Motivating Students

This semester, students in READ 3325.20B were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Blanca Villarreal and Sharon Flores

A very interesting theory we recently learned in this course is how student motivation plays a big role in how well they accomplish their academic goals in school. An article that we read, “Al’s Story: Overcoming Beliefs that Inhibit Learning,” talks about how the way a student viewed himself as a learner affected very much the progress he was able to make. The article mentions how many times we don’t take into consideration students’ beliefs about themselves which influence a lot whether students improve on their learning. Something else that affects the student is how they view the school and its personnel. It is important that the school has a welcoming environment on which their personnel communicate positive expectations for each and every student. In the article we find a student with behavioral problems that was diagnosed as being disabled in reading. This kid not only did not view himself as a learner but also had a negative view of school. In the article he is said to represent students who feel “alienated” at their schools. In regards to this would also be how sometimes students do not feel that their culture and/or native language is valued. As future bilingual educators we can consider several ways in which we could motivate students. We could do such by doing things such as offering support in literacy through their native language and providing multicultural texts .

After a special education teacher along with the input of a university reading professor worked closely on assessing and providing interventions for the student, they were able to see great improvement. It is interesting to find that affective factors can help to improve the cognitive abilities of a child. I liked this topic because from my experience I think educators hardly put it to practice, either because they are not aware of it or they do not believe in it, yet it is very important. I also like how some of the beginning interventions were ones Al could be familiarized with and they focused on his strengths rather than his weaknesses. This was done right off the bat to help Al start building confidence in him as a learner. It is important that students start off the process with a positive attitude about themselves because it can determine whether preceding steps will either work or fail.

We are currently in block two out of four, and we have already made several observations in our field experience. We have seen cases where teachers motivate student in a positive way and also have seen cases where the teacher goes and motivates the child but her tone and her way of expression do not sound quite positive. Motivation can impact a student’s life in a positive way. Students need to feel supported by their parents and teachers since those are the persons they spend more time with.

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