ERG SES E 12, Teachers' Motivation in Education
Motivation is a broad and growing concept which encapsulates certain “fuzzy but powerful constructs” (Murphy & Alexandar, 2000). Lai (2011) described motivation as what underlies behavior; “a constellation of beliefs, perceptions, values, interests and actions that are all closely related”( p.5). It is a process rather than a product; because of its complexity, it can be observed through the indicators of engagement and success in a learning environment (Hardre, Sullivan, & Roberts, 2008).
The importance of motivation can be explained through presenting the characteristics of a motivated learner in academic learning perspective. Stipek (1996) defined a motivated student as engaged in learning process; welcoming challenging tasks, making an effort during problem solving, using a variety of learning strategies, focusing on understanding and mastering skills etc. She described also unmotivated ones with opposite characteristics of their motivated peers. They are passive learners who ignore learning tasks since they do not enjoy while learning a task. Therefore, unlike their motivated peers, they do not make much effort to learn. Therefore, undesirable learning environment might occur.
Motivational instructional practices are necessary for increasing student motivation (Lai, 2011). Achievement is not the only positive outcome of motivated classrooms, but also such classrooms have many positive effects as Stipek (1996) stated. The effective teacher behaviors in supporting student motivation are subject to research (Skinner & Belmont, 1993). Therefore, the identification of such behaviors is important for leading other teachers to change their instructional practices in favor of creating the effective classroom environment where students are engaged in the learning processes (Dolezal et. al., 2003). Girmus (2011) provided nine teacher strategies as extrinsic rewards and cooperative learning, social interactions, student autonomy and choice, situational interest, goal setting, competition and relevancy, meaning-making and real world connections. Pintrich and Schunk (2002) suggested effective teaching and use of models as instructional practices to motivate students. While defining effective teaching, they emphasized motivational instructional practices like setting goals in smaller steps, having high expectations, monitoring students’ progress, asking thought-provoking questions, and using prior knowledge etc. Furthermore, coping models having similar fears or feelings of incompetence provide the feeling of similarity that helps them to feel that they can cope with negative experiences like their models (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002).
Mathematics is a subject matter that students possess negative attitudes and beliefs since it is an abstract subject (Singh, Granville, & Dika, 2002). Therefore, in mathematics classrooms, teachers need to deal with such negative feelings to increase student engagement in the learning process. Motivation provides student engagement in learning processes (Stipek, 1996). In a classroom environment; student motivation should be supported through arranging learning environment accordingly. The present research attempts to interpret classroom teachers’ instructional practices in terms of motivation in the subject of mathematics. In the light of the literature on teachers’ motivational instructional practices, the aim is to describe motivational mechanisms in mathematics teaching practices of classroom teachers who are willing to improve their mathematics teaching practices for a better learning environment. The study is significant because the determining the motivational instructional practices of classroom teachers in the mathematics lessons can give information about which instructional practices need to be used more frequently or which instructional practices should be eliminated or improved to promote student motivation. Analyzing teachers' behaviors on stimulating motivation might encourage teachers and administrators to take actions on how to increase student engagement in learning processes through changing practice (Dolezal et al., 2003). In this perspective, the research question of the present study is stated below:
1- What motivational instructional practices do classroom teachers use in mathematics classrooms in a private school?
Dolezal, S. E., Welsh, L., M., Pressley, M., & Vincent, M. M. (2003). How nine third-grade teachers motivate student academic engagement. The Elementary School Journal, 103(3), 239-267. Girmus, R. L. (2011). How to Motivate Your Students. Paper presented at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Conference. Retreived from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED534566.pdf Hardre, P. L., Sullivan, D., W., & Roberts, N. (2008). Rural teachers’ best motivating Strategies: A blending of teachers’ and students’ perspectives. The Rural Educator, 30 (1), 19-31. Lai, E. R. (2011). Motivation: A literature review. Person Research’s Report. Retreived from https://nibeer.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/publication/pdf/7/Motivation_Review_final.pdf Murphy, P. K., & Alexander, P. A. (2000). A motivated exploration of motivation terminology. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 3-53. Pintrich, P. R., & Schunk, D. H. (2002). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Singh, K., Granville, M., & Dika, S. (2002). Mathematics and science achievement: Effects of motivation, interest, and academic engagement. The Journal of Educational Research, 95(6), 323-332. Skinner, E. A., & Belmont, M. J. (1993). Motivation in the classroom: Reciprocal effects of teacher behavior and student engagement across the school year. Journal of educational psychology, 85(4), 571-581. Stipek, D., Feiler, R., Daniels, D., & Milburn, S. (1995). Effects of different instructional approaches on young children’s achievement and motivation. Child Development, 66 (1), 209-223.
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