Grow Together!

Student motivation

The last few postings have unpacked the range of motivations, demotivations and unmotivations that are exhibited by teaching staff.  Over the last few weeks I have unpacked this research with two whole school staffs (as part of keynote presentations) and a range of school leaders.  The results resonate.

Importantly, there has also been widespread agreement that students exhibit a similar range of motivations, demotivations and unmotivations.

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The next key link to make is that a teacher’s level of motivation affects student motivation.  Edward Deci, the key researcher in this field since 1969 states: “When teachers are autonomously [intrinsically] motivated, their students learn in a deeper, more conceptual way.  The students enjoy learning more and they feel more confident and competent about themselves.”  So, the link is clear on the positive side.

In 1993, Ellen Skinner and Michael Belmont, two researchers at the University of Rochester conducted in-depth research with 14 teachers and their 144 students in grades 3-5.  They surveyed each teacher and child at the beginning of the academic year and then six months later.  The surveys of the teachers included each teacher’s attitude and behaviour towards each of their students.

There were two key findings, first that teacher behaviour vis-à-vis an individual student is a predictor of that student’s level of engagement, and, second that teachers, unknowingly, tend to magnify initial student engagement conditions.  Meaning, that if a child were initially engaged at the time of the first interview they would be more engaged by the second and if a student were disengaged at the time of the first interview they would be more disengaged by the second.

Teacher and student motivation are linked together.

All this points to the fact that if we want to raise student motivation, and student motivation is the key to developing 21st century skills, then we cannot do so without raising staff motivation as well.

Literally, we all grow together.

John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.

John Corrigan