Student Motivation in the Classroom Student motivation appears to be one


Student motivation appears to be one the most critical factors in the classroom setting. It is essential for effective learning and student progression. Understanding the student, their interests and keeping their attention can be maintained by several factors such as the learning environment, providing an interesting yet an accessible style of teaching, setting goals, providing feedback, showing the student the relevance of why the teacher is providing information on a specific topic and finding a balance of difficulty in the information being taught.

Understanding and getting to know your students may be the most important part of teaching. Knowing your student´s interests gives you insight on what topics you can use in the classroom to maintain attention and curiosity. Using questionnaires or open discussions at the beginning of the semester are good methods to collect information about your students. When the topics presented for learning have an incorporated interest geared towards the student, the student will be more likely to participate. Although you cannot cater to every student´s interest all the time, it is equally important to vary your topics so each individual student feels that they are being accounted for.

Helping the student set goals for their own progress plays an important role in the learning process. When the student is able to set his or her own goals they know they have a say in their own educational experience. When this is achieved students tend to engage more in the classroom as they feel their education has been individualized for them. Giving the students a choice in the classroom is another way to give them a sense of control. Allowing them a choice between two different homework assignments is an effective way to distribute homework and have it completed.

Testing is one of many ways to provide feedback to a student. By administering progress tests after a covered topic it provides the student a chance to demonstrate what they have learned. When a student receives a satisfactory grade on a test they know they are progressing well and are more likely to continue in the classroom with a positive and motivated attitude. Where as a student that receives a grade of poor achievement may become discouraged or give up. This is when individual feedback will become a key factor to motivate students. Testing may not always be the most appropriate way to provide feedback. Other methods can be through small tests or quizzes, essays and simple verbal communication. Be sure to tell your students they are doing a good job when it is deserved.

In a classroom setting where the age range is more adult oriented motivation may not be lacking. Typically adult learners have more motivation to learn because of a certain relevance to their lives whether it be general interest, professional education (required for their career) or higher education (to become more qualified for a career), etc. They have more interest and most likely you will not have to motivate them as compared to younger learners. When teaching in a youthful setting it is necessary to demonstrate to the student the relevance of their learning experience not only in the classroom but outside the classroom. This provides an excellent opportunity to use external materials. For the purposes of learning a foreign language examples might be, bus schedules, restaurant menus or travel vocabulary. When a student understands the relevance of their learning experience they will be more likely to maintain interest and stay motivated.

One of the most difficult tasks an educator is faced with is providing an appropriate difficulty level for their students. Research has shown that motivation will maintain itself when an optimum level of challenge is provided. This level is a range of difficulty understood to provide the student with enough challenge that they will not become bored yet not too much of a challenge where they may experience anxiety and become discouraged. Matching the work provided to the student´s skill level will result in an optimum learning experience for the student.

By using these methods, researching and taking notes from personal classroom experience an educator will be effective and motivating.

Sources:

1.Increasing Student Engagement and Motivation: From Time-on- Task to Homework, Cori Brewster & Jennifer Fager, October 2000, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

2.ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management ' College of Education, University of Oregon ' Eugene, Oregon 97403-5207

3.Wang, S. & Han, S. (2001). Six c´s of motivation. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.

4.Providing Feedback: Good Practice ' Assessment, University of Wollongong Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia. Website: http://www.uow.edu.au/about/teaching/goodpractice/assessment/B3feedba ck.html