The Importance of Motivation in the Classroom Assignment

The Importance of Motivation in the Classroom Assignment Words: 2259

The Importance of Motivation in The Classroom This Proposal will describe the Importance of motivation in the Classroom. For our nation’s children to be successful in a changing society the actions and forms of motivation we take to educate our children will mold the new leaders. It outlines the Importance of Motivation, Technology standards in the classroom, Technology as a motivator, Changing role of the teacher, Technology standards and Teacher Qualifications. The first need of physiological sufficiency is very basic. This issue simply asks if the students are comfortable in their environment.

That is, are they hungry, too cold, too hot? If a student’s physical environment does not match appropriately with the student’s need, he will not be motivated to learn or to achieve any higher need. Similarly, if the student does not feel safe (via the second need, security), they will not focus on working. If a student feels threatened by another student or by the teacher, he may not progress as well as hoped and in many cases, he reverts from the instruction rather than responding to it. In order to alleviate feelings of danger, a teacher can show protection and love, which is the third hierarchal need.

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A student must feel safe and invited in a classroom for him to achieve; making a classroom seem like a prison elicits the antithesis of motivation: lassitude. It is because of this complex psychological theory that teachers can stumble over different types of motivation. A teacher may have to adopt a different plan for each student because needs vary so greatly. However, there are general patterns a teacher can follow in order to find a common thread between certain students and their motivational applications. Students are either motivated intrinsically or extrinsically.

Younger students tend to be motivated by the prospect of receiving a physical treat for their efforts, such as a pizza party or candy. More mature students who have outgrown this phrase adhere to intrinsic motivations of good grades and esteem from teachers and parents. Both types of motivation have their flaws: Alfie Kohn suggests that extrinsic motivators inspire students, but not in the way teachers intend. Rewards “motivate students to get rewards” (1994), but may not motivate them to achieve greatness in the classroom. Oppositely, intrinsic motivation is hard to achieve, but yields great results when properly utilized.

Some students may not be inspired by the prospect of a decent grade, especially in the younger years. Youths focus primarily on social contexts and any motivators attempted outside this realm may be futile (Gawel 1997). Captured within extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are the ideas of positive and negative reinforcement. These motivators are commonly used in classrooms in order to elicit a desire to achieve in students. Positive reinforcement is a way of adding a pleasurable experience to a student’s mind in order to engage that student.

Praise is a common form of this; a teacher who properly utilizes praise commends the student for his or her particular piece of work, not personal qualities that make the work special. However, a teacher must be equally sensitive to different cultures as to the majority culture. Hitz and Driscoll (1989) point out that “students from different socioeconomic classes, ability levels, and genders may not respond in the same way to praise” and may make students feel less worthy if they do not constantly receive praise. In some situations, however, praise is not appropriate to monitor and modify students’ behaviors.

In general, behavior and attitude are extremely important facets in the realm of motivation, and teachers must be aware of means to stop conduct that is harmful to his, or other students’ learning. In some cases, the use of negative reinforcement is appropriate. The concept of negative reinforcement is difficult to teach and learn because the word negative confuses the meaning, but the concept refers to “strengthen[ing] a behavior because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior. ” (Levine, 1999).

In the classroom, this would be admonishing a student to stop a disruptive behavior, such as researching inappropriate websites on the Internet. Rather than use a reward to bribe students to stay on task, teachers can take away a positive force to take away the negative action. Many students are motivated by the prospect of pleasing the teacher, thus avoiding negative reinforcement, which can be embarrassing to a student. These general patterns of motivation are useful in the classroom, but teachers must also be aware of a changing society in order to cater to students’ needs.

In today’s world where ten year olds can easily manipulate through the internet, teachers must he trained in ways to utilize technology in a classroom setting. It is important to understand the technology standards that set up the basis for today’s educational system. In Maryland, teachers are expected to “access, evaluate, and process information efficiently and effectively” (Maryland Teacher Technology Standards, 2003) for their students in order to teach them proper and ethical ways to use technology for their education.

This involves teaching students how to organize their thoughts into rational assignments using the proper realms of technology, i. e. Scholarly journals or databases for high school or college work. Today’s students are incredibly mobilized by the prospect of using technology in the classroom; this collaborates the social context into the academic context, which is a motivator for younger and older students. Younger students who are learning basic functions of the computer feel motivated to learn because many aspects of technology have connotations of fun and pleasure.

Older students understand the advantage of being able to gather information quicker and easier than previously. Teachers’ specific goals differ widely from district to district, but the main goal remains the same: teach students basic technology. In wealthier communities, the technology available might be more advanced or spread to higher numbers of students, but the poorer communities can easily teach their students the same skills. Discrepancies reach from school to school, as well.

Each school is able to set specific goals concerning technology, including motivation for teachers to instruct their students on proper uses of technology. When appropriate, teachers are also expected to teach their students about ethical uses of information in the academic setting. This includes styles of citation, quotation versus paraphrase, ethical research methods and other age-appropriate information. High school students, for example, must be taught the importance of citing references in their work so as to not undermine the work of an accomplished author.

Along with this, students must learn how to establish authority of a subject. Teachers are expected to have their students learn about the difference between information found on a personal website versus a scholarly journal. All of this affects students’ technology knowledge and students are expected to keep this information in their repertoire of knowledge. Though this information cannot be easily tested (other than simple question-answer tests which may just be a memory test for many students), it is important information for students.

Teachers must do their best to incorporate the ethical use of information in their lesson plans. In today’s educational system, plagiarism has become a notorious issue, even though many schools and teachers consistently regurgitate that it is, in fact, illegal. Nancy Joseph, as well as many other accredited authors, defines plagiarism as simply, “a form of academic dishonesty” (1999, p. 59), but this definition is clearly not enough to curb the problem. With the invention of software devices designed to curtail the problem, students are becoming keen to the technology and are even overcoming the limits of technology.

According to the Maryland Teachers Technology Standards, it is the responsibility of the instructor to teach the importance of fair use, the application of copyright laws, and online safety (2003). Many students understand these basic concepts, but there are still others who prefer to cheat. These are the students the laws are written for, and the ramifications as well as the general principles must be taught. Rather than outmaneuver these students, it is important for students to understand the effects of cheating.

As more and more information becomes available on the internet, students in general are becoming lazier by simply purchasing information and using it as their own. In most universities, there are zero-tolerance policies in effect; that is, students can be suspended or expelled from school simply for forgetting quotation marks. As teachers, it becomes important to educate students on using information carefully. Even unintentional plagiarism is not forgiven in the post-secondary education setting, so it is very important for today’s schools to teach students about the ramifications of academic dishonesty.

This type of motivation, though not positive, is an effective way to teach students to use technology efficiently. Motivating them to use the computer while monitoring their attentiveness to academia can be demanding, but students will only learn if they use technology to their academic benefit. Perhaps younger students might be able to play an academic game (such as word games or multiplication facts), which seems like “play time” to many students. Older students may be harder to please with this approach because they expect their reward for attentiveness to consist of leisure, not academics.

However, the standards of technology state that students must be aware of proper uses of information, and allowing leisure time in the classroom is not an efficient way to achieve these goals. Students must assimilate technology in the classroom setting as an academic helper, not a social one. Though the twenty first century has brought many new gadgets to the educational system, there are some less complex means of motivation students. Beyond the ideas of catering to needs and putting a positive image in education, educators can use ideas that incorporate positive ideas.

In one study, a teacher used music and art to encourage students (Towell, 1999, p. 284). Because these genres are usually set apart from basic academics, students do not feel pressured or bored because music, in their minds, equaled fun. It is the duty of an educator to provide information for students, but using practices such as these enhance the performance and willpower of otherwise unmotivated students. The issue of technology standards, as it has evolved, is constantly debated. How much should instructors teach?

How does the school prove that its teachers are qualified to teach about ever-changing technology? These questions are not readily answered, but are more complex than any one answer can give. Teachers must offer as much information to students as is necessary for their academic benefit. The social aspects of technology (such as e-mail and instant messaging) should not be taught as these can become a distraction. Though most students understand the basic concepts of informational technology, it is important to scaffold their learning through repetition and practice.

As with any lesson, teachers must be careful to cater to different types of learning: many learn by doing, some learn by seeing, others learn by hearing. Simply put, “the challenge for educators is to facilitate the learning process for all students” (Gollnick and Chinn, 2002, pg. 327). Students’ motivation should stem from their desire to learn, and although many teachers must breach the line between academics and leisure, the students’ scholastic advantage must always be the focus.

It is harder to explain what makes teachers qualified to teach technology in the classroom. In many American schools, separate technology aficionados (such as resource librarians) instruct students as per the syllabus of a particular class. However, many other systems allow the subject matter teacher to instruct. In this case, teachers should be specifically trained to teach technology, just as they are trained to teach their subject. In order to motivate students, teachers must feel confident in their ability to teach technology.

Without understanding, teachers can lead students to make great mistakes, or they can make them feel bored an uneasy that their instructor cannot even understand the matter at hand. A teacher who does not fully understand how to search for journal articles online may not reach the students, and their motivation drops. Though it is a difficult task to teach technology to teachers who are already working, the educational system will thrive on teachers learning the principles of technology and how to use it.

As time presses on, students are becoming responsive to the demands of technology. The young somehow know more than many adults, but this information is not always useful in the academic setting. It is the responsibility of the teacher to distinguish between academic and leisure information on the internet, and to teach students about using information ethically. By integrating various forms of technology in the classroom, a teacher is setting an example for his or her students. Technology changes the face of education with each new development.

Rather than dreading school because of the typical lecture-style classroom, students may feel more motivated to come and experience a class with other forms of communication. Though teachers are still at the heart of the educational system, they must be aware of and utilize different means of communication to reach the younger generation. By understanding students’ needs, teachers motivate students to learn and by add the concept of technology, they bolster their inspiration. This mixture, in a perfect world, would set higher technology standards and give the educational system a furious shove into the new millennium.

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