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Busting Myths and Misconceptions About Motivating College students


Learn how to reengage and encourage college students who’re testing of faculty—each mentally and bodily—is a prime precedence for educators, particularly as college students are misbehaving and skipping class extra now than they have been earlier than the pandemic.

As a lot as one-quarter of all college students have been chronically absent within the 2021-22 faculty yr, in response to separate analyses by the McKinsey Institute and the Related Press in partnership with a researcher from Stanford College. Seventy % of academics stated in an EdWeek Analysis Middle ballot from earlier this yr that their college students proceed to misbehave extra now than they did in 2019.

However desirous to encourage college students to strive their finest at school is just not the identical as figuring out tips on how to, and customary myths and misconceptions about motivation is perhaps foiling educators’ efforts.

One massive false impression is that right now’s college students are unmotivated.

Whereas 86 % of 13- to 19-year-olds surveyed by the EdWeek Analysis Middle in February stated they really feel motivated to do their finest at school, 67 % of educators—academics, principals, and district leaders—see their college students as motivated.

And in terms of the lingering results of the pandemic on college students’ motivation, the hole between educators and college students is even wider: Solely 38 % of teenagers stated that as of this yr, the pandemic has made them much less motivated to do their finest at school whereas 80 % of educators say the pandemic continues to have an effect on their college students’ motivation.

To deal with different frequent myths and misconceptions about college students’ motivation at school, EdWeek put this query to a few specialists on motivation and engagement: When you may bust one delusion about motivation, what would it not be? They shared their solutions throughout an EdWeek Okay-12 Necessities Discussion board targeted on scholar motivation and engagement, which passed off on Sept. 21.

Fantasy #1: College students who usually are not motivated by no means might be

College students’ pursuits, social id, and values all have an effect on their motivations, however academics also can affect youngsters’ motivation and engagement, stated Jennifer Fredericks, a professor of psychology at Union School in Schenectady, N.Y.

“Some youngsters are going to be more durable to encourage than others,” she stated. “However with the correct helps, the correct duties, establishing the correct social surroundings, I feel we are able to improve their motivation.”

One side of motivation that’s typically underemphasized, stated Fredericks, is how vital relationships and a way of belonging are to motivating and interesting college students.

Instructor-student relationships are an vital side of motivation for all ages, she stated, and the teacher-student relationship is very influential within the elementary years.

“I’ve accomplished work with academics working with disengaged youngsters, and people youngsters are more durable to develop relationships with, however we all know {that a} trainer relationship with a child who’s both not motivated or is disengaged has much more of a optimistic profit than [with] a child who would possibly be capable of get motivated by way of other ways.”

Fantasy #2: Motivation is just about desirous to do one thing

Individuals typically see motivation as merely desirous to do one thing or not, stated Emily Q. Rosenzweig, an assistant professor of instructional psychology on the College of Georgia. However motivation is complicated and dynamic, she stated, and there are a lot of items that affect it.

“You possibly can really feel assured, you’ll be able to wish to do nicely, one thing will be actually related to the particular person you wish to be, or it may simply be enjoyable and thrilling, otherwise you will be getting one thing out of it—all these various factors can encourage folks,” she stated. “It’s simply crucial to consider it as all people is motivated for one thing within the studying context, it’s simply not at all times one thing we as educators anticipate or essentially even choose.

There are a number of methods for the way academics may also help help scholar motivation within the classroom, equivalent to giving college students alternatives to narrate classes to their lives, objectives, and identities, stated Rosenzweig, in addition to making college students really feel profitable.

“You actually can’t underestimate the facility of constructing certain college students really feel assured to succeed and simply being certain to attract college students’ consideration to their success,” she stated.

Giving college students voice, autonomy, and decisionmaking energy of their schooling can be an vital software for rising their motivation and engagement, stated Fredericks.

Fantasy #3: Motivation is simple to acknowledge

Think about a motivated and engaged scholar, and the image many people are prone to conjure up is one of a kid sitting straight-backed at their desk with their hand raised with a locked elbow.

However there isn’t a single “look” to motivation and engagement, stated Carlton Fong, an affiliate professor at Texas State College’s faculty of schooling.

“For fairly a while, we’ve operated with motivational theories that we thought have been common however actually they have been normed and considered with principally white middle-class college students,” he stated. “We actually want to consider how completely different college students study and the way motivation is culturally certain and situation-specific, and it’s inherently social-cultural.”

College students’ upbringing, households, communities, and cultures all feed into what could encourage a scholar and what it appears like for that scholar to be motivated, he stated.

“Coming in with Western goggles is just not actually going to be a great way to consider, ‘OK, what’s motivating or demotivating my scholar,’ however truly serious about it on this cultural context,” Fong stated.

Academics have to know their college students as people—that’s nothing new—nevertheless it’s vital to take {that a} step additional and see college students’ motivations as distinctive as nicely, stated Fong.




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