Role of Motivation in Student Success

The type of motivation and use of learning strategies is critical to improving student learning outcomes.

At the beginning of the new school year, the most common problem for teachers and parents is the lack of motivation of the students. The motivation can come either from the inside (internal) or from the outside (external). A child who is motivated internally performs the task in better way because learning new things interests him. A child who goes to school to get parental consent, grades or awards is motivated externally.

Although studies showed that children with intrinsic motivation do better, teachers and parents often find that many children are looking for external reinforcement. Parents who ask questions that lead to more questions for the child, develop the internal motivation more successfully. As parents and teachers know, motivation often varies depending on the environment, the people involved, the task, and the situation. A child with learning difficulties may be a very reluctant reader who refuses to read a scientific assignment or write homework, but eagerly accepts all teacher’s ideas about the evaporation of water in a science class. The key to each student is to find what motivates him. Unfortunately, other factors often intervene to reduce student motivation.


Fear of failure
Children may be afraid to do their work because they are afraid to make a mistake. They do not want to look stupid in front of their fellows, teachers, brothers and sisters or parents. For example, a child with learning difficulties can distract the class with wonderful humor, but never complete a task or answer a question in the class. Humor covers his reading difficulties and hides his inability to complete work and most of the students in the class.

Lack of challenge
Children can get bored with their studies. It cannot be in vain. A talented student can be “unmotivated” in a classroom that repeatedly explains a concept that he / she already understands. A child with learning difficulties can get bored if the material available to study the concept is written much lower than the child’s cognitive skills.

Lack of meaning
A student can simply believe that school work is not important because he cannot understand how it relates to everyday life. For example, it may be very difficult for a student with visual motor problems to organize math problems to provide the correct answer.

Emotional problems
A child with an emotional problem may have difficulty learning because they cannot focus on class. Anxiety, anxiety, depression, or possibly household problems can interfere with each other.

Some children use schoolwork or lack of schoolwork as an expression of anger toward their parents. This is often called a passive-aggressive approach. For example, if a child is under great pressure to be successful at school, a factor that the student cannot control is the student screaming or arguing with the parent. Rather, low grades are earned.

Desire for attention
Unfortunately, some children use the lack of academic success to attract the attention of parents or teachers. Children who come home, do their homework, do their homework, and get academic results can be ignored simply because they don’t cause problems. Children who work at school or appear “helpless” can often get support and attention. Attention to children is a powerful motivator.

Recurring Strategies for student motivation

Make it real
Try to create learning activities based on topics relevant to your students’ lives in order to stimulate intrinsic motivation. Strategies include using local examples, teaching news events, using pop culture technology to teach, or connecting the subject with your students’ culture, external interests, or social life.

Provide choices
Students may have increased motivation when they feel independent in the educational process, and this motivation decreases when students do not have voting rights in the class structure. Giving students options can be as easy as letting them choose lab partners or choosing from alternative tasks, or as difficult.

Balance the challenge
Students perform better when the difficulty level is slightly higher than their current skill level. If the task is too simple, it causes boredom and can convey a message with low expectations or a feeling that the teacher believes that the student cannot work better. Too complex a task can be considered unattainable, undermining self-efficacy and creating fear.

Seek role models
Help the children to seek role models which serves as a motivation for them. In some cases, you can be a role model, but you are unlikely to communicate with everyone in the class at this level because gender, age, and social groups differ. However, there can be many sources of role models.

Establish a sense of belonging
People have a basic need to feel connected or connected with other people. Studies show that in an academic environment, students who feel “belonging” have a higher level of internal motivation and academic trust.

Adopt a supportive style
A supportive teaching style that provides students with autonomy can help increase student interest, joy, activity, and academic achievement. The supportive behavior of teachers includes listening, giving advice and encouragement, answering questions from students and showing empathy for the students.

Teacher’s Role 

Encourage Students
Students look to teachers for approval and positive reinforcement, and are more likely to be enthusiastic about learning if they feel their work is recognized and valued. You should encourage open communication and free thinking with your students to make them feel important. Be enthusiastic. Praise your students often. 

Get Them Involved
One way to encourage students and teach them responsibility is to get them involved in the classroom. Make participating fun by giving each student a job to do. Give students the responsibility of tidying up or decorating the classroom. Assign a student to erase the blackboard or pass out materials. Giving students a sense of ownership allows them to feel accomplished and encourages active participation in class.

Offer Incentives
Setting expectations and making reasonable demands encourages students to participate, but sometimes students need an extra push in the right direction. Offering students small incentives makes learning fun and motivates students to push themselves. Rewards give students a sense of accomplishment and encourage them to work with a goal in mind.

Get Creative
Avoid monotony by changing around the structure of your class. Teach through games and discussions instead of lectures, encourage students to debate and enrich the subject matter with visual aids, like colorful charts, diagrams and videos. 

Draw Connections to Real Life
Showing them that a subject is used every day by “real” people gives it new importance. They may never be excited about algebra but if they see how it applies to them, they may be motivated to learn attentively.

Role of Parents

Parents play a different role in student motivation. The start of a new school year is very important. Parents can help start the year well.

  • Provide a warm, welcoming home environment.
  • Give clear instructions and feedback.
  • Realize a model for success
  • Develop student strengths
  • Relate the school work to the interests of the students
  • Help build a family structure that promotes consistent work to achieve the goal.
  • Help the student have control over how and when they learn.
  • Emphasize the child’s success, not his academic performance, compared to other students in the class or family.
  • Remember to reinforce the desired behavior.
  • Use reinforcers wisely. Remember that intrinsic motivation works best. If possible, follow the interests of the child, and do not waste time creating complex reward systems.

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