Increase Intrinsic Motivation in the Middle School Social Studies Classroom
Motivating students to learn is a concern for every educator. Each educator learns and uses different ways to motivate students to become more invested in their education. However, a majority of educators rarely take the time to research, or even look at others research that has been conducted in order to improve their own classrooms. Often we as educators make excuses and claim that the students are just lazy and that must be why they do not get motivated to complete their home work. So, what motivates those that do complete their homework? Is it our amazing lessons, activities and fun interactive homework assignments? In a world where many teachers jump on the band wagon of whatever programs their school district is sold on that year because that is what is expected by the administration, we need to look further to find ways to motivate our students. Not just because our students fear punishment or because they are socially expected to; but because they are intrinsically motivated to because they feel connected to and invested in the material. The goal of my research is to discover what methods of instruction motivate students to be the most successful? I also want to know what influences technology have on a middle school students motivation. Can using technology in a middle school classroom develop intrinsically motivated students that are successful in the classroom and in completing their homework assignments? Finally I would like to see how students perceive the use of technology in our school. In other words, does technologically updating your lessons and assignments create better teachers in the eyes of today’s middle school student? My main purpose in this action research study is to help myself and other teachers at Jamesville Dewitt Middle School gain a greater understanding of how to help our students develop into intrinsically motivated and successful students. I will be basing my research on several different areas of interest that can affect a students’ motivation with a heavy emphasis on technology in and out of the classroom. The research will also help any other teachers who are looking for research on intrinsically motivating students in the classroom and to complete their homework. Methodology:
I will triangulate the findings of this study by using several different methods of research such as, questionnaires, interviews and observations. I will send out questionnaire requests to all seventh and eighth grade teachers in Jamesville Dewitt Middle School regardless of which discipline they teach. I also plan to interview and observe several seventh and eighth grade teachers of various disciplines about their perception of what works best in their classrooms to motivate their students. The Jamesville Dewitt Middle School is made up of two houses of seventh and eighth graders. Each house has a team of twelve teachers for both grade levels for a possible questionnaire pool total of twenty-four core subject teachers.
Seventh and eighth grade Students’ which are approximately five hundred students of Jamesville Dewitt Middle School student body will be asked to participate in a questionnaire study that asks them what motivates them in the classroom, what lowers their motivation, would they like to see more technology based lessons and homework assignments, and other such questions. The teachers survey will be based on which type of lessons they use most frequently, how well do they feel their style engages students, how often do they use technology in their classrooms and for homework assignments, and other such questions. I will also conduct observations of other teachers in the middle school who seem to have higher motivation levels from their students. As a comparison I will observe other traditional teachers that have an average level of motivation from their students. I will try to determine...
Bibliography: Thomas, R. M. (2005). Teachers doing research: An introductory guidebook (, pp. 67-185). Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.
Kane, M. (2008). Using cooperative learning setting to improve motivation and literacy in a 7th grade English language arts classroom. Thesis, State University of New York College at Oswego, Oswego, NY.
James, N. (2007, December). The use of email interviewing as a qualitative method of inquiry in educational research [Electronic version]. British Educational Research Journal, 33(6), 963-976. doi:10.1080/01411920701657074
Appendix A: Letter of Consent to Principal
February 20, 2011
If you have any questions about the rights of a research participant, please contact Dr. Friedman, Chair of the Human Subjects Committee (312-6381)
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