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ERIC Number: ED498971
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 111
Abstractor: Author
Increasing Motivation of Elementary and Middle School Students through Positive Reinforcement, Student Self-Assessment, and Creative Engagement
Kobus, Tina; Maxwell, Lee; Provo, Jeanette
Online Submission
This is an abstract for an action research project report on improving student motivation. Students struggle with motivation to perform well in school. This study was designed to increase student motivation in the classroom setting. The targeted population consisted of one third grade classroom, one fourth grade classroom, and three periods of eighth grade science classes. There were 80 students included in the study. The interventions took place during the months of January, 2007, through May, 2007. Behaviors recognized by the teacher researchers included inadequate homework completion, lack of focus during classroom activities, and low achievement on tests. The documented evidence of this problem was gathered through the following three tools: a parent survey, a student survey, and a classroom behavior checklist. Through the tools the teacher researchers ascertained areas of weakness that were motivationally driven; specifically, off-task behavior, directions not followed, and poor work quality. A review of professional literature resulted in the action plan. Creative engagement, student self-assessment, and positive reinforcement were the solution strategies utilized. When it is used properly, creative engagement provides meaningful connections, hands-on activities, cooperative grouping, engaging content, and student choice (Walsh, 2003; Kesling, 2000; Schweinie, Meyer, & Turner, 2006; Berliner, 2004; Margolis & McCabe, 2006; & Stiggins, 2001). Student self-assessment was another intervention utilized. Students actually acquire a higher degree of motivation when they connect personally to their success (Alderman, 1990). Student achievement is maximized when they feel competent about their abilities, have personal goals to achieve, feel they have control over their successes and failures, and when they are motivated intrinsically to learn (Marchant, Paulson, & Rothlisberg, 2001). Positive reinforcement was used to help strengthen students' self-efficacy by providing support, praise, and encouragement. Teacher feedback is most effective when it is immediate and shows the relationship between successes and effort as well as points out improvement and mastery of a skill (Glynn, Aultman, & Owens, 2005). Post-intervention data revealed minor, however, positive changes in students' attitudes toward school. There were noteworthy improvements in classroom behavior in the areas of on-task behavior, quality work, and classroom engagement. While the teacher researchers experienced positive results, it was evident that the successes were short-lived. This may be attributed to the timing of the intervention with regard to the overall school year. Therefore, the researchers would recommend beginning the school year with strategies in place and adjusting them when necessary. (Contains 6 tables, 26 figures, and 9 appendices.) [Masters of Arts Action Research Project, Saint Xavier University.]
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A