How Teachers Behaviour Influences Students Motivation To LearnThis print version free essay How Teachers Behaviour Influences Students Motivation To Learn.
Autor: samsol90 12 November 2011
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"How Teachers' behavior and teaching style influence students' motivation to learn"
Motivation plays an important role in getting what you desire. It is important to be motivated for successful accomplishment of your goals. Students' learning motivation plays an important role in helping them get what they desire with respect to their educational career.
Motivation is any sort of driving force that helps anyone achieve predetermined goals (Motivation, n.d.). Supporting this it is also described that Motivation is a wish to attain defined objectives along with the efforts put towards the achievements of those objectives (what is motivation, n.d.).
Students' learning motivation being a bit different phenomenon states that it deals with finding out and emphasizing on the importance, value and significance of academic tasks by the learners or students.
Coming towards Positive motivation, it is asserted that it is a reaction consisting of enjoyment and optimism about the work or study you are involved in. Negative motivation is that you have to fulfill the task under any circumstances, even if you do not desire, in order to avoid the unwanted results you would have to face if you do not complete the task. Both positive and negative motivations are experienced by the students and both are very important and worth considering in relevant circumstances (what is motivation, n.d.).
Besides positive and negative motivation, two other types of motivation i.e. intrinsic and extrinsic are also explained:
Intrinsic motivation is when you are internally or self motivated. It is said that intrinsic motivation is when the enjoyment or involvement in tasks becomes the driving force (Motivation, n.d.). We can also say that intrinsic motivation is when you are driven by internal motivational forces (Intrinsic Motivation, n.d.).
Students, when intrinsically motivated usually:
• Relate the academic success to the internal factors over which they have control (amount of efforts put by them).
• Believe that they can effectively achieve the wanted results (do not believe in luck).
• Want to have complete grip on their topic, do not just study to get good grades.
Extrinsic motivation comes from external sources i.e. rewards e.g. money, grades, threat for punishment etc. that lead to make the students courageous to outperform and beat others (Motivation, n.d.). Banbridge (n.d.) stated this thing bit differently in a manner that students who are motivated extrinsically may or may not find an interest in the task, they want to have assured rewards. These rewards can be as minor as smile or as major as recognition.
Talking about motivated students it is asserted that they are enthusiastic about learning their courses and new things, they show interest and find purpose in studies and keep up their energies. They have a desire to go with the course and studies and complete all the requirements of that course and study (what is motivation, n.d.).
Different factors influence the students' motivation level including:
• Environmental factors e.g. cleanliness, climate, and surrounding conditions
• Level of interest
• Teachers' behavior
• Environment of class room etc.
Along with all the other factors, teachers' behavior also plays a pivotal role in creating, enhancing and maintaining the motivation level of students. Students normally expect from teachers to increase their motivation level. Teachers should adopt different techniques to enhance the motivation level of students towards learning. Although students are naturally enthusiastic about learning particular course but they need specific driving force to pull them and this force is normally provided by the teachers in number of ways. Davis (1993) asserted that class behavior and teaching style of teachers are the key factors that can motivate students to learn. He also said that following aspects regarding class behavior of teachers enhance students' motivation to learn:
• Provide more frequent and in time feedback.
• Make students find personal means in the course.
• Create open, interactive, participative learning class environment.
• Let students feel to be an important member of the environment etc.
The key focus of this research is to explore one of the vital issues i.e. "teachers' behavior and teaching style" that influences the students' motivation to learn. Literature contains the importance and analysis of different factors, on the part of teachers, that are the cause of changing the motivation level of students towards learning. The purpose of current research is to explore the importance of implementation or avoidance of different techniques by teachers that can help them to enhance the learning capacity of their students by motivating them.
2. Research Objectives
o To find out and analyze various factors, on the part of teachers, which greatly affect students' learning motivation.
o To explore and suggest best implementable techniques to be used by teachers that will cause an increase in students' motivation to learn.
o To recommend such techniques to teachers, so as to effectively create and enhance the students' motivation to learn and achieve their academic goals.
3. General Literature Review
Students' motivation is all about what they desire to express during learning. Sometime students are more motivated and sometime they are not because their source of motivation can be different. Lens and Ulrich (n.d.) asserted that motivation, being a vital phenomenon, foretells the academic future of students. They cited Johnson (2008) describing motivation to be fixed with the student's commitment, engagement and fortitude to accomplish academic work. He further asserted that the commitment and motivation can be increased by collaborative learning rather than mere teaching via lectures.
Sources for students' motivation can be different i.e. internal or external. These sources play a very important role in affecting, either by increasing or by decreasing, the students' learning motivation. Tanaka (2005) cited Dornyei (2001) who asserted that teachers (being an external factor) have a greater impact on students' motivation. In other words we can say that instructor, his behavior and teaching style are the main sources who affect the motivational quality of students positively as well as negatively.
Martin (2010) asserted that there are many key points that highlight the importance of motivation in student's career:
• Motivation stimulates students to move towards the attainment of their goals, it maintains their stamina and reinforces them to improve their potential as well.
• Motivation is not a stagnant phenomenon; it varies from student to student.
• Students who are more motivated can do their work with great passion.
• Motivation has a direct impact on cognition including mental abilities that enhance the decision making power.
According to Martin (2010) there are many ways that can be used to increase motivation e.g. learning of students, self confidence and the other norms of their schooling. Davis (1993) also described the generally used techniques that teachers can adopt to motivate students towards learning i.e.
• Maximize your concern on the student's current needs.
• Allow or ask students to contribute in the discussion actively, engage them in different learning activities.
• Engage students in discussion and analysis of factors that make the learning environment more or less motivated for them.
Davis (1993) further asserted that teachers' teaching behavior is the greatest cause of change in students' learning motivation level. To enhance the motivation level of students, teachers should follow the given practices:
• Teacher should not over expect or anticipate unrealistic goals from students; rather they should help their students in setting reachable goals
• Teach passionately
• Try not to create an extreme level competition between the students in class room
Following all this will cause an increase in students' self motivation.
A really big step towards increasing students' motivation to be followed by teachers is to put more autonomy and more emphasis on the students' work and their experiences.
Dr. Said and Dr. Al-Homoud (n.d.) also asserted on different techniques that teachers can adopt to drive their students towards a particular path, they said that teachers should suggest students to follow concept of effort rather than luck (so as to make them to be intrinsically motivated) and build a sense of group work among them rather than competitive ethos. They also demonstrated that teachers should establish such an environment in which students can learn more things i.e. there should be an environment of affection, coordination, participation as well as respect. Encouraging group work efforts involves students to participate, share their experiences, make sure that course material relates to students' life and tell the ways that help in applying the related learning approach in real state of affairs. If you motivate students then reward those students who attain success, boost the learners while giving lecture and don't discourage them, emphasis should not be on grades but on learning and participation.
Some ideas for motivating students:
Same as other writers or researchers Harris (2010) also proposed different ideas that motivate students:
• Explain i.e. elaborative learning
• Care i.e. students' counseling
• Make students participate
• Teach inductively
• Satisfy students' need
• Make learning visual
• Use positive emotions to enhance learning and motivation
Lens and Ulrich (2009) cited Fredrick et al. (2004) who linked teachers' support to other educational commitments including the involvement in behaviors, emotions and cognition. Whereas Murdock and Miller (2003) discussed that incremental impact of enhanced student-teacher relationship ultimately builds motivation as cited by Lens and Ulrich (2009). Another point emphasized by Dr. Said and Dr. Al-Homoud (n.d.) is that the teachers who try to teach but do not inspire their students with a desire to learn are getting nothing. For this it is must for teachers to be self motivated and wholehearted for the subject so that they can cause an increase in student learning motivation.
Although Lens and Ulrich (2009) researched that most of the teachers are of opinion that the universally accepted factor of motivation represents the students' inner force compelling to involve in their own education. On the other hand, the analysis of different factors of motivation revealed that the teachers play a very vital role and have a greater impact on the students' academic career, which in turn affects their professional career. Therefore they cited various authors to prove motivation as the imperative factor of the students' learning style and motivation.
Now developed is the conceptual framework which reveals the factors that influence students' learning motivation depicting that teacher's behavior, an important factor, links with it variables or factors causing either an increase or decrease in students' motivation.
4. Conceptual Framework
5. Specific Literature Review
Specific literature review contains the discussion and analysis on the factors necessary to be adopted by teachers that motivate students in achievement of their academic goals. There is much importance of teacher's behavior which he adopts either inside or outside the classroom and it greatly affects the students' learning motivation level. Moreover the teaching style can also generate or steal the interest of students in a particular course which as a result affects their motivation level. Now given is the detailed description of factors regarding teachers' behavior and teaching style that have an impact on students' motivation, enthusiasm and involvement:
1. Enthusiasm and Involvement: Dr. Said and Dr. Homoud (n.d.) asserted that teachers should show their own interest and passion in their course and their profession. This thing will generate an interest in students to learn a specific course. Davis (1993) differently stated the same thing that teachers' bored and unconcerned behavior will steal the students' interest in the course so teachers are crucial to become zeal and zest.
When teachers show their passion to teach, discuss with students that how they will proceed further, take ideas from them and are seen to be deeply involved in their subjects, energy level of students automatically boosts up and they show active and constructive contribution i.e. they also become enthusiastic and get involved in the studies.
2. Avoid creation of intense competition: Davis (1993) suggested that it is better to avoid severe competition among students as it can create nervousness and can make them worried. It is better to promote team competition in order to enhance group efforts and to avoid competition for grades and divisions. Harris (2010) supported the same thing by saying that it is good to promote team work and team efforts that will eventually cause a decrease in individual level competition. Supporting this, Thacker (2004) cited Poonam (1997) who asserted that teachers should focus on and promote individual evaluations and should not give comparative appraisals. Teachers should persuade the student to try his level best. Dr. Said and Dr. Homoud (n.d.) also said that teachers should evaluate students with respect to their own performances and not in comparison of others.
3. Engagement of students in analysis of factors that increase or decrease motivation: Sass (1989) asked teachers to have a discussion with students that analyzes the factors causing a change in motivation level of students as cited by Davis (1993). This will eventually make students feel that they are signified and valued by their teachers as they are showing their interest in identifying which factors motivate them and which do not. Asserting the same thing, Thacker (2004) said that there should be the discussion with students on the issue of motivation so as to insure them that they are valued.
4. Reward: Thacker (2004) stated that rewards are an important and valid source to get what you desire from your students. However Cook (2003) stated that many teachers do not prefer giving rewards, they want their students to come to the classroom for their own satisfaction and not in a thirst for reward as cited by Thacker (2004) whereas Harris (2010) said that reward is a greater source to motivate students who are not intrinsically motivated. This sort of reward serves as extrinsic source of motivation. It is also very important to give right reward at the right time as it has a great impact on students' motivation (5 Easy Ways to Motivate Students, n.d.). Moreover a teacher should distribute rewards and praise students, even with smile, on equal and fair basis, this will motivate other students to have reward next time (Helping Students Become Motivated Learners, n.d.). Davis (1993) also said that positive rewards and feedback influence students positively and help them build their self confidence and satisfy their ego.
5. Create learning environment: Dr. said and Dr. Homoud (n.d.) said that teacher should create an environment of challenging and involving others; this will encourage them and let them participate. Harris (2010) described involving others as a key factor to motivate students. Davis (1993) cited Lucas (1990) who also emphasized on active contribution by the students. Moreover he asked teachers to introduce the concept of "learning by doing". It is important to note here that when students actively participate in class discussions they learn many new things and their intellectual abilities are sharpen as well, this thing supports their motivation and they try to outperform and show best of their levels throughout the learning process of a particular course.
6. Usage of positive emotions to enhance learning and motivation: Harris (2010) discussed that this factor is important in enhancing and motivating students and what they learn remains in their memory for a longer time. Creating a happy and funny learning environment affects students' memory positively and they remember the topic material for a greater period of time. Thacker (2004) also stated the importance of this factor by adding that teachers should show positive behavior in and outside the class room. In happy and safe learning environment, students feel more comfortable and show their constructive participation in class discussions.
7. Lesson elaboration: Harris (2010) said that teachers are required to explain the topic in such a way that creates and enhances the interest level of students. Teachers should explain each and every aspect of related course and desired assignment. Explanation should be given in a detailed manner along with focusing upon the facts that how learning can be increased. Becoming capable at explaining the principles, every teacher should be able to explain to students: "This is what you need to know. This is what you need to do. This is how we'll get you there" as said by Manthey (2004).
8. Students' counseling: Harris (2010) said that care is the most important and basic factor for teachers which they should show for their students. Showing extra care and response let students give a better response due to that care and affiliation. One of the best examples in which teacher can show students that how they do care is that they should ask students about their problems, which they might be facing during work and what are their plans for future. Sleigh (2009) stated this thing briefly in a manner that teachers have an obligation of care or an accountability to help out all those students who are associated to them in the teacher-student relationship.
9. Teach inductively: Harris (2010) explained that to better motivate students, teachers must teach them inductively in a way that they should give relevant examples to the students, discuss with them the relevant scenarios and then let them find out conclusions from those examples and scenario. If teacher tells the conclusion first and then give them example, it will lose the interest of the students. The inductive method, usually deduced as the systematic way is extensively used as a guide for inspection and analysis based teaching method as said by Anton (2010).
10. Fulfillment of students' needs: Students' needs may include queries about the topic, push up from their teachers etc. According to Harris (2010) it is important to address the need of the students to keep them motivated and interested. Different students are having different criteria of needs e.g. someone wants power, fun, entertainment, so teachers should design their study schedules in a way that help them to fulfill the needs of the students. Davis (1993) cited McMillan and Forsyth (1991) who said that teachers ought to maximize their concern on the students' current needs.
11. Make learning visual: Harris (2010) said that teachers should teach their students using visual means that is possible through video, charts, images, pictures, drawings, paragraphs and bullets lists etc. Learning in this way is easier for students rather than cramming because it helps and stimulates the students to learn. According to the research conducted, students better keep in mind information which is represented and provided visually (Visual learning, n.d.). Visual learning helps students in illustrating thoughts, systematizing and inspecting information, combining new knowledge and to think significantly (Visual Thinking and Learning, n.d.).
6. Research Design
6.1. Research Approach
This exploratory research, supported by focus group interview and survey strategy is conducted to identify the issues or factors which motivate students. These issues are supposed to be related with teachers' behavior in and outside the classroom and their teaching style preferences. The researchers have used survey method and focus group interviews. Using focus group in exploratory study is worth considering as Malhotra (1993) explained that focus group technique is basically non structural interview supervised by moderator with few respondents, the constituent group of respondents when discuss the topic lead to different insights i.e. a) enormous information b) distinctive ideas and c) exposed perceptions. He also said that the biggest advantage of this popular qualitative research procedure is that it produces flexibility and depth to the topic. The approach used is quite efficient because it leads to proper data collection and analysis.
6.2. Research Method
Initially data was collected using survey method, later focus group interview was also conducted in order to get deeper insight on motivational issues for students regarding teachers' behavior and teaching pattern. Main focal point of using these tools was to explore the effect generating variables on students' learning motivation regarding the teachers' behavior and teaching approaches.
7. Findings and Discussion
Findings of focus group interview are analyzed and discussed in detail below:
Very first issue assessed for motivation of students is importance of teachers' behavior i.e. how much important a teachers' behavior is in changing the motivation level of students. It is revealed that there is a deep linkage between teachers' behavior and motivation of students. Teachers' behavior, personality and teaching style have a great influence on students' learning motivation and capacity. Students either intentionally or unintentionally follow their behavior because of which their motivation is also influenced.
As quoted by the participants
"Teacher is a person who has to work on the mind, heart and soul of students, teachers play pivotal role in society development, they have to develop their students regarding how to behave and act in society so teachers' behavior is extremely important factor influencing students' motivation."
Another issue discussed is the enthusiasm and involvement of teachers in their subject matter. It is found that this element has considerable importance and has very much impact on students' motivation. Interest in the course assigned is an important factor that generates the instructor's enthusiasm in his/her respective subject. Teachers' enthusiasm engages the students in participative learning, and integrated efforts by teachers also show and increase their enthusiasm. Instructor's own interest level, which would be shown by his teaching style, increases the students' motivation. Moreover the course structure and its alignment with other courses also positively or negatively affects the enthusiasm.
One of the participants said
"Teachers should be by choice not by chance because this thing will show their own enthusiasm and interest level that will affect students' motivation as a result."
Intense competition is the next issue which has been investigated in the current research. Discussion discovered that promoting competition engages a student in leg pulling i.e. the team work and integration greatly reduces. Competition should not be promoted in sense of grades or numbers rather it should be for mastery of knowledge, in different activities and in participative discussions. It should be promoted from learning point of view and in a manner that student himself scratches out his talent, works hard for and gives the desired results.
As said by one of the participants
"There should be team competition as in this case there would be more discussion on issues of learning and how to perform best and less discussion on individual issues."
Another participant also said that
"There should be no promotion of intense individual level competition rather teachers should use different motivational techniques to motivate students to outperform, avoiding the competition because you also need to keep in mind the sensitivity level of students before you take any action as a teacher."
They also said that
"We have to replace the word ‘competition' with ‘motivational learning' so that students' focus should be on performance not on grades or marks."
Next issue examined in the study is that whether teachers have ever discussed the factor of "motivation" itself with students i.e. asked them to analyze that which factors regarding our behavior and teaching style motivate you more towards learning. Discussion results have shown that issue is of immense importance but students are unaware of basic concept of motivation, that's why they do not respond properly.
On exploring "teaching inductively" as an issue of motivation for students, it is concluded that this factor is extremely important and encouraging factor that can generate, maintain and enhance the interest level of students. Discussion upon this factor revealed that when teachers teach by telling the results in advance, students are unable to develop and maintain their interest, conversely if discussion is started by taking few examples or scenario in consideration, students are motivated and encouraged intrinsically to participate i.e. eventually they will show the good results which the teacher is in search for. As one of the participants of focus group mentioned that
"To teach dry and boring subjects, he adopts the way to firstly prepare the session which he has to teach, by spending a lot of time, starts lecture with related scenario on which discussion is based and at the end telling this is what we were supposed to learn today."
Teaching in this way lets students generate their interest and participate productively and effectively.
When the topic of participation was explored, it was revealed that participation is a strong factor used by almost every teacher to encourage students that improves their competence, keeps them on track and this factor further builds up interaction to be closely tied between teachers and the students. Teachers stressed that participation facilitates students to reflect on their learning, and mostly teachers create an atmosphere of learning by asking questions from students that facilitates students to actively understand and participate. By acknowledging participants' response further makes them feel valued and encourages them to participate and respond.
When discussion was made upon usage of positive emotions, it was concluded that it should be present, but up to learning environment only because often it leads to personal frankness and informal discussion which ultimately diverts the attention from studies and results in disrespect of teachers.
One of the participants said that
"Environment of the class should be friendly in sense of sharing knowledge and participative discussion."
Next issue assessed for motivation of students is importance of visual illustration. Participants told that the usage of multimedia, flip charts, figures and pictures are ideal source of delivering the lecture, it enhances the learning abilities of students and it also increases their level of motivation. There should be proper knowledge management as well as visual management of different courses, and courses should be designed in such a way that motivate students and also increase their learning capabilities.
The usage of visual graphics let the teachers easily elaborate the implementation of course.
Another factor discussed was that if work is up to the mark then there should be "reward system". Teachers should give rewards to students for doing well. Rewards can be in the form of smile as well as appreciation etc.
Teachers' focus should be on quality of discussion rather than quantity of discussion. There are different mental levels of students in class room, so teachers' should teach in such a way that should be understandable for each and every student. Lecture timings should not be more than 45minutes, because to generate good understanding by students, their absorption capacity should be main focus of teachers in order to enhance their motivation level.
8. Conclusion and recommendations
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Anton. (2010, July 14). Inductive Discovery Method. Retrieved May 2011, from essays24.com: http://essays24.com/Miscellaneous/Inductive-Discovery-Method/121.html
Bainbridge, C. (n.d.). Extrinsic Motivation. Retrieved May 2011, from giftedkids.about.com: http://giftedkids.about.com/od/glossary/g/extrinsic.htm
Davis, B. G. (1993). Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Helping Students Become Motivated learners. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2011, from ndt-ed.org: http://www.ndt-ed.org/TeachingResources/ClassroomTips/Motivating_Students.htm
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Sleigh, D. (2009, February 09). A teacher‘s duty of care. Retrieved May 2011, from minnisjournals.com.au: http://www.minnisjournals.com.au/educationtoday/articles.php?articleid=233
Visual learning. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2011, from wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_learning
Visual Thinking and Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2011, from inspiration.com: http://www.inspiration.com/Parents/Visual-Thinking-and-Learning
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