Factors That Affect Student Motivation
Student motivation can be affected by several factors. These elements include parent involvement, teacher enthusiasm, rewards, peers, the learner’s environment, personal experiences, personal interests of the student, and self-esteem and self-image.
Components such as these weigh heavily on the understanding and importance of learning to the student. These aspects aid in creating lifelong learners.
Parent involvement is one of the most influential aspects of student motivation. The parents are the initial teachers of the child before the child goes to school and encounters education through a teacher. If a parent is completely engaged in the learning process with a child, there can be growth between the child and the parent simultaneously. The parents set an example for the child, so that the child understands that help is in the classroom and at home. Alma Wright, a first and second grade teacher, believes that parents in the classroom are a good way to stimulate children. She says, “Their active participation is a positive influence. The school is open for parents to share their talents and motivate their children” (Drew, Olds, and Olds, 1974, p. 71).
The behavior of the teacher can be detrimental or beneficial to a child’s motivational process. A study conducted by Patrick, Hisley, and Kempler (2000) from Goucher College proved that teacher enthusiasm does affect student intrinsic motivation. In the analysis, the level of teacher eagerness was manipulated to observe the participant’s motivation and interest after a brief lecture. The changes in the address included tone of voice, hand gestures, and facial expressions. Participants that heard the more energetic lecture were more prone to be interested, while the participants that heard the less enthusiastic lecture found it hard to remain focused and inspired. According to Patrick, Hisley, and Kempler, the “… results clearly demonstrate that a lesson that is given in a high-energy, dynamic fashion suggestive of enthusiasm leads students to experience greater interest in and enjoyment of the material and higher levels of energy and vigor” (p.226). The authors also acknowledge that motivation is reciprocal. The teacher’s enthusiasm may lead to more highly motivated students, but the energy presented by a group of inspired students also encourages the teacher. Although the pool of participants only consisted of college students, the results are universal. The attitude of the teacher has direct effects on the way of thinking and learning of the students.
The extrinsically motivated child feeds off rewards. They are a true incentive to succeed under sometimes less than favorable circumstances. The rewards reinforce the good work that they have accomplished and stir the learner to continue those efforts. However, the reward system becomes a problem when the child only performs well to receive a reward or when the reward is...