Rural Teachers' Best Motivational Tools

Rural Teachers' Best Motivational Tools - Rural Teachers...

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Fall 2008 - 19 Rural Teachers’ Best Motivating Strategies: A Blending of Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives Patricia L. Hardré David W. Sullivan Natasha Roberts University of Oklahoma This paper extracts and elaborates rural secondary teachers’ most effective reported motivating strategies. From the data generated by two years of mixed method research in rural secondary schools, these strategies emerged as among the most successful. Selection of best practices was based on a synthesis of what both teachers and students reported as making the greatest positive impact on their school-related motivation. Strategies are illustrated by multiple detailed examples from teacher interviews. Teachers often enter the profession because of their heartfelt desire to witness and support the physical, emotional and intellectual growth of their students. Yet a teacher’s performance is measured largely by student achievements. Because motivation influences both developmental and performance outcomes, educators have a vested interest in their students’ motivation. However, understanding that motivation is not an easy task. Motivation is a complex and dynamic construct that is a function of the past, present and future and is dependent on both the whole group and the individual (Hardré & Sullivan, in press; Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2002). While one strategy will not work on all students, some elements of social contexts influence what will influence a given group (Bandura, 1997; Black & Deci, 2000). Teachers should view motivation as a complex task involving a multi-faceted approach to the classroom and to their relationships with the students within that classroom (Schunk, Pintrich & Meece, 2008). Motivation is a process, not merely an end product (Reeve, 2005). Many long-range motivational outcomes are not readily visible to the teacher, but a set of proximate responses that teachers can see indicate how students are positioned for engagement and success (Maehr & Midgley, 1996; Skinner & Belmont, 1993). Based on the current indicators, the teacher may see that a detour is necessary to navigate the process around a roadblock. Students do bring all of their past experiences into a classroom with them and those experiences are often outside of the teacher’s direct control. However, students’ motivation is also dramatically influenced by a complex of interactions with their teachers, the context and culture of the school and community, and their personal experiences both in and out of the classroom (Hardré & Sullivan, in press; Maehr, 1984; Pintrich, 2003). The vast set of influences on students’ motivation means that no one individual or group (e.g. parents, teachers) can be solely responsible for motivating students. Thus, motivation is a shared responsibility. However, the importance of teacher influence on students’ motivation is well-demonstrated, making it clear that teachers really do make a difference (Hardré & Sullivan, in press). Teaching is an honorable and noble profession in which
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Rural Teachers' Best Motivational Tools - Rural Teachers...

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