Students' Motivation Research Paper

Length: 13 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Teaching Type: Research Paper Paper: #81753158 Related Topics: August Wilson, Motivation, Academic Goal, Engagement
Excerpt from Research Paper :

¶ … student motivation in the learning environment and what motivates students to study. The evaluation begins with a theoretical background on the issue of student motivation based on existing literature and studies on the issue. This is followed by a literature review of 10 studies that have been carried out on the student motivation in various classroom settings and learning environments. Through this review the author has identified various factors that motivate students to study including creation of a supportive learning environment, use of suitable teaching practices, and use of multi-level strategies. The article also includes a discussion regarding the significance of student motivation in the learning process.

One of the most important goals of an educational environment is to motivate students toward environmentally friendly behavior change. The need for student motivation in the high school setting is attributed to the fact that motivation creates positive experience, which helps in improving learning outcomes. Actually, students with positive experiences usually report better attitudes and increasingly positive expectations in their learning process. Through effective motivation of students, teachers and school administrators can close the gap between the actual students' achievements and their potential level of achievement. Therefore, academic motivation is an important element in high school education since it has direct impact on student achievement and learning outcomes. Student motivation impacts learning outcomes through considerable impact on engagement in the learning process and future aspirations. However, teachers and school administrators are faced with concerns on what motivates students to study and its significance.

Theoretical Background

Academic motivation is a crucial need to deal with in high school education since motivational factors are flexible and can have significant impact on engagement, learning, accomplishment, students' intentions, and future aspirations (Hardre & Sullivan, 2009, p.1). While many students in the high school setting have above-average potential, they tend to exhibit low motivation, which in turn affects their achievement and learning outcomes. The low student motivation is brought by multifaceted interactions among internal and external factors. The complexity in these interactions originates from personal differences and the impact of external experiences in the classroom. Teachers and school administrators constantly face the need to ensure student motivation in order to promote improved learning outcomes. This can be achieved through development of appropriate classroom practice, better curriculum, and school policy. In addition, students' motivation is influenced by parents who play an important role in the early development of the student in relation to learning outcomes.

Student motivation is primarily linked with two types of interest i.e. personal and situational interests. Personal interest refers to the individual's predisposition to address specific components of incidents and experiences. In contrast, situational interest comes from exposure to particular experiences, which in turn generates increased attention and concentration in the learning process. Teachers, school administrators, and parents can enhance students' motivation through influencing personal or situational interest. The major way through which teachers achieve this is by addressing perceptions regarding the kinds and causes of students' motivation.

From a theoretical perspective, students' motivation is largely influenced by the self-determination theory. Self-determined and internal motivations come from the students' own desires and needs. In this case, learners' motivation for educational tasks differs in the nature or quality and amount or strength. Self-determination and competence are potent personal interest factors and intrinsic motivational resources that influence students' engagement in school work and internalization of learning-related characteristics that promote academic success. Students are increasingly motivated when their self-determination and competence needs are addressed through the use of interpersonal motivating styles by teachers and school administrators. The other theoretical aspect relating to students' motivation is self-efficacy theory, which is a person's perception of competence and anticipation of success in measures towards realizing a specific objective or venture. Self-efficacy theory is not only

...

In the teaching or learning process, this theory is associated with almost every positive result in teaching and better learning outcomes.

While teachers and school motivators recognize the need to promote and ensure students' motivation, they are usually faced with challenges on factors that motivate students to study and why it matters. Essentially, teachers in every level from elementary to post-secondary classroom settings are increasingly concerned regarding how to increase student engagement and learning as part of students' motivation process. The difficulty in identifying how to motivate students is associated by the fact that motivational factors are malleable though they can significantly impact student engagement in the learning process and learning outcomes. The research question in this review is what motivates students to study and why does it matter?

Literature Review

There are various studies that have been conducted to examine students' motivation in terms of its importance and factors that enhance student engagement in the learning process and contribute to better learning outcomes and achievements. Moos & Honkomp (2011) have conducted a study on motivating students in a Minnesota Middle School in which they state that the issue of students' motivation in the educational setting is an issue that has attracted considerable interest in educational psychology (p.231). These researchers define motivation as the physiological procedure involved in the guidance, vitality, and persistence of behavior. They argue that this definition has acted as the operational basis for theoretical research in educational motivation and contributed to the emergence of several theories that are fueled by different intellectual customs. As a result students' motivation in the classroom setting has been on a framework for unique theoretical approaches that focuses on values, beliefs, and goals.

Hardre & Sullivan (2009) provide a different definition of students' motivation in terms of two kinds of interest (p.2). In this case, they define students' motivation or academic motivation as personal and situational interest. Personal interest is the student's predisposition to address specific aspects of incidents and experiences whereas situation interest comes from exposure to particular experiences that contribute towards better concentration and attention in the learning process. Based on this definition, the authors argue that teachers and school administrators should focus both on personal and situational interest, which will in turn enable them to enhance student's learning process and outcomes.

Saeed & Zyngier (2012) define student motivation in the classroom setting as the extent with which a student participates and focuses on learning so as to achieve successful and desired outcomes (p.253). Therefore, motivation and engagement are concepts that are interrelated in the student learning process. The strong link between these concepts or factors is the seeming impossibility to accomplish student motivation without engagement i.e. putting in effort. In contrast, students may never make necessary efforts to learn and improve without motivation, which is an important element in achieving success in school.

In relation to the significance of students' motivation in the learning process, Hardre & Sullivan (2009) argue that it is an essential need to focus on in high school education given that motivational factors are flexible. Their argument is based on the fact that students' motivation affects their engagement, learning process, future expectations, intentions, and achievement. According to Wilson & Wilson (2007), students' motivation is important in the learning process since it contributes to better learning outcomes (p.226). They concur with Hardre & Sullivan (2009) by stating that motivation generates better outcomes through ensuring they have positive experiences, improved attitudes, and positive expectations. Based on the findings of their study, students with high motivation tend to report positive experiences that are accompanied by better attitudes and increased positive expectations.

According to the findings of another research by Sitwat Saeed and David Zyngier, motivation has a significant impact on student engagement. They argue that motivation is a pre-requisite and necessary component for student participation and engagement in the learning process (Saeed & Zyngier, 2012, p.252). Student engagement in turn influences the ability of students to achieve desired and suitable educational outcomes. Therefore, students' motivation in the high school setting is important because of its link to academic achievement. Actually, students' motivation leads to active and authentic involvement in the learning process, which in turn results in higher academic accomplishment throughout the students' life and education. The engagement contributes to better outcomes by recognizing and addressing the various elements relating to cognition, emotion, and behavior. Daniels (2011) seems to agree with these findings by arguing that students achieve higher academic levels and improved behavior when teachers develop motivating learning environments for students (p.32).

Darner (2009) provides a different reason regarding the importance of students' motivation by stating that the main objective of motivating students is to promote environmentally friendly behavior change (p.463). This assertion seemingly concurs with Daniels' claim that academic motivation not only results in better academic achievement but also generates improved behavior. In this case, environmentally friendly behavior change is achieved through fostering specific kinds of behaviors in the educational setting in order to achieve mutually established academic goals. This means that the students' decisions and actions are based on what is considered as environmentally acceptable in the classroom setting.

Apart from consideration of the significance of students' motivation,…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Daniels, E. (2011, November). Creating Motivating Learning Environments: Teachers Matter.

Middle School Journal, 32-37.

Darner, R. (2012, August). An Empirical Test of Self-determination Theory As A Guide to Fostering Environmental Motivation. Environmental Education Research 18(4), 463-472.

Hardre, P.L. (2012). Standing in the Gap: Research that Informs Strategies for Motivating and Retaining Rural High School Students. Rural Educator, 12-18.


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