Factors Affecting Student Motivation
A Pleasant Teacher is a Source of Motivation
Motivation Can Come from Within or Without
Human beings can be motivated by the strangest things, but basically motivation can either be intrinsic or extrinsic.
For those of us who are lucky, we find our motivation from within; we call it our drive. From early on we are able to set goals for our lives and chart the course of our destiny. Without sound financial backing it may appear extremely daunting to achieve our goals, however, the inner drive is what enables us to be proactive, to persevere and achieve despite the odds.
One of the places where motivation is manifested earliest is the classroom. There you will find different types of students all motivated by different combinations of factors. Some draw on the intrinsic- their inner strength and determination - and remain focused even in what appears to be really adverse situations. Others rely heavily on extrinsic factors and if those are not favorable, they become demotivated and easily lose focus.
Students bring to the classroom varying types of extrinsic motivation such as a nurturing home environment or rewards promised by parents and relatives. However, they also depend, to a large extent, on school factors such as school and classroom environment, teacher personality, skill and ability of teacher, rewards and commendations, and relationship with peers, for motivation not only to succeed, but to excel.
Factors Affecting Student Motivation
Student motivation may be dependent on varied factors. For e.g:
1. Home Environment
A child who comes from a home environment which is caring, comfortable and supportive brings to the classroom, motivation arising from his conducive home environment.On the other side of the coin, an unfavourable home environment produces a pupil who arrives at school perhaps hungry, angry, resentful, bitter, depressed, lethargic or just simply stressed out. Such a student would require really strong school motivation to prod him out of his malaise and cause him to perform.
2. School Environment
A pleasant school environment (tidy/attractive surroundings, caring teachers, agreeable students) is in itself conducive to learning and excellent student output. Additionally, a positive class environment will further reinforce student motivation causing students to achieve at even higher levels or creating motivation where there was none from the home.
3. The School System
The school system itself can influence students either to excel or to rebel. A school which offers a comprehensive program and has the reputation of being disciplined, fair and student friendly will very likely attract high student enrollment, produce high academic performance and turn out well rounded students as motivation will be high. The converse is true; a school system which is extremely regimented and whose program is limited can impact negatively on students.Likewise, a school which is too lax will eventually have discipline problems and lose reputation. Nobody wants to be associated with a school whose reputation is poor, thus students who attend such schools feel that nothing good is expected of them and so they are not motivated to do well.
Good Student / Teacher Relationship
Impacts of Different Types of Motivation
1. Intrinsic Motivation
The most powerful motivation is intrinsic motivation for no matter how favorable external factors are, unless a student has set goals that he is determined to achieve, he can easily be side tracked by factors such as peer pressure, complacency or simply his own indecisiveness.
2. Extrinsic Motivation
- Home Environment -Take, for example, the first scenario in No. 1 above. The child is already comfortable at home and perhaps at school as well. He can take either of two routes: He may easily become complacent and tell himself that all is well at home and as such, there is no need to work hard. Here, it is the intrinsic motivation otherwise called self motivation which is needed to push this student to take the better route which would be to apply himself in order to become a success story like his father, brother or someone else whom he has adopted as role model and to bring gratification to those who have made the way easy for him.
- Take the second scenario where the child comes from a less than favourable home environment. This student also has two options: i) He may, from sheer determination to access a better life in the future, push himself relentlessly to achieve success. ii) Conversely, he may succumb, as many do, and let his adverse circumstances dictate his future. Indeed, the unfavourable home environment is probably a stronger motivator for personal success than the favourable home environment. Students from the former, however , rely more heavily on school factors for motivation than those from the latter
- Peer Motivation - Peers are also a great source of motivation for one another. Lifelong friendships are formed at school and peers have been known to stand up for one another sometimes even more than siblings. They assist one another with school work and also become mentors to one another in their personal lives. Very often one finds that the students who work in groups, sharing their knowledge and skills, obtain better results than those who work alone.
- Teacher Motivation - Among extrinsic factors the teacher is probably the single, most powerful source of motivation for pupils. The personality, skill, attitude, sex, age and even the attire of the teacher are all very important factors in determining whether students perform or not. Teachers must be conscious of the powerful impact that they can have on their students and make every effort to ensure that they impact positively rather than negatively on the young minds entrusted to their care. Teachers are mentors, life shapers, destiny shapers and they must be prepared to undertake the task which has been put into their hands. Students are motivated by teachers who show that they are concerned about their well being, that they have answers to life’s questions , that they can rise to challenges, that they can be mothers, fathers and friends.
What Drives You?
What type of motivation works for you?
Generally students are motivated to do well when conditions at home and at school are favorable. In extreme situations one may find children who have everything going for them getting distracted and choosing the wrong path in life. Alternatively, one may find students who appear to have very little motivation at home buckling their belts and setting their own course for success. Motivation can come from any number of sources, but wherever it comes from it is that force which impels the student to move forward to achieve - nay to excel.
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© 2011 Joyette Helen Fabien