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Summer Program

Motivation and Self-Regulation

In an effort to engage reluctant students in summer instruction, many programs employ prizes as incentives for participation. Yet, there is a significant body of research that indicates that incentives are not only damaging to students internal motivation to learn but also negatively impact cognitive processing.

Rather than relying on incentives, the Tufts Summer Reading Program integrates research-based motivational strategies designed to encourage persistence, engagement, and independent learning. Our motivational strategies are centered around four themes – autonomy, belonging, competence, and meaning, and many of the academic activities that reinforce these themes are borrowed from the Responsive Classroom program.

Autonomy. Students are offered autonomy throughout the program from choices in their texts to choices in their assignments. Generally speaking, children are provided with the freedom necessary to develop a sense of ownership over their learning experience.

Belonging. Teachers work with each instructional group to build a sense of community. Through the construction of a class constitution, team building exercises, and peer to peer compliments, students and teachers create an environment where everyone feels important, appreciated and connected.

Competence. The Tufts Summer Program seeks to develop students' feelings of competence not only by providing them with literacy activities in which they can experience success but also providing them for the tools necessary for coping with challenges.

Meaning. Exercises are woven into daily lessons to insure that students understand the meaning of the most basic tasks in term of their larger hopes and dreams.

By offering students autonomy in their skill-building, facilitating a community of learners, and emphasizing intra-individual growth our program has not only improved literacy skills but also significantly reduced reading-related task avoidance.