8 Factors that Affect Students’ Motivation in Education
Motivation in education can have a dramatic impact on students’ performance and results. Therefore, parents and teachers who are willing to help their children do better in school should be aware of the factors that affect student motivation.
Why Is Motivation in Education Important?
Motivation is the state that can maintain students’ attention and behavior as well as provides with more energy to needed to lead tasks to completion. Thus, it can help sustain activities over a period of time. In education, motivation can have a variety of effects on students’ behavior, preferences, and results. For instance, motivation can:
- help us direct our attention toward tasks that need to be done,
- allow us to do these tasks in shorter periods of time as well as maintain attention during a longer time,
- minimize distractions and resist them better,
- affect how much information we retain and store,
- influence the perception of how easy or difficult tasks can appear.
Most importantly, motivation urges to us perform an action. Without it, completing the action can be hard or even impossible.
Factors that Influence Students’ Motivation in Education
1. Class and Curriculum Structure
Children thrive when there is structure and struggle when there is chaos. When students sense or see that classes follow a structure, and the curriculum and class materials have been prepared beforehand, it provides them with a greater sense of security.
The feeling of security is one of our basic needs. When that’s provided in a learning environment, it allows students to fully focus on the learning material.
To help students feel more secure, educators need to plan classes and curriculums. All materials that will be used in class should be prepared in advance. Educators can also state the objectives of a course or class at the beginning of a semester or a class.
2. Teacher Behavior and Personality
If a student has a negative emotion such as fear or disliking towards their teacher, that can negatively affect their attitude toward the subject as a whole. If a teacher shows a preference towards certain students or uses derogatory and humiliating language, that can lower their motivation in education.
On the other hand, kindness, optimism, positive feedback, and encouragement can positively affect students’ motivation to learn.
3. Teaching Methods
Students are more likely to retain their motivation in education if educators use different teaching methods. That creates diversity and prevents students from getting bored. Giving room for certain choices such as which partner they’d like to work with can be beneficial too.
Students in a single class are likely to have different styles of learning. Thus, a teacher is more likely to meet these needs by applying different teaching methods.
Another important aspect, especially when it comes to girls in STEM subjects, is ensuring that the knowledge or skills learned can be practically applied in real life.
In some cases, enrolment in extracurricular activities or support from a tutor can help address students’ needs that are not met at school.
4. Parental Habits and Involvement
Quite a few parental habits can indirectly affect the motivation of children, intrinsic motivation in particular. These include:
- showing interest in the child’s learning material,
- inquiring about their day,
- actively listening,
- helping with specific tasks or skills taught at school,
- attending parent meetings,
- encouraging children t complete homework or study for a test.
Another habit that’s been proven to improve motivation, is reading. Reading to and with small children helps them develop literacy faster than talking does. However, reading comprehension level can determine students’ success in later school years.
5. Family Issues and Instability
Same as the lack of security in the classroom, the lack of security at home can negatively impact motivation in education.
Children who live with both parents, on average get better grades than children who don’t. Family conflicts and disruption can result in poorer academic performance. Some examples include:
- loss of one or both parents,
- not living with the biological father or mother,
- not having contact with the biological father or mother,
- frequently moving from one home to another,
- being or having been involved with Child Protective Services.
As a result, in certain instances, additional support may be needed from schools to help students with their issues.
6. Peer Relationships
As children grow older, the influence peers have upon them increases as well. Therefore, problems and conflicts with peers can make students feel less secure about their social status among peers, increase their stress levels, and lower motivation in education.
Keeping an eye on any conflicts, bullying, and other peer issues can prevent serious problems.
7. Learning Environment
School environment or school climate is another factor that affects motivation in education. School environment refers to different norms and regulations that determine the overall climate in the school.
Positive school environment makes students feel safe and secure, meets their basic needs such as daily meals, and provides an optimal environment for them to build healthy social relationships.
Too many classes and learning environment that’s too serious can also lower motivation in education. Adding a fun element to classes can help to ease the atmosphere and improve motivation and results. Allowing enough time for play and rest can also have a positive effect.
While standardized assessment increases the standards of attainment, it can negatively influence students’ motivation in education, especially at a younger age. The opposite can be seen in countries like Finland where primary school children do not get any tests. Despite the lack of assessment, Finnish children display higher academic achievements.
It is also common for students to lose motivation if tests are continuously too challenging. This does not provide a sense of achievement and lowers motivation in education over time. Thus, it’s important for educators to experiment with and apply different testing methods which would be able to address the different learning needs of students.