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3.2 Which factors affect motivation?

Pupils' educational motivation may be different from pupil to pupil, depending on the age or even the mood of the child. Children cannot truly understand why learning local history is important. An important task is then to figure out how a child’s motivation can be raised. Unfortunately, there is no universal method to do this, since each child has its own personality that must be taken into account. Elementary school programs are focused on new knowledge acquisition and learning process in general. By the end of elementary school, learning interest is decreasing due to a range of psychological factors, one of them being inability to find practical appliance of theoretical knowledge (Eccles et al., 1998).

We find it necessary to define factors affecting motivation first to understand how to improve the child's desire to learn.

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3.2.1 Self-efficacy and competence perceptions

First of all the role of self-efficacy in the regulation of motivation should be defined. Perceptions of self-efficacy refer to students’ beliefs about their ability to successfully accomplish tasks they are given, and have been related to students’ successful engagement and persistence in tasks (Bandura, 1993; Schunk, 1994). Students’ judgments about how likely it is to successfully accomplish tasks must be based on their perceptions of task requirements.

When people expect to do well, they tend to try hard, persist, and perform better (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002). Students who believe they can and will do well are much more likely to be motivated in terms of effort, persistence, and behavior than students who believe they are less able to succeed (Bandura, 1997; Eccles et al., 1998; Pintrich & Schunk, 2002).

Competition is another important possibility. By setting a specific goal that can be achieved in a limited period of time, by one class or by a group within a class, teachers can put the pupils’ competition spirit to work (busyteacher.org).


3.2.2 Attributions and control beliefs

The basic construct refers to beliefs about the causes of success and failure, and how much perceived control one needs to affect outcomes or to control one’s behavior (Skinner, 1996; Weiner, 1986). Students must believe that their efforts will lead to success. This assurance enables them to manage their activities and emotions. Students who believe they are in control of their own learning and behavior are more likely to do well and perform at high levels than students who do not feel in control (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002; Skinner, Zimmer-Gembeck & Connell, 1998)

3.2.3 Higher level of interest

High levels of both personal and situational interest are associated with more cognitive engagement, more learning, and higher levels of achievement (Eccles et al., 1998; Hidi, 1990; Pintrich & Schunk, 2002; Schiefele, Krapp & Winteler, 1992).

Students’ interest refers to the intrinsic pleasure students draw from completing the activity (Schiefele, 1991; Viau, 1999). Students can only judge if the task is interesting or not, or a task’s utility in terms of their understanding of task purposes.

3.2.3.1 Classroom environment

Linnenbrink and Pintrich (2001) distinguish between the objective qualities of a classroom environment that might impact on motivation and students’ subjective perceptions of those same environmental conditions. They note that stronger links have been found between achievement and students’ perceptions of classrooms than between achievement and objectively defined classroom qualities. Thus, it appears that teachers can influence learning processes and outcomes by structuring learning environments. They must however attend to how students perceive those environments to achieve the intended effects.

3.2.3.2 Home Situation

Home situations affect pupils' motivation in the classroom. If children come from homes where they are loved and encouraged, they will approach classroom work with eagerness and with a willingness to learn. If the pupils do not have a positive home environment, they attend school with a disadvantage and a lack of motivation because of physical or emotional problems.

3.2.3.3 Teaching approach

Learning can be more enjoyable and be tailored  to a larger degree when the pupils become part of the learning process. Students can be motivated when teachers help them to see what they are learning in a different context. If the pupils are currently learning about a historical figure or event, then it could be motivating to read novels or short stories that takes place in the same time period. As long as the historical scenes are accurate, fiction stories can draw students into the historical setting and make the era come alive. When students connect better with what they are learning, motivation often increases.

3.2.3.4 Interactive activities

Using interactive activities can be a motivating factors for positive classroom participation. Also, the use of puzzles, games, special speakers and visiting museums may motivate pupils to go beyond the official and predefined teaching routine and take steps to learn more about the subject than what is taught in school.

3.2.4 Higher levels of value

Task value refers to students’ opinion about the utility, or how interesting they find a task given the goals that are being pursued (Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992; Viau, 1999). Clearly students’ perceptions of task value are predicated on their interpretation of tasks.

Pupils must understand how important it is to do well on the task. Parents and teachers need to provide support to the pupils’ understanding of value. Higher value of oncoming result increases sense of responsibility and overall interest in the task.

3.2.5 Goals and goal orientation

Setting goals is a key point in the learning process. Encouraging students to set goals in the classroom can also provide motivation. Goal content approaches (Ford, 1992; Wentzel, 2000) assume that there are multiple goals that students can pursue in a classroom.

Discuss & brainstorm