Student Motivation Teachers everywhere can attests to the
Teachers everywhere can attests to the fact that motivating students is not an easy task. One really has to work hard, be persistent and be creative at the same time in order to even attempt to motivate an unwilling student. Despite the difficulties encountered, motivation is a crucial component involved with teaching any student. A student's desire to participate in the learning process will essentially determine whether he/she will succeed or fail.
The reasons for a student's motivation can vary a great deal, however there are basically two types of ways in which a student can be motivated. They can either be intrinsically motivated, which means they take part in the activity for their own enjoyment and for their own learning benefits, or they can be extrinsically motivated, which means they perform an activity in order to gain something in return such as some kind of reward (e.g. teacher's approval). (Lumsden 2000) Although, most believe that intrinsically and extrinsically motivated students will both reap the same benefits, there has been evidence to prove that this is not true. Intrinsically motivated students are more eager to tackle complex and challenging tasks, whereas extrinsically motivated students would rather choose the easier tasks and put forth the most minimum effort required to ensure a reward. (J. Condry and J. Chambers 1978) Thus it is more beneficial for the teacher to encourage students to be intrinsically motivated by trying to really have them enjoy what they learn, rather than rewarding them for every little to task to extrinsically motivate them.Furthermore, students can be divided into two even larger groups and that is the motivated students and the unmotivated students. Students who cheat or procrastinate,instead of putting forth the effort to do their work, simply have a fear of failure and are trying to save themselves from embarrassment and degradation of their self worth. (Raffini 1993) It is crucial for teachers to understand this before punishing their students for lack of effort or forcing their students to put effort into their work.
There are many ways in which an educator can motivate his/her students, one of which is called the process of attribution retraining. This process involves using modeling, socialization and practice exercises to help students learn how to concentrate on their tasks, how to better respond to frustration, and to ultimately understand that their failures are due to lack of effort and not due to lack of ability. (Brophy 1986) Once students learn these key points then they can further be motivated with creative and fun activities which are still well adapted to their needs. Bringing in visual aids, playing videos and tapes, and playing communication games which are relevant to the material and still peaks the interest of the students, is also a good way to get the students motivated to learn.
To conclude, motivation is essential in every classroom. Although students are both extrinsically and intrinsically motivated, it is the latter which will prove most beneficial to both students and educators. With the right kind of motivation and well adapted material, both student and teacher can succeed to their fullest potential in both the classroom and in life.
Brophy, Jere. On Motivating Students. Occasional Paper No. 101. East Lansing, Michigan: Institute for Research on Teaching, Michigan State University, October 1986.
Condry, J., and J. Chambers. "Intrinsic Motivation and the Process of Learning'. In The Hidden Cost of Reward, edited by M.R. Lepper and D. Greene. 61-84. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 1978.
Raffini, James. Winners Without Losers: Structures and Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation to Learn. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1993.
Lumsden, Linda. "Student Motivation to Learn." KidSourceOnline. 2000. 7 Aug 2006
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