Motivation is an internal process that makes a person move toward a goal. While the potential for motivation lies within individuals, it can be influenced by the environment, and developed and maintained with the use of particular motivational strategies. Research suggests that motivation is primarily influenced by: interest in the task; the value the task holds for a person; and the expectations a person has about their success, or otherwise, at the task. These three influences can interrelate. Interest can be triggered by learning about the value of the task, and further reinforced when the person does well at the task and consequently experiences positive feelings.
It is common in education to distinguish between intrinsic motivation – the feelings
(pleasure, interest, enjoyment) and aspirations that a student associates with learning that motivates them, and extrinsic motivation – when a person is motivated by external aspects, such as a reward or the threat of punishment. It is important to remember that everyone tends to move between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation depending on the particular activity and task.
There is plenty of research which demonstrates strong links between levels of motivation in students and their learning outcomes. Students with the greatest levels of motivation tend to achieve higher performance levels. Students most at risk of failing tend to have lower levels of motivation.
There is a considerable body of research evidence on motivation in education. Much of the psychological research is in the form of lab-based quantitative studies. However, there have been a growing number of studies recently that have studied motivation in the school context. Within these studies, there also is a growing evidence base identifying the environmental factors, including practical steps teachers can take, that support students’ motivation in school.
Although motivation is highly influenced by student characteristics, the classroom context also plays a role in influencing student motivation. High levels of motivation and engagement are supported by:
Students’ sense of membership of the class and strong relationships both with the teacher and their peers
Create learning tasks with the right level of challenge, to promte studetns’ self-efficacy
Creating engaging and relevant tasks, which students understand the importance
Connecting learning with students’ goals, values and identities
Providing opportunities for student autonomy and responsibility
Goal setting and feedback
Opportunities for co-operative learning, which in turn enhance feelings of connectedness
Claire Chuter, from John Hopkins University in the USA explores the different mindsets, skills and competencies SEL incorporates, why it is important, and how it can be integrated into teaching and learning.
"There is so much good information in this for teaching. It’s applicable for all ages. It’s so valuable I am devoting tonight’s staff meeting to read and discuss"
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