Motivation in the Classroom

Topics: Motivation, Education, Educational psychology Pages: 5 (1801 words) Published: January 28, 2014

October 15, 2013
Motivation in the Classroom
One of the most difficult tasks an educator faces is motivating students. What exactly is it that makes a student want to learn? Why are some students easily motivated while other students must be coaxed to perform tasks that seem simple? A teacher has to ask these questions about each individual student in his or her class, and usually starts to search for the answers within the first few days of meeting their students. It is important for an educator to have a working definition of motivation if they plan on implementing motivational techniques in their classroom. According to Eric Jensen (2005), author of Teaching with the Brain in Mind, motivation is, “arousal and drive. Arousal suggests orientation towards a goal, and drive is caring enough to do something about achieving the goal” (p. 102). Jensen suggests that some students will be intrinsically motivated and require very little push to succeed. He also makes it clear that there are many students with which an educator will have to work in order to build that intrinsic motivation. Ultimately, success in the classroom can be formed in many different ways, but there are a few points that are absolutely necessary. Setting high expectations for your students is essential. Making sure that you know your students and cater to each individual child is also pertinent. Also, identifying outside factors that may cause success or a lack of success will be very important.

The autonomy that a teacher shows his or her students is extremely important to success within the classroom. A student should be able to feel like what they do or say is taken into account by the teacher. This does not mean that the teacher will change the way they do things, but they will take into account the feelings and opinions of their students. This adds to the students feelings of self worth. In an article by Patricia Hardre (2003), A motivational model of rural students' intentions to persist in, versus drop out of, high school, she surveyed students asking them to rate the importance of certain qualities. Questions like, “My teachers provide me with choices and options,” and “My teachers try to understand how I see things before they suggest to me how they would handle a particular situation,” scored very highly and are viewed by the students as the most important aspect of a well rounded teacher (p.351). Providing a child with multiple ways to come to an answer will not only encourage the child, it will show them that you are interested in their success and have high expectations for them. Allison Ryan’s article, The classroom social environment and changes in adolescents' motivation and engagement during middle school, basically promotes the same ideas. She states that, “students' perceptions of teacher support and the teacher as promoting interaction and mutual respect were related to positive changes in motivation and engagement” (p. 451). The perception of a student about his or her teacher is critical, and will play a major role in whether or not the child is successful. The expectations that an educator places on their students will in many ways shape the way the class will learn from the first day until the last. A strong teacher is one that will provide the students with discipline as well as compassion. He or she will be a leader, but not afraid to listen and understand the needs of the students and of course adapt to those specific needs when applicable. These characteristics are very important, but what will ultimately lead to success is the teacher’s ability to motivate. We know how capable children are, and we know that their capabilities are almost endless. Often times what they are missing is leadership, direction, and someone telling them “I believe in you”. Isaac Friedman (2011) in his article, Teachers' role-expectations: Altruism, narcissism, patemalistic altruism, and benevolent narcissism, explains that teachers must use...

References: Elmore, K. C., & Oyserman, D. (2012). If ‘we’ can succeed, ‘I’ can too: Identity-based motivation and gender in the classroom. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 37(3), 176-185.
Friedman, I. A. (2011). Teachers ' role-expectations: Altruism, narcissism, patemalistic altruism, and benevolent narcissism. Megamot, 48(1), 3-35.
Hardre, P. L., & Reeve, J. (2003). A motivational model of rural students ' intentions to persist in, versus drop out of, high school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(2), 347-356.
Jensen, E. (2005). Teaching with the brain in mind (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Legault, L., Green-Demers, I., & Pelletier, L. (2006). Why do high school students lack motivation in the classroom? Toward an understanding of academic amotivation and the role of social support. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(3), 567-582.
Reeve, J., Nix, G., & Hamm, D. (2003). Testing models of the experience of self-determination in intrinsic motivation and the conundrum of choice. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(2), 375-392.
Ryan, A. M., & Patrick, H. (2001). The classroom social environment and changes in adolescents ' motivation and engagement during middle school. American Educational Research Journal, 38(2), 437-460.
Skinner, E., Furrer, C., Marchand, G., & Kindermann, T. (2008). Engagement and disaffection in the classroom: Part of a larger motivational dynamic? Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(4), 765-781.
Slavin, R. E. (2012). Educational psychology theory and practice (Tenth ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Wu, X., Anderson, R. C., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., & Miller, B. (2013). Enhancing motivation and engagement through collaborative discussion. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 622-632.
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