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Research & Resources

Motivational Strategies in the Elementary Setting

Heather Fisher, Doctoral Student, Germantown Campus

April 23, 2003 - Motivating students is an area of concern for educators. Teachers often wonder how to capture and maintain the attention of their students. Motivation is concerned with reasons or goals that underlie involvement or non-involvement in academic activities. It is very important that educators understand how much they influence their students’ motivation to learn.

Theories for developing motivation in students include: attribution theory, goal theory, and self-determination theory. Attribution theory focuses on the student’s perception of his educational experiences. Goal theory focuses on reasons why students achieve. Self-determination theory focuses on the student’s basic needs: competence, relation to others, and autonomy. Furthermore, techniques such as goal setting, self-regulation, giving students choices within the instructional settings, and fostering teamwork are helpful.

Teachers must view themselves as socialization agents who can and do create significant impact on their students’ lives. Students who are consistently treated as well-intentioned individuals, desiring to act morally are more likely to develop pro-social qualities.

Research reveals new strategies that can help educators to motivate the unmotivated student. The RISE model is such a strategy. RISE is an acronym for Relevant subject matter, Interesting instruction, Satisfied learner, and Expectation for success. Teachers can easily incorporate RISE into their instructional strategies.

Since RISE is a student centered, and emphasis is student interests and needs, students respond with improved attitude and academic achievement. The main premise behind RISE is that with significant motivation, academic achievement will increase.

This article also appeared in the Kappa Delta Pi Record

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