7c’s of Motivation

I had this article marked for reading: The Edurati Review: Sailing the 7 C’s of Motivation: “Facilitating motivation involves a multitude of processes, seven of which will be examined here.

1. Challenge
2. Choice
3. Control
4. Caring
5. Curiosity
6. Competence
7. Connectedness

These seven processes listed have all been discussed before under different names and titles.  7 C’s or Schlechty 10.  A reminder that good advice is always GOOD ADVICE.  How does this look in my world?  Have I attended to these 7 to make sure that my students are engaged and active in our class?

Challenge: What are we as educators doing if we do not first challenge our students to live up to their potential. “Their potential” is not always what we say day-to-day, but what they do that makes us speechless. Once in a while we have those “wow” moments when we have to re-categorize a student from the category where we have pigeon holed them. Their potential is not the ‘C’ work that we often see, but the ‘A’ response that was given in response to a visual prompt that really spoke to him. We must challenge them to reach the goals and heights that we might not always believe that they can accomplish.

I have been doing some soul-searching lately. It is the end of the year and I am closing out this year and at the same time I am preparing for next year and I want to make sure that I REQUIRE all of my students to leave their comfort zone. They have to believe that they can reach all of the goals that are out there. Not just the ones that they can see, but the ones that they could never imagine to be within their reach.

How high was the bar set for President Barack Obama? Was he challenged to meet the goals in front of him or the ones above the clouds? Hmmm.  Something to think about.

Choice: We as adults sometimes bristle when people tell us what to do.  I want them be able to choose some of the details and/or products of an assignment.  For example: the assignment is to read the short story The Necklace and discuss the story elements, literary elements and provide a character analysis of Monsieur and Madame Loisel.  There is no choice in that.  That is what must be done for them to convince me that they were listening and understand the goals and objectives that I had for this lesson; there is no ‘choice’ to be given in this aspect of the assignment. The choice is given in the final piece that they produce that demonstrates this knowledge. There are still strings attached though; they must complete a wikipage that has all of the required elements.   Now here comes the choice component:  their wikipage can contain the required elements displayed through their choice of text and pictures, a PowerPoint, PhotoPeach movie, Glog, WallWisher or ….? The CHOICE is theirs. My students have the opportunity to use computers and I expect them to use them to display their creativity.

Control: Students must feel empowered and know that they have control over their education and success. They must understand that they control the outcomes and that the effort put into something has a definite bearing on the finished product. Once they accept that they control their futures then half of our struggles can be averted.  Rubrics and Checklists help them to gain and maintain some of that control.  They are able to see what is required of them.

Caring:  This component touches the student and the teacher.  Their assignments have to be meaningful ones that they “care” about finishing.  It is only if they are invested that they will be successful.   They must feel that we are invested in providing them with quality learning experiences.  If we don’t care about what we give them then why should they care about doing it.

Curiosity:  Learning is a life long pursuit.  I believe that and I let them know that I do.  I tell them often about workshops that I have signed up for because I WANTED to learn how to do something.  I try to demonstrate for them what it looks like to have questions and then seek out the answers.  I want them to be curious about the world around them so that they are able to research and learn more about it.  For next year,  they have a required weekly current events assignment that requires them to track several news items and then select 1 for further investigation.  We will be reading and commenting on the articles on TweenTribune.com.  I hope that they develop questions about their community that will lead them to a quest for knowledge and a journey into the unknown.

Competence:  How powerful is it for them to be able to do something well?  After one of our stories, I gave them the guidelines for an essay that they had to write.  On the back of the sheet, I put some other directions.  These directions were on how to create a PhotoPeach movie in response to the story.  I allowed them to choose which one to complete.  All chose to complete a Movie.  Most all of them actually completed their movie and were proud to show it off.  They created games to review for a novel that we read in class and it was empowering for them to call out to a friend to checkout their movie.  I remember those days well.  Those were the days when they felt good in a job well done and so did I.

Connectedness: OK, this is always the hard one, why should I learn how to write an essay about Homer, Shakespeare or the poetry of Nikki Giovanni?   For current event assignments I say “It is important as a citizen and future voter that you become knowledgeable about the world;” for literary responses I say “There may come a time when you can impress your girlfriend, classmates or boss by knowing what constitutes a good story;” and for a writing an essay; editorial or review “When you need to write a letter to someone about an issue that is troubling you, you would like to know how to express yourself intelligently, won’t you?”  Now how much of that they believe, I don’t know.

Our district uses the Lesson Design Qualities as outlined by Phil Schlechty and they are in many ways similar to these 7 C’s.  The Schlechty Center on Engagement is the basis of the Working on the Work framework. and at its core is the belief that there are 10 qualities that must be present for a lesson to be successful.  They are broken down into two categories: CONTEXT (what the teacher inputs into the lesson) and CHOICE (what the student can get out of the lesson.)


  1. Content and Substance – involves the information to be learned
  2. Organization of Knowledge – involves how the information is organized: problem-solving approach, discovery approach, or didactic teaching
  3. Clear and Compelling Product Standards – involves the student’s knowledge of exactly what is expected of them and how they are to be evaluated.  It also involves the level at which they feel compelled to complete the work.
  4. Protection from Adverse Consequences for Initial Failures – involves whether or not the student feels brave enough try the work and not fear the humiliation of failing.


  1. Product Focus, – involves structuring activities so that they are linked to a product or performance that is important to them.
  2. Affirmation of Performance – involves making their products visible to others who are important to them.
  3. Affiliation – involves allowing the opportunity to work with others.
  4. Novelty and Variety – involves using a range of approaches, activities and media to actively engage the students.
  5. Choice – involves creating activities that allow students a choice in what they are to learn or how they learn it.
  6. Authenticity – involves the linking of the work and learning tasks to their lives.

I will be spending some of my Summer Vacation planning for next year to make sure that my assignments deal with the 7 C’s or the Schlechty 10.  How about you?


One comment on “7c’s of Motivation

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review « I blog to share and to learn

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