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Session Overview
PAP-09: Motivation in Classrooms
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Session Chair: Angela Mary Mornane, Monash university
Location: 454


Longitudinal study on the reciprocal relationship between quality of the teacher-student relationship and well-being, motivation and achievement of primary school students

Lisette Hornstra1, Ineke van der Veen2, Thea Peetsma1, Monique Volman1

1University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The; 2Kohnstamm Institute

The quality of a student’s relationship with their teacher is of crucial importance for their success in school. In previous research, it has often been suggested that the quality of the teacher-student relationship affects many student outcomes such as motivation and achievement, but this relationship may not necessarily be unidirectional. Therefore, in this study, it was examined to what extent the association between teacher-student relationships and students’ well-being, motivation, and achievement is reciprocal over time from grade three to grade six of primary school. 722 students and their teachers participated during five measurements and filled out questionnaires. Results showed that developments in teacher-student relationships and developments in students’ well-being, motivation, and achievement indeed affected each other reciprocally. Quality of the teacher-student relationship predicted developments in student outcomes more or less to the same extent as student outcomes predicted developments in the quality of students’ relationships with their teacher.

Relations between constructivist teaching practices and developments in motivation and achievement during primary school

Lisette Hornstra1, Ineke van der Veen2, Thea Peetsma1, Monique Volman1

1University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The; 2Kohnstamm Institute

It is increasingly recognized that the learning context is an important factor in explaining students’ motivation for school. Over the last decades, various forms of constructivist approaches to learning have become increasingly common. This study focuses on the relationship between teacher and student perceptions of constructivist teaching practices and developments in student motivation and achievement during the last two years of primary school. What constitutes an optimal learning environment may however depend on students’ gender and socio-economic or ethnic background. These background characteristics were therefore taken into account in the present study. 722 students and their teachers filled out questionnaires twice a year from grade five to grade six. The student questionnaires included scales on student perceptions of teaching practices (autonomy support) and scales on motivation (i.e., task value, self-efficacy, and well-being). The teacher questionnaires included teacher perceptions of constructivist teaching practices (i.e., authentic learning, collaborative learning, and focus on self-regulation). Also, the teachers rated each student on effort at each measurement. Achievement scores on national tests were obtained from the school records. Results showed that students perceptions of autonomy support did not relate to developments in achievement, but related positively to developments in motivation, especially for boys. Teacher perceptions of constructivist teaching practices showed both negative and positive relations with developments in motivation and achievement, with differences across groups. In sum, results showed that relations between the learning context and developments in motivation and achievement varied for different aspects of motivation and across different groups of students.

The dynamic fluctuation of situated motivation and emotion.

Frea Waninge

University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

In this paper I argue for a dynamic approach to motivation and emotion, or, the affective precursor of behaviour, in a classroom environment. In the past two decades, the study of complex dynamic systems (DS) has gained importance as a research paradigm in the social sciences (e.g. Davis & Sumara (2005) on complexity in education, and Van Geert (1998) in developmental psychology). The dynamic approach has also become prominent in the study of Second Language Acquisition (e.g. Verspoor et al, 2008; Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008) and researchers have adopted a dynamic and situated approach in studying motivation in language learning (e.g. Dörnyei & Ushioda 2009, Campbell & Storch 2011)

This paper reports on a classroom oriented investigation conducted within a DS framework, focusing on the development and variability of motivation in the classroom, and its strong link with emotion. Language education is an emotionally highly loaded subjects, and therefore language learning cannot be studied without accounting for affective issues.

Four secondary school students participated in the project, reporting on their motivation every five minutes during their language class. The results suggest that their perception of the affective domain is quite undifferentiated, with emotional and motivational components intermingling, forming a fluctuating ‘affective amalgam’.

Influences on Adolescent Student Motivation for Learning

Angela Mary Mornane, Peter Arnold Sullivan

Monash university, Australia

This presentation reports on responses of a group of ten adolescent students to questions regarding their learning of mathematics, English, science and a subject of their own choice, focusing on the influence that teachers have on students’ motivation, academic resilience and persistence. This project evolved from knowledge that over a period of time there has been a decrease in school engagement and increase in alienation around middle school students in Australia. The study approached each student with the intention of seeking insights into factors that influenced their decision making, their ability to self-regulate, their opinions, motivations, self-concept and understandings of the world around them. The study sought to understand resilience in an academic context and looked at how students cope when facing difficulties with learning. It therefore investigated what factors, internal and external to the school, facilitate or inhibit learning in adolescent students.

It became apparent the students’ perceptions of learning are complex – learning may be affected by a range of factors and these can be different for each student and in each subject. It also appeared that supportive relationships with teachers may be the most influential factor in providing positive outcomes for students. Students who received such support were able to self-regulate on a consistent basis, they had positive self-concepts and were inclined to develop positive future goals. These results have implications for teachers in terms of building positive classroom climates that foster student/teacher relationships and create learning environments that connect students’ learning to their future goals.

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