Motivating Forces – Part 2

“If the child cannot learn the way that we teach, we must teach the way that he learns.”   Rick Lavoie

In a post published last week, I discussed Lavoie’s motivational forces. 
Lavoie refers to the six P’s that motivate our children. These are:

  • Projects (e.g. choosing an independent study topic)
  • People (e.g. spending time working with people)
  • Praise (e.g. Post-it note on your work for doing a good job)
  • Prizes (e.g extra computer time)
  • Prestige (e.g have a project displayed for all to see)
  • Power (e.g select a topic for the class to study)


How do these P’s fit in with the motivational forces? 

I have drawn up a summary table below. The P that works for each child is highlighted in red.

I used Lavoie’s informal assessment tool/mini-survey to confirm if I was correct about my own two children and what drives them and motivates them. It helps me to understand that Senior Son is inquisitive and motivated by people, prestige and praise. Junior Son is motivated by status and recognition and needs prizes and prestige. For new students who you don’t know so well, the mini-survey may prove an effective tool when planning your direction for the year. It may also serve as a great starting point for motivating the unmotivated student you come across in the school dynamic.

Motivational Force

Brief Description


Gregarious Child

The need to belong

Loves a crowd

  • Encourage to interact with others
  • Contribute to class morale and school spirit
  • Co-operative learning activities and committees


Autonomous Child

The need for independence


Loves working independently

  • Complete  independent projects





Status Driven Child

The need to be important

-Very aware of feelings of others

-Becomes easily embarrassed 

-Self-esteem dependent on others so has difficulty evaluating his own performance or strengths

  • Needs an enthusiastic teacher who celebrates his unique strengths and affinities



The Inquisitive Child

The need to know


  • Ensure the curriculum is relevant to his own daily life
  • Enjoys problem solving and research


The Aggressive Child

The need to assert

Wants to have his opinions and feelings heard.

  • Give him opportunity to express his feelings
  • Avoid power struggles and allow him to make his own decisions where possible
  • Assist him to convert his aggressiveness to assertiveness that is socially appropriate.



The Power Driven Child

Needs control and influence over activities.

If he is deprived of this, he will seek inappropriate ways to gain control – such as disruption

  • Responds well to responsibility.
  • Foster his leadership skills
  • Gain his input about classroom ideas.




Recognition Driven Child

The need for acknowledgment 

-Strong need to be recognized

-Very sensitive to reprimands and criticism

-Highly self- critical and can become distraught over insignificant failures

  • Responds well to awards, certificates and public recognition.



Affiliation Driven Child

The need to associate and belong

-Wants to be identified with a collective entity and responds well to academic teams and cooperative learning

He wants to be identified with adults.

  • Responds well to belonging to teams and groups
  • Needs to feel that you know him.





In dealing with each child in a separate chapter, Lavoie also provides brilliant advice on how to work with and grow with the power driven child. An essential section to read is also on questionable practices related to reward systems as well as the numerous tips for parents to motivate their children at home.

Charity Preston, from The Organized Classroom Blog, also has some great resources which she has created in order to obtain more concrete evidence of childrens’ motivation. You can download them over here. Charity also provides a great list of motivational ideas that fall under each of the P’s listed above.

To end this post, I use my favourite Lavoie quote once again:

“If the child cannot learn the way that we teach, we must teach the way that he learns.”

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9 Responses to Motivating Forces – Part 2

  1. I LOVE that quote and am excited to have found your blog.

    🙂 Melissa @imaginationsoup

  2. WarmSunshine says:

    Thank you for following me on the perfect line! I’m show casing all my awesome new friends this Saturday in my weekly Friends’ Meetup Party post. Come over, we’ll be linking up with you too. Congratulations on an awesome blog, I love the idea. As a token of my appreciation for what you have to offer to people out there, I have chosen you as my PICK OF THE WEEK blogger 🙂 Don’t miss it, and hey, please do me a favor by telling your blog readers about it. I would really appreciate it! 🙂

    P.S. Following you back!

    the perfect line

  3. Jenny says:

    Found you on the New Friend’s Meetup. I am a SAHM now but I was an elementary school teacher. Really enjoying your blog!

    come visit me at and at my product review blog

  4. Kelsey says:

    Such an important lesson! I was/am an autonomous person, and thankfully I was able to qualify for a special program in elementary school that allowed independent study. Graduating from college so many years later, I think I have that to thank for my strong educational foundation. It is very important to take into account the different styles of each child.

  5. Luana says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. By reading this post I was able to see the areas where I can help my 13yr old son be successful this school year. I really enjoyed reading this!

    I’m a new follower from New Friends Meet Up. Have a wonderful weekend!


  6. What a neat quote. And such an informative post. You really know your stuff.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Okay, so, I stumbled upon your blog 3 hours ago and have become so immersed in your entries that I have not gotten any of the curriculum work that I am supposed to be doing done! However, I did put together this handy (I think) profile tool using all of the information you provided. It is called the Motivational Forces Profile Tool.

    I also purchased Leviore’s book for 41 cents at Amazon!

    Thank you so much.

    • TeacherMum says:

      Hi Rebecca
      Thanks for your wonderful comments. Can’t believe you purchased his book for 41c! Enjoy reading. If you ever come accross any of his older dvd presentations they are worth watching.
      I clicked on your link – what you are doing is amazing and I am honoured to be part of the profile.
      Thank you so much. I am looking forward to connecting with you in the blogosphere.

  8. Amy says:

    Love that quote. I’m a teacher found this post quite interesting. I’m off to read more now. Following now!


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