Yeah, basically a jigsaw. We would have all the inclusion people in
one corner, attitude in another, meaning in another, competence in another. They had used rubrics, by the way, so they
weren’t all over the map. They talked about — now, here’s some high
person personally. Wows and wonders. The inclusion people talked about all the
kinds of things they saw. They were really quite amazing. There’s tremendous teaching skill on campus. I’m always blown away by what I see. And then they talked about wonders, which
was instead of saying, Hmm this wasn’t so good, posing it as: I wonder what might have
happened if, or I wonder if there was a way that such-and-such could occur. Or I didn’t yet know this, but we worked on
the language. And then the faculty whose classrooms we had
been in, at the end of our gathering, came and they did a silent walk-around, looking
at all of the information. It was — all of it was anonymous. But basically it was really powerful for them
to see, overall, how much was happening and how much can improve. And students became real champions of instruction
across this university system. In fact, instructors started inviting students
to come and listen to a project they’re considering, so they would vet their projects. Over a long haul, data in a day was expanded
so that families and parents came and learned about teaching and learning and so forth. I’m putting this out there because unless
we’re really risky and unless we have some kind of a motivational framework for making
the risk a reasonable one, it’s going to be very difficult to improve instruction in ways
that are significant for the broadest possible range of learners. And here’s just one quick thing I’ll say:
We planned data in a day with the motivational framework. We had teams for inclusion that had dinner
the night before and got to apply the rubrics. We had for attitude, we worked with the faculty
before we did this to ask them what they would like our purposes to be, how they would like
to have feedback and so forth. For meaning, the challenge of just going into
classrooms and trying to watch deep deeply. And then for competence, having a way for
people to come in and make sense of things. The faculty, even though this was cumulative
data, they set personal goals. Those are the kinds of things from a professional
development perspective that can help camp uses make a clear case that instruction is
what we prioritize here, that we’re devoted to supporting the motivation and learning
of every single student. And look at what we’re willing to do. You don’t have to do data in a day. I’m just trying to put out a big idea about
the kinds of novel things we can do even in academe, even with all the work that people
already have, and even with all the doubts that will always be a part of teaching because
we can never get it right. It’s very difficult to do all four of these
things and in a way that has meaning for every single student. But without a conceptual language, how can
we improve? This I always say with a sigh: To love something
is to find it inexhaustible. I think I’m in the presence of a lot of people
who really love teaching, and maybe are even exhausted by it. [LAUGHTER] But I hope I’ve contributed a couple
of ideas about motivation that you’ll take with you and mess with and make your own somehow. Thank you so much. [APPLAUSE]

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