Middle school science students commit to goals through learning contracts.
Building understanding in an arts-infused middle school class.
Summarizing complex texts using cell phones increases understanding.
Planning for videoconferencing with scientists, middle school students learn to ask good questions.
High school students use technology to help frame science investigations.
Music recording software allows students to 'podcast' their study of Shakespeare.
Student motivation is influenced by both internal and external factors that can start, sustain, intensify, or discourage behavior (Reeve, 1996).
Internal factors include the individual characteristics or dispositions that students bring to their learning, such as their interests, responsibility for learning, effort, values and perceived ability (Ainley, 2004). For example, are students confident or fearful when they approach new learning tasks? Do they attribute success to luck, or do they appreciate the effort required? Do they feel in control of the factors that lead to success?
It is also important to understand the external factors, which schools can affect--the variables in learning conditions and environment that trigger, support, or change student motivation. Certain types of schooling practices may promote or hinder motivation, such as features of the classrooms, peer groups, tasks, and instructional practices (Ainley, 2004). For example, challenging, relevant instruction helps to engage students. Another way to increase motivation is through positive connections to others, such as mentors and role models.
Students' beliefs about their ability to learn are shaped by messages and experiences at home, at school, and in the larger society. Low expectations can be subtly communicated by parents and teachers, and through school practices such as tracking, ability grouping, or curriculum that is not challenging. Conversely, high but achievable expectations convey the message that all students are capable of achieving.
Schools can positively influence student motivation through:
These techniques all promote student motivation for educational success (Einspruch, Grover, Hahn, Guy, & Deck, 2001; Shore, 1998; Yair, 2000).
Student Motivation to Learn is a product of the ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) Clearinghouse on Educational Management at the College of Education, University of Oregon http://eric.uoregon.edu/pdf/digests/digest092.pdf
The University of Guelph has compiled a list of online resources on student motivation. http://www.tss.uoguelph.ca/onlineres/student_motivation.htmIncreasing Student Engagement and Motivation: From Time-on-Task to Homework is a publication of the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory. http://www.nwrel.org/request/oct00/textonly.html