Recruitment & Retention

The Teacher’s Role in Motivation

By Katie Ash — December 13, 2007 1 min read

A new position paper put out by the Association for Childhood Education International outlines the teacher’s role in student motivation and how that can be used to bolster achievement.

The paper draws two major conclusions about student motivation. The first is that “children’s learning is supported by task-related incentives, both intrinsic and extrinsic, that are responsive to the individual child, the domain of study, and the sociocultural context.” The second is that “effective teaching transcends merely imparting knowledge and relies, to a considerable extent, on educators’ ability to motivate students to learn. Any characterization of learning that disregards the role of motivation and interest is shortsighted at best and destructive at worst.”

Those two statements encapsulate a lot of what we talk about on this blog--making lessons relevant to students, the teacher’s role in student motivation, and the importance of motivation in achievement--but what I was really pleased to see was the emphasis on both extrinsic and intrinsic incentives to motivate students.

We’ve talked a lot about extrinsic incentives in the past, with educators motivating students with the promise of money, cell phones, and even cars. But perhaps a more elusive goal is to motivate kids with the promise of an intrinsic incentive--the joy in the act of learning, for its own sake. The way I see it, unlike physical prizes, that kind of reward is timeless.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.