The six Cs of Motivation In English Language Learning: Consequences

Turner and Paris’ Six C’s of Motivation (1995) identify six characteristics of motivating contexts, namely, choice, challenge, control, collaboration, constructing meaning, and consequence. This blog post will focus on the final C, Consequence.

Consequence, suggests that when students are given tasks for which there are consequences, they are more motivated to learn. What does this mean? For Turner & Paris, consequence refers to the extent to which students experience positive effects from their efforts. These positive effects may stem from receiving good grades or from the recognition of their effort and the quality of their work.

Grades obviously have consequences for learners. They indicate the level that the learner has reached,  and allow students to move from stage to stage in the learning process.

Recognition by others – of the effort invested and the quality achieved – is also a motivating consequence. When learners are able to showcase their work, they receive recognition and feedback. If learners know they are going to be afforded an opportunity to show off their work, they take ownership, become engaged, and eventually feel pride at what they have achieved.  According to Turner & Paris “This strategy [showcasing of student work] creates a positive feeling about effort, ownership, achievement, and responsibility (1995).  

How can this be done? Sharing can be achieved in numerous ways. Displaying student-created posters on walls – accompanied by a gallery-walk is one option. Students presenting to an audience is another. These displays or presentations could be turned into school events, where the local community is invited to attend. Students might show what they have done by publishing to a shared folder or to a school web site.

Edusoft’s English Discoveries program recognizes the motivational value of consequence. Firstly, on the platform, students are constantly exposed to their own progress. They see their test grade averages, their study completion statistics, and even their time-on-task data. The consequences of their efforts are immediately updated on the student’s homepage, providing them with a sense of their own accomplishment as they move along.

Secondly, the English Discoveries program provides teachers with lesson plans which suggest ways for students to share their work. These lesson plans include end-of-unit projects, many of which culminate in activities where students show off their knowledge.

The motivational value of consequence – the final C in the series – should be taken into consideration when planning learning activities.

This blog series on motivation is almost over. Turner and Paris’ Six C’s of Motivation – choice, challenge, control, collaboration, constructing meaning, and consequence should be of great interest to all those involved in teaching and learning. If you have not read all six of the blog entries on this topic, we recommend that you do so. They are available for you here.

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