Motivation in the Classroom Essay

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Motivation in the Classroom

Students want and need work that enables them to demonstrate and improve their sense of themselves as competent and successful human beings. This is the drive toward mastery. But success, while highly valued in our society, can be more or less motivational. People who are highly creative, for example, actually experience failure far more often than success. Biehler (p. 225) claims that studies show that when CAI used in conjunction with a teacher's lessons, is particularly beneficial for low-achieving and young students.

Before we can use success to motivate our students to produce high-quality work, we must meet three conditions:

1. We must clearly articulate the criteria for success and
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“But what of the criteria for success?” Teachers define success in many ways. We must not only broaden our definition, but also make sure the definition is clear to everyone. In this way, students will know when they have done a good job, and they will know how to improve their work.

To achieve this clarity, we can present examples of work that illustrate high, average, and low levels of achievement. Such exemplars can significantly motivate students, as well as increase their understanding of their own ability to achieve.

It has been pointed out that students who are bored by school and "unmotivated" in the eyes of the teacher nevertheless find plenty of motivation for playing a sport. The obvious question, then, is what is motivating about a sport? Think about a group of young people in a baseball game. The very things that motivate them to work hard and do well playing baseball can be adapted to the classroom. Let's look at them:

1. Teamwork. Humans are gregarious and like being around each other. Young people and adults usually like working as a team. Yet often the learning activities we assign call for individual effort. Young people especially complain that they don't like doing homework alone, yet we often insist that it be done that way. By designing more team assignments, we can exploit the benefits of teamwork, where the weaker
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