Sally McKeown checks out the new Youth Motivational Map service
Youth Motivational Map logo“Spooky!” said Anna, a Year 9 pupil at  Avonbourne School for Girls in Bournemouth when she saw her profile results. She had just tried the Youth Motivational Map, a new product from Smart Development Solutions, and found it uncannily accurate.

The 'Map' is an online self-perception inventory which asks lots of questions and then analyses what drives the individual. It is similar in style to Belbin’s Team Role Profile, a well-known management tool which helps companies improve performance by getting the right combination of skills in a group.

However the Youth Motivational Map is about the individual and it is proving very popular with those who have been involved in the pilot.

Youth Motivational Map questionnaireYouth Motivational Map questionaireThere are nine 'motivators' which are divided into three groups. Some pupils are driven by relationships and need to belong or to be recognised: the Defender likes stability; the Friend functions best as part of a group; the Star wants social recognition. Other pupils are driven by a need to achieve: the Builder strives for material success; the Director seeks power; the Expert wants to be seen as a specialist in a particular field. The other motivators are about personal growth: the Creator, the Searcher and the Spirit are looking inwards and find their motivation from the satisfaction they find in their own efforts. Extrinsic motivation will be less important for them.

Once the pupils have answered all the questions, the program checks out which three of the nine possible motivators work best for them and which are the least effective.  Alice, for example, is a Friend so she likes to have a good social life, be involved in the wider community and work with others in teams  but her lowest motivator is Defender so stability and certainty are not important to her.

Jenny Goad, a teacher at Avonbourne School, has used the program with a group of 18 gifted and talented girls in Year 9 after Ofsted suggested they should do more to stretch and challenge them. She found that four of them who were under-achieving were Builders. They should have been working at level 7 but were only operating at level 5.

Jenny learnt that Builders like Smart targets and tangible rewards. The girls responded well to praise but liked it even better when the school sent a positive message home. Interestingly, most of the gifted and talented pupils had Star as their lowest motivator, which means that they do not like being singled out for their successes. However, the school recently implemented a system of certificates and achievement assemblies. The girls are not keen on this and as it might be counter-productive, the school may be looking at a different approach.

'This could make a difference to our lesson planning'

Another teacher worked with a group of low achievers in Year 9. One pupil was one grade below target levels and, through using the Youth Motivational Map, the school discovered that she would respond to rewards and to setting her own targets. In the case of another pupil a competitive element was needed. “This could make a difference to our lesson planning,” said Jenny. “It’s not that we can build every lesson every day around their motivational needs. There is just too much to do, but we can be more aware and maybe introduce a quiz in a plenary or make sure that we focus on learning conversations with particular pupils who need them.”

As well as issuing a personal report for each pupil, the system also generates a report for parents and one for the mentor or teacher responsible for pastoral care. Generally parents have been very positive as the reports suggest hints and tips for getting he best out of the individual. For example, the information about Alice says, “Atmosphere is important to Alice. She does not like unfriendliness, moodiness or inconsistency... avoid sarcasm. Think about extra curricular clubs in the school.”

Julie Holden is the UK Distributor of the Youth Motivational Map. She has found that schools like the program. “It is so pupil-centred that it is an ideal tool for the personalised learning agenda. It is also a practical way of increasing parental involvement and it raises the achievement of the disengaged learners by identifying their motivational triggers.”

In early trials Julie found that some teachers were sceptical about the Youth Motivational Map but when they tried the adult version, they had been impressed by the results. Like Anna, they found it was uncannily accurate and so they were keen to try it out with their classes. Spooky or what?

Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose   5
Ease of use               5
Features                    4
Quality                       5
Value for money        N/A

Youth Motivational Map
Online service to create self-perception inventories of learner motivation.
The pricing structure is complex (licence from £1,000) so it is better to talk to Julie Holden about individual requirements. Schools (and businesses) can purchase a licence so that they can access and use the service online with support, or the company can visit schools to carry out the work for them. The company is looking for flagship schools to take part in lower-cost trials in different areas of he UK: Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Hampshire, Kent, Ireland, London, Midlands, Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire, Manchester.

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Sally McKeownSally McKeown is a freelance writer and is an expert in special needs and inclusion