Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Students with disabilities often have motivational issues. Motivation is needed to be a successful learner. A positive attitude can make all of the difference. Ways to motivate children is often a concern when children have had negative experiences with education.
Student motivation is essential to learning. Motivation is the student intent to learn. It is very important to the accomplishments of a successful student. Motivation is a learned behavior. Because it is learned, it can be taught. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators can be used over time to motivate the learner. It is important to have an optimistic attitude about learning.
A certain level of concern must be present. This is where a positive attitude comes in. The student must care about the outcome of learning. According to Madeline Hunter, when the there is no concern, there is little or no learning. When there is too much concern, there may be no energy available for learning.
Proximity and time constraints should be used to promote motivation. The level of concern increases when an authority figure is near. Just as children concentrate on their homework when they know that a parent is keeping a watchful eye on their efforts, students put more effort into school work when a teacher is in close proximity. The teacher should position himself in a close distance to the student.
Time restraints should also be used to promote a sense of urgency. The same is true for visibility. It can also has a positive effect on motivation. Increased participation and questioning can have an enormous effect on motivation.
Although feelings are an emotion, it has a major effect on motivation. The feelings of a student will affect the way he or she responds to learning in a particular situation. A pleasant environment will result in a higher probability of success. Unpleasant feelings can also cause reason for motivation in the event that one has the desire to make a positive change.
Success is always a good way to increase motivation. According to Hunter, the more success students have experienced in the past, the more optimistic they are about future performance. On the other hand, the more students have failed in the past, the less willing they are to expose themselves to risk because their prediction is that they won’t make it.
Each child has different learning needs. Successes gained will increase motivation and increase optimism. Any learned behavior can be changed. Motivation is no different. When children learn to expect success, it will follow. A positive attitude, along with a few changes in the process of learning, can motivate a child to learn.