Motivation 1 Motivation in the Classroom Theories and ideas Lisa Pimpinella Educational Psychology- HDV-284334 Instructor: Beth Reilly March 28, 2011 | From birth, babies begin exploring their environment. Starting with their first grip of a finger and continuing through each milestone, there is an inherent desire to understand the world around them. Greeno et al indicated that as children grow they are “seen as naturally motivated to learn when their experience is inconsistent with their current understanding” (as cited in Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 287).
Cognitive theory suggests, each person is motivated by their need to understand their experiences like Piaget discussed in his theory of equilibrium. Students’ motivation to learn involves their “tendencies to find academic activities meaningful and worthwhile and try to get the intended learning benefits from them” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 286). Teachers can motivate learners by promoting student involvement, satisfying student needs, increasing their motivation methodologies through classroom climate and instruction techniques, and intrinsically motivating students.
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To promote student involvement, the students’ own needs, beliefs, and goals have to be incorporated into learning. Additionally, their interest in learning, growth, and development needs to be fulfilled. Teachers that convey positive messages to students indicating success and proficiency provide motivation to students. Research indicates that “learners’ motivation is the primary factor influencing both test performance and success in school” (Perry et. al, as cited in Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 284). Effective praise is one tool teachers use to communicate competence.
As learners strive for autonomy they reinforce their feelings of competency. For example, as students are allowed to choose their final project topic their sense of independence and ability is reinforced. Connectivity to the classroom, and respect within it, is another important aspect of classroom climate that fulfills the need for relatedness. This need can be met as teachers communicate “unconditional positive regard and a genuine commitment to students and their learning” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 293).
Teaching that facilitates active learning, such as interactions between students and teachers, teacher evaluation of student work, and clear expectations, supports students’ engagement and participation in their own growth. Maslow is known for defining a hierarchy of needs that details “whole person” needs classified as deficiency needs or growth needs. Deficiency needs, such as the need to survive, belong, be safe, and feel recognized and approved (self-esteem) “must be met before students will be motivated to move to growth needs” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. A-12).
Each deficiency need can motivate learners to fulfill the needs when they remain deficient. As learners strive to reach their potential and meet capabilities in an effort to grow, there is a continued desire to be motivated, to learn, and to develop. Additionally, students need to feel safe and protected in their classroom as Maslow suggests for motivated growth and development. A student’s interest and perseverance is required to meet challenges and to develop the initiative that drives motivation. In order to develop this initiative, students need to be internally motivated and engaged (Watts & Caldwell, 2008).
In several studies, Larson (2000) “observed that structured activities are positively associated with intrinsic motivation and initiative development. ” Teachers provide the structured activities, like discussion groups or real-life experiments, which facilitate student engagement and provide intrinsic motivation. When the classroom climate is one of respect and offers a sense of belonging it supports the needs of students and positively contributes to their motivation to learn. Facilitating student participation and offering opportunities to give their input and express their own opinions fulfills the need for autonomy.
This in turn provides a mechanism for self-worth protection and achievement of self-acceptance. In this way, teachers offer a “context where intrinsic motivation and engagement can occur, and these structures allow youth to be active in their development” (Watts & Caldwell, 2008, p. 161). Learners’ active participation combined with teacher conveyance of student success and understanding contributes to fulfill the needs Maslow defined as reaching full potential. Many factors impact classroom climate and contribute to growth needs. The classroom should be safe and respectful while establishing clear expectations.
The behavior of the teacher has the greatest impact on classroom climate. The teacher sets the stage for the classroom lesson upon the first interaction with students. Students walking into the classroom met with a teacher behind a desk, piled high with papers, failing to make eye contact, communicate a busy, disinterested, and unorganized teacher. However, as students are met with a teacher standing near the classroom entrance, greeted with a smile and view a neat, clean and orderly desk, they receive an impression that the teacher is inviting, interested, and will conduct the lesson in an orderly fashion.
The teacher has created a motivating climate that is focused on learning. In this way, the teacher can create a direct relationship between the climate they convey and the expectation of the student. When the teacher is friendly, prepared, and ready to start the lesson, it signifies that the same is expected of the students and sends a powerful message that addresses the climate and conduct of the classroom, and also provides the start of intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation occurs when learners are challenged, curious, creative, and in a position of influence over aspects of their learning. Intrinsic motivation is preferable because of its focus on learning and understanding” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 285). As teachers attend to the needs of many students it can be difficult to provide intrinsic motivation. Additionally, since attendance is mandatory and grades fulfill external pressures (from parents), learning through school often fulfills extrinsic motivations. While instruction can be motivating, teachers need to strive to provide an academic foundation that fulfills students’ “tendencies to find academic activities meaningful and worthwhile and to try to get the intended learning enefits from both” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 286). Students with the motivation-to-learn desire to understand their instruction and view learning as valuable. One way teachers can increase students intrinsic motivation is through “rewards that recognize increasing competence” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 287). For example, praise that acknowledges achievement for grades, behavior, or assignment completion can serve as this type of motivation. Increasing motivation in students is accomplished through different instructional variables. Starting a lesson with the goal of motivation in mind is critical.
Studies conducted by Mann and Robinson indicate that “60% of students find at least half of their lectures boring –with about 30% claiming to find most or all of their lectures boring” (Mann, 2009). The study further indicates the same is true in classroom activities. A thought provoking question that introduces the lesson topic immediately motivates students to participate. In this way, the teacher immediately has the student’s attention and focus. For example, when studying the Battle of Saratoga the teacher can introduce the lesson with a question such as “What battle sent Congress running from their home? to gain student attention. To further test student comprehension several clarifying questions could be asked such as “What countries were not at war with England after the battle of Saratoga? ” This begins the students investment in their own learning that continues throughout the lesson as examples and activities continue. The student is interested in what is happening and wonders what is occurring next. They become involved and active and will remain engaged thus staying motivated to learn. Classroom environments focusing on “effort, continuous improvement, and understanding” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 22) are required to capture the student and lead them towards a process of self-regulation. Until students satisfy their need for self-determination their learning is not related to a goal. “Setting and monitoring goals increases learning,” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 325) and when combined with teacher support and encouragement leads to student motivation towards success-“learning progress and accomplishing tasks” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010, p. 333). As students develop their sense of self-regulation they begin to take responsibility for creating and achieving goals.
Their own learning goals are reflective of their beliefs about learning and are an indicator of who they aspire to grow into. The influence of a teacher can correlate student responsibility for growth with student action. For example, a student who is prepared for class and works to comprehend assignments demonstrates the student taking responsibility for learning. Conversely, a student that is late for class and merely completes assignments without understanding and relies on memorization does not transcend to goal directed learning.
The student action, in that case, indicates a lack of motivation and the result is failure to achieve goals. Teachers can influence the path students follow through suggestions and establishment of responsibility goals and learning results. Modeling responsibility and outlining challenges with consequence is a way to promote self-regulation that leads to self-determination. Benjamin Franklin, who perhaps defined the role of an involved, supportive, and intrinsically motivating teacher when he said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn. ” Promoting student involvement in learning, while meeting student needs, can be challenging. Classroom climate is the foundation in which intrinsic motivation begins and learning continues. Learners’ needs, beliefs, and goals influence the initiatives and commitments that drive their motivations. Students have to be motivated to learn, and they have to learn to grow, with teacher’s instruction facilitating both. References Eggen, P. , & Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational psychology: windows on classrooms (8th ed. ).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Good Reads. (n. d. ) http://www. goodreads. com/author/quotes/289513. Benjamin_Franklin Larson, R. (2000). Towards a positive psychology of positive youth development. American Psychologist, 55, 170-183. Lubienski, S. , Lubienski, C. , & Crane, C. (2008). Achievement Differences and School Type: The Role of School Climate, Teacher Certification, and Instruction. American Journal of Education, 115(1), 97-138. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Mann, S. (2009, May 12). Why do 60% of students find lectures boring?
The Guardian. Retrieved form http://www. guardian. co. uk/education/2009/may/12/university-teaching Patrick, B. C. , Hisley, J. , Kempler, T. , & College, G. (2000). `What’s Everybody So Excited About? The Effects of Teacher Enthusiasm on Student Intrinsic Motivation and Vitality. Journal of Experimental Education, 68(3), 217. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Watts, C. E. , & Caldwell, L. L. (2008). Self-Determination and Free Time Activity Participation as Predictors of Initiative. Journal of Leisure Research, 40(1), 156-181. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.