How do I motivate my students

How do I motivate my students

How Do I Motivate My Students?
Mekiva Callahan

Motivating students is one of the greatest challenges instructors face. While it is true that as instructors
we have little, if any, control over external factors that influence our students’ behavior and
engagement, we do play a vital role in shaping what occurs in our classroom. In fact, our instructional
choices can make a positive impact on student motivation.
The purpose of this paper is to provide instructors with a general understanding of student motivation
from a psychological perspective and to recommend specific strategies to help motivate students in the

A Framework for Understanding Student Motivation
According to Jere Brophy, a leading researcher on student motivation and effective teaching, “Student
motivation to learn is an acquired competence developed through general experience but stimulated
most directly through modeling, communication of expectations, and direct instruction or socialization
by others (especially parents or teachers).”
Before exploring some practical applications for motivating students, we should examine the issue from
a theoretical perspective. One thing to consider is the expectancy-value theory as it serves as the
underlying theme for a number of the strategies we suggest to
Expectancy-Value Theory Summarized
enhance student motivation. According to this theory, the degree to
which a student is motivated to engage in an academic task is jointly
Why am I doing this? +
determined by his/her expectancy for success and by the value that
Will I be successful at it? Level of
he/she has attached to a specific task. This theory suggests that
student motivation
students can be successful if they apply reasonable effort and
appreciate the value of the learning activities.

Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation
Given the insight gleamed from motivation theories such as the expectancy-value theory discussed
above, we...

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