Students are generally motivated to participate and learn based on two overriding factors, that is, they are either influenced extrinsically, through the aspiration to engage in an activity based on receiving a benefit or reward or, intrinsically motivated, which is based on the desire to succeed for one's own satisfaction. Intrinsic motivation is well regarded in the context of education, as it focuses on the students own motivation to learn and takes away the need for external factors to influence students actions (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010). Both motivators have a place within a classroom environment and the use of both will assist in providing the inspiration required to motivate individual students who all have differing needs.
People want to understand the world around them, thus students have a natural tendency to want to learn more about that which they do not currently comprehend. Tapping into students thirst for knowledge by frequently introducing new and challenging concepts will complement this theory (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
Students aim to become “self-actualised”, meaning that they become all they can be and fulfil their full potential. Students who are determined to excel will take the opportunity to engage in any challenging learning experience and it is important that teachers foster their students desire to succeed (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
In order to be an effective motivator it is essential to understand the many areas which may contribute to students' motivation levels.
Key factors include;
Students’ needs: students require good nutrition and sufficient sleep in order to concentrate and perform well in class. Students also want to be competent within society, they need to feel they are in control of their surroundings and can effectively relate to other students within their environment (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
Students’ beliefs: students have preconceived expectations for their actions based on previous experience and their own beliefs of their capabilities, this will have a large impact on their motivation, as too will their individual goals such as wanting to complete or improve on tasks (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
Students' emotions: many students will have preference or gain an immediate satisfaction from a subject or topic whilst being influenced by how a subject or activity makes them feel (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
In considering these factors teachers should strive to provide a supportive classroom environment, which values diversity and promotes the inclusion of all students.
Tips for success in the classroom
- Children enjoy using new technologies. With the internet providing students with a gateway to the world, incorporating new technologies into the classroom will ensure lessons are varied, challenging and enjoyable.
- Appreciate students desire to be in control of their own learning, involve them in the process, value their thoughts, feelings and feedback (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010). Remember that each student is an individual with varying driving forces; get to know your students and what it is that makes them want to learn (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
- Make each learning experience both challenging and unique and relate it back to student’s real life experiences, remember that students learn better when they are offered new and engaging activities (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
- Acknowledge that no student will be 100% motivated all of the time, motivation is contextual and you may see great changes from one end of the spectrum to the other in just one student alone, be supportive and assist them in finding a connection with each topic or activity (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
- Ensure you, as the teacher remain motivated and project enthusiasm, as you cannot expect students to be engaged in activities that you yourself have no interest in (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
- Incorporating gentle physical fitness and movement into lesson plans will refresh and invigorate students, this is particularly useful in the afternoons when students may become lethargic and unfocused (Eggen, P., Kauchak, D., 2010).
It is clearly evident that students are individuals, who are all motivated in many different ways. In order to be successful, teachers must take the time to get to know each student on a personal level and in doing so, will gain the knowledge required to inspire students to succeed and reach their full potential.
Eggen, P. and Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational Psychology: Windows on Classrooms. New Jersey: Pearson.
Schooling Issues Digest: Student Motivation and Engagement. Australian Government
Australian Government: Employment and Workplace Relations.
Retrieved 12th January 2010 from link