ERIC Number: ED436353
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-May
Improving Student Motivation in Secondary Mathematics by the Use of Cooperative Learning.
Bouris, Randy; Creel, Holly; Stortz, Barry
This report examines the problem of a lack of motivation in secondary mathematics students. A large percentage of our students view upper level math courses as only a means to an end. They lack self motivation and are driven by either parental concerns or the desire to score well on college entrance exams. They see very little transfer from the classroom environment to their own career goals. The targeted population consists of a single site in a rural suburban setting. The students will be those who are currently enrolled in Advanced Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus. Analysis of the probable cause literature supported this hypothesis that students: 1) do not learn much by just being in class, 2) meaningful activities are more transferable, 3) when everything is the same in a daily structure boredom sets in, 4) secondary schools tend to offer strict methods of instruction rather than the use of exploration, 5) tend to achieve more when they are in control of their own learning, 6) active learning leads to less behavioral problems than passive learning, and 7) success is the most powerful of all motivators. After a review of the possible intervention strategies as presented by educational researchers, the goal was to measure the motivational levels of various levels of classes before, during, and after being exposed to cooperative learning. By tailoring cooperative learning lessons to real life situations, a direct correlation between motivation and active involvement of the learner could be detected. Post intervention data verified the hypothesis that students tend to learn better and enjoy their educational experiences while being exposed to cooperative learning projects as opposed to a strict diet of lecturing. Mathematics on the secondary level still requires some degree of traditional delivery, so that students properly receive the concept in a desired manner. The mastering of the technique is often best obtained in group settings where students can experiment with different methods of procedure. (Contains 18 references.) (Author)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Master's Action Research Project, Saint Xavier University and IRI/Skylight.