Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sources of Student Motivation

To get a better handle on precisely what motivates my students (both to make them more aware of how they can motivate themselves, as well as provide me with clues as to how to keep them motivated through the course material), I gave them a survey based on two I found online: Marcia Connor's What's Your Motivation Style and Beth Castiglia's Factors Driving Student Motivation (see appendix for survey questions).

I asked them to consider their motivation for any class - not just math - to keep the results general.

Here is what we found out about ourselves:

I study more:

  1. when midterms and practicals are approaching
  2. when I find the material to be interesting and practical
  3. when I like the teacher
but not... when the class is difficult and I am afraid of failing.

I am motivated to study:

  1. because I want to get good grades
  2. because I actually want to know the material
  3. because I want to prove something to myself
but not... because studying makes me feel good or because I want to outdo my classmates or friends.

My top reasons for not studying are:

  1. I would rather go out or hang out with my friends
  2. I have no time to study because of work and family obligations
  3. I'll never even remember or use the content of the course later on (tied with #2)
  4. I hate the course or topic
but not... because the facilities at school are conducive to study, because I would not do well in the course anyway or because my teacher is "cool" or "easy."

As for their primary motivation style, our class is primarily goal-oriented (preferring a direct and obvious route; not finding the process of learning much fun) and relationship-oriented (preferring learning through interactions with others). 

Only six students indicated being learning-oriented (preferring to focus on the process of actually learning and problem solving).

Reflections to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Heather,
    I had a conversation on Saturday during lunch at EdCampMSP where the issue of motivation came up. I sat down to blog about it. Here's the link:


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