Free Motivating Students Literature Review Sample

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Motivation, Students, Education, Learning, Development, Assessment, Aliens, Teacher

Pages: 9

Words: 2475

Published: 2020/12/16

Nowadays there is an increasing need for specialists with a high level of overall development, professional competence and creative abilities. This determines the change in the motivational sphere of the educational process. Therefore, one of the most urgent problems of modern education is the formation of a highly motivated student's personality that is able to live and work in a changing economic environment. Contemporary research in terms of motivation and cognitive activity of students is determined by the task of identifying specific structure of the motivational sphere conducive to the successful development of the profession. There are a number of approaches to the study of motivational aspect of students’ behavioural patterns. It is worth analysing the divergent views in order to identify current issues and provide the reasoning with regard to motivation in the classroom setting.
Recently close attention has been paid to the motivation of the educational process. The notion ‘motivation’ and its core component ‘motive’ are worth defining. The concept of ‘motivation’ is a range of aspects, which refers to the system of motives, needs, interests, aspirations and goals. Motivation is a mediated process of mapping the subjective determination in human behaviour world. According to Vansteenkiste et al. (2010), the main characteristic of motivation is a hierarchy of motives that reveal intensity and persistence of purposeful behaviour. Thus, being closely related, motives as well as motivation embrace a set of reasons. Vansteenkiste et al. (2010) explain that motive is an action of human behaviour; a concept that explains why a person does what he does. Goals that are direct aspirations of certain consequences of behaviour, as well as strategies, namely methods used to achieve the objectives and, thus, satisfy motives, are rather similar. The motives, goals and strategies are difficult to be distinguished, since forms of motivation and strategies for improving the learning process are closely intertwined (et al.).
Educational motivation is determined by a number of factors, namely the education system itself, the organization of the learning process, student’s attitude towards the specific discipline as well as the element of subjectivity (Bowman, 2007). The results of several studies conducted in recent years (Bowman, 2007; Sugita & Takeuchi, 2010) show that the leading motives for learning tend to be professional and cognitive. Vansteenkiste et al. (2010) reveal the approaches and guidelines for creating the motivational conditions for professional development of students. Furthermore, the authors emphasize the implementation of a multi-level system in terms of secondary school, college and post-graduate education. This education cluster system is likely to cast a light on the contemporary learning setting. It is interesting to note that students cannot develop mentally without sufficient motivation. Vansteenkiste et al. (2010) believe that the motives of educational activity can be formed specifically due to assessment and self-organized work. A prerequisite for the creation of the students' interest in the content of teaching and learning activities is the possibility to show the teaching autonomy and initiative. The rule is rather apparent: active teaching methods make students more engaged in studying.
It is argued that motivation in the classroom setting is inextricably linked with the learning activity, gender, ethnicity, previous education as well as place of primary residence (Sugita & Takeuchi 2010). The process of formation of motivation is seen as a gradual, dynamic and controlled process, leading, ultimately, to the development of a stable positive attitude to learning in general. It is believed that students are eager to learn only when the learning process is interesting and engaging. However, college students are much more aware of their chosen profession, thus they see an incentive and motivation, knowing that they can apply their knowledge in practice (Bolkan et al. 2011).
The study carried out by Reeve and Cheon (2014) offers the longitudinal teacher-focused intervention for the purpose of supporting students’ autonomy. Authors claim that a reason for instruction can motivate or demotivate, not an instruction itself. The content of skill-based training stresses the formation of knowledge by promoting practical skills that enable teachers to adapt to changing conditions, make and implement decisions in practice. Teaching efficacy implies the ability to kindle student’s interest and sustain their performance in an autonomy-supportive way (Reeve & Cheon, 2014). According to Bolkan et al (2011), challenges do stimulate students intellectually and encourage independent thoughts.
Of particular interest is the study conducted by Harlen (2005) that explores both formative and summative assessment, in other words assessment for learning and assessment of learning respectively. Harlen (2005) asserts that high-stakes tests have a crippling effect on student’s motivation. When it comes to high-stakes tests, teachers are prone to be burdened with pressure, since students’ attainments and performance ultimately affect school’s reputation as well as teacher’s rating. Therefore, summative assessment is unlikely to be valid and reliable. The author concedes that it is exceedingly difficult for teachers to shift from test-oriented practices to learning-oriented ones (Harlen, 2005). Besides examining negative impacts on motivational patterns, the study proposes a number of actions that can enhance motivation in terms assessment. It is emphasized that non-judgemental feedbacks are likely to boost student’s motivation. Furthermore, individual development, instead of constant comparisons, as well as reflection on learning opportunities and goals make students genuinely involved in the educational process. When it comes to the assessment techniques of the Australian Curriculum, formative assessment aims to monitor and provide feedbacks. On the other hand, summative assessment implies that schools provide reports to parents twice in a year, informing adults about the performance and attainment of their children.
Bowman (2007) differentiates between motivation and inspiration, pointing out that inspiration is the outcome of “a caring, trusting and mentoring relationship with students”. Interestingly, the article defines exceptional teachers as those who truly endeavour to show students the intersection of their talents and passions. According to Bowman (2007), effective educators manage to unleash students’ aspirations. Productive classes are characterised by the perceived interdependence and a genuine spirit of trust and harmony. Bowman’s study views the concept of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards as a positive impact on motivation. The scholar argues that the productive response is a result of the aforementioned rewards. What is more, fostering positive expectations, cultivating new perspectives and broadening students’ horizons are vital for enhancing motivation for learning. Apart from that, Bowman (2007) states that educators should provide students with the feedbacks incrementally. The learning process is a reciprocally beneficial cooperation, thus, motivated behaviour is a result of this tandem.
Being subconscious, motives are actualized in behavioural patterns in terms of educational activities. Teacher’s competence of conducting engaging classes has a far-reaching impact on students. Thus, it is argued that students’ motivation is largely determined by the development of training activities during the class. However, Sugita and Takeuchi (2010) cast doubt on this suggestion, noting that the students’ level of commitment fluctuates. The important feature of learning a foreign language as a school subject in non-linguistic universities is that students do not always have clear goals. That is why, process-oriented approaches have to be incorporated in order to measure the high and low levels of motivation. Sugita and Takeuchi (2010) explored fifteen motivational strategies utilized by teachers in terms of their impact on students. Empirical self-reported data was studied in the light the Japanese secondary school EFL classes. Communicative approach is particularly pertinent when it comes to motivation in the light of learning a foreign language. Current approaches place the focus on endorsing joint initiatives in relation to the needs and aspirations of students. A vast range of teaching methods do generate the interest in learning English. The study proves that the tasks that require students’ active search activities tend to kindle their enthusiasm (Sugita & Takeuchi 2010). An essential prerequisite for the enhancement of motivation to learn embraces independence. It has been observed that the inclusion of students in the collective activities, for instance group discussions, competitive games, has a tendancy to spark their interest, thereby increasing motivation (et al.).
An important criterion for the study of motivation, as an indicator of cognitive element, is the joint activity "teacher-student". Outstanding teachers understand the peculiarities of the age and manage to awaken in students the desire for knowledge. A good teacher convinces students of the sincerity of teacher’s words, demonstrating the acts of benevolence and justice. In turn, when students are asked why they like their favourite teacher, students tend to emphasize personality traits such as compassion, kindness, attentiveness to their needs. Though, not only teachers’ traits, but also the evironment tend to have an emotional impact on the students' inclination to learn (Vansteenkiste et al., 2010). Set of motives that sustain acquisition of knowledge are developed in the classroom setting.
Motivation as the learning incentive is rather strong force, one of the core conditions for learning activities. There is a vast range of motivational strategies in terms of educational perspective. When it comes to fostering intrinsic motivation, the following elements have to be evaluated. It is worth taking into account that failures reduce motivation, thus, failures and mistakes should not be punished. Disappointment, fear and tension complicate the learning process. The classroom setting that encourages students not only to acquire theoretical knowledge, but also to satisfy emotional needs is fundamental to motivation. In order to penetrate the essence of phenomena of self-motivation a hierarchy of motives have to be defined and grasped. Interaction is a strong stimulus that helps students to overcome obstacles in learning. Peers have a potential to encourage confidence in the abilities of a student and, ultimately, strengthen external motivation. Social motives related to individual efforts to adapt in a team, constant self-improvement and self-willingness should be fully involved in the learning process. Scientists define certain techniques of motivation, in particular evocation of interest and reinforcement of a positive impression.
Constant and deliberate engagement in the development of qualities that underlie the formation of cognitive abilities of students is essential. That embraces reaction, memory, attention span, imagination and the development of critical thinking. Teachers should endeavour to integrate knowledge, link subject topics with other recreational activities and expand the horizons of students. It is recommended that teachers should consider developing the self-confidence in students, in particular in their ability to control the situation. Educators should not forget about reflection as well, since performance evaluation affects motivation.


Having explored the notion of motivation for learning and professional development, it is worth noting that the capacity to increase motivation is essential. Many factors affect the incentives in the learning environment. An interest in the curriculum, the perception of its usefulness and general desire to partake in activities and tasks have been analysed. Moreover, self-confidence, self-esteem, as well as patience and perseverance have been outlined. Of course, not all students are motivated by shared values, needs and desires. Some are motivated by the approval of others, while others by overcoming the problems. However, teacher should develop a sense of confidence and success in students, establish difficult, but achievable goals, create an atmosphere of competition, adjust tasks so that to maintain motivation. They should use their potential in encouraging students to learn. The study of multidimensional nature of motivation cannot be considered to be exhaustive. Further research is worth carrying out with regard to the development of psycho-pedagogical programs aimed at optimizing the motivation in terms of learning.


Bolkan, S., Goodboy, A. K. & Griffin, D. J. (2011). Teacher leadership and intellectual stimulation: Improving students' approaches to studying through intrinsic motivation. Communication Research Reports, 28(4), 337-346.
Bowman, R. F. (2007). How can students be motivated: A misplaced question? The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 81(2), 81-86.
Harlen, W. (2005). Teachers' summative practices and assessment for learning – tensions and synergies. The Curriculum Journal, 16(2), 207-223.
Implications for teaching, assessment and reporting. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Reeve, J., & Cheon, S. H. (2014, November 17). An intervention-based program of research on teachers’ motivating styles. Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 18, 293-339.
Sugita, M., & Takeuchi, O. (2010). What can teachers do to motivate their students? A classroom research on motivational strategy use in the Japanese EFL context. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 4(1), 21-35.
Vansteenkiste, M., Niemiec, C. P., & Soenens, B. (2010). The development of the five mini-theories of self-determination theory: an historical overview, emerging trends, and future directions. In S. Karabenick & T. C. Urdan (Ed.), The decade ahead: Theoretical perspectives on motivation and achievement (pp. 105-165). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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