Academic motivation is an important goal for many educators. Keeping students invested in their own learning is critical for producing favorable learning outcomes. However, developmental psychologists report in the Journal of school effectiveness and school improvement, that as children progress in school, motivation typically decreases. This sees teenagers at the lowest end of the motivation scale. During the important formative years of high school a lack of motivation can affect self-esteem and achievement. The cause of this decrease in motivation often occurs because the characteristics of classrooms change with age. As children move through their school years, increased competitiveness for grades and recognition is seen. Also, children can feel less accepted by their teachers as schools become larger and less personal. Less time spent with the same teacher decreases the amount of time to form relationships with teachers and staff.
There are some important tools teachers can use to increase the academic motivation of their students. Structuring classrooms to promote student motivation enables students to feel more invested in their own learning. Some approaches to increasing academic motivation in schools have been identified. These are:
Cooperative Learning: Use structured working groups to allow students to work together to reach a common academic goal.
Student Control: Allow students to have input in classroom expectations, assignment formation, and creation of scoring rubrics. Students will be more motivated to learn when they are invited in to the learning process.
Be Supportive: Students are more responsive to teachers who show that they care about their students. Showing interest in students’ lives outside of school will help teachers’ form positive relationships with their students.
Teaching students to learn to motivate themselves is the most authentic way motivation will occur in a classroom environment. Motivated students will produce higher quality work and are more likely to contribute to a positive classroom environment.