Modern technologies let science go beyond all possible limits. The constant introduction of innovations made people rather exigent and these days it is hard to please them when it comes to products and services. However, this is not the biggest problem humanity is facing. Far more important is the fact that youth does not have a strong desire to study anymore stating that the classes are boring and the world offers far more interesting occupations than listening to the lectures, taking notes, and doing homework. Scholars apply numerous theories to understand the essence of learning and to help students get motivated towards their studies. “Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three broad learning theories most often utilized in the creation of instructional environments” (Siemens). Applying these theories was beneficial but only in those times when the influence of technology on the studying process was not so immense. Due to the slow development of information which could be observed a couple of decades ago, the learners were more successful in completing their studies, entering a career, and working their entire life at one and the same job. They have been acquiring knowledge throughout the decades whereas the knowledge of modern learners “is now measured in months and years” (Siemens). This happens mostly because the world is in incessant development and the amount of knowledge about it, which would suffice several decades ago is negligibly small as compared to what is needed today. Modern technologies shape the way of people’s thinking and give a possibility of learning through different tools, such as “communities in practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks”, which results in students’ lack of motivation towards regular studies at schools or in colleges. A number of studies have been dedicated to the exploration of the lack of motivation in students but the scholars still did not work out a suitable solution to this problem. It is necessary to find out why the students’ lack of motivation is a problem, what main factors contribute to this lack of motivation, and what solutions to this problem may exist.
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What should be mentioned above all is that lack of motivation directly affects students’ academic achievements. Being disinterested in the subject, the students either skip classes or try only hard enough to get a passing grade, “These students often do not fit in a regular class. One student explained, “When I get bored with a class, I only do enough to get a B.” Another student continued, “When I get bored with a class, I don’t go.” (Fetterman 51) Unmotivated students never try to learn from the class and are just putting in their time in the course of it. They are simply getting through the studies every day and only do enough to obtain a diploma but none of them are aimed at getting knowledge, and, certainly, are not planning to build their career in the sphere of scholarly research. Lack of motivation leads to students’ inability to think about what they are going to face in the future and they are mostly preoccupied with the present time. Gradually, unmotivated students lose faith in their abilities and do not even try to improve their grades.
In the modern world, education is a key to success and those who failed to get a diploma to lose all possible chances for building a career in the future. The students who suffered from a lack of motivation at schools and in other higher educational establishments get poor grades and are then unable to find a desirable job because of the insufficient level of education. This all leads to their getting the most usual jobs and ending up living a mediocre life. There is no doubt that such a life influences them psychologically which may result in numerous stresses, problems at work, personal and family problems, and development of disinterest in life in general. Lack of motivation, which on the face of it seems to be a simple unwillingness of students to study because of laziness or going through a difficult period in personality development (adolescence), may involve far more difficult problems and eventually ruin the person’s life. Therefore, lack of motivation in students is indeed a real problem that should be dealt with in order to increase their chances of surviving in modern society.
The factors which contribute to the student’s lack of motivation are numerous. Most of the scientists concur that “students’ home, neighborhood environment, schooling experience, and school environment are the factors that help to shape, reinforce and/or change student motivation to learn along with their developmental phases” (Mclnerney, Etten, and Dowson 335). At this, the strongest factor is the influence of parents and relations in the family which have a direct effect on the student and his/her academic achievements. “Some American research has suggested that motivation levels are affected not only by the characteristics of the home background, such as social class, but the number of children in the family, and the mother’s age” (Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, Organization for Economic Co-operation 32). It is believed that the eldest child in the family is more likely to achieve success in studies though it does not necessarily mean that younger children won’t be able to do the same; the matter is that older members of the family should serve as an example, desirably positive, to those who are younger. Student’s home environment and parents’ developing their attitude towards learning in their children is also of great importance.
Moreover, the correlation between schooling experience and life experience also contributes greatly to students’ motivation. Finding similarities between the study material and regular life works as a motive power; it develops not only the interest in the subject but students’ critical thinking and ability to evaluate the material as well.
And lastly, the school environment plays a decisive role in students’ motivation development. Conflicts with peers, teachers who seem to be indifferent to the group, inability to organize school curriculum properly, and absence of competitiveness in class lead to the lack of motivation in students. Creating a positive school environment encourages students “to form positive emotional bonds with teachers and peers and a positive attitude towards school, which in turn facilitates their academic motivation and learning” (Brophy 27). Thus, taking into account these major factors, namely, family environment and parents’ influence on their children, schooling experience, and schooling environment, it will be possible to arouse students’ interest in studies and develop their learning motivation.
Finally, discussing solutions to the problems the lack of students’ motivation involves, attention should be paid to each of the factors which contribute to it. Firstly, a family environment should be created in such a way that would allow the child to develop the necessary skills and desire to study. This, without any doubt, is a primary task of parents who, as it has been discovered, have the strongest influence on children’s motivation. Developing natural curiosity and desire for exploration in the child, properly responding to the questions the children are interested in gives them a “message that learning is worthwhile and frequently fun and satisfying” (Centre for Educational Research and Innovation 198). Moreover, developing self-efficacy, independence, and competence will help children to accept the risks which they may encounter in the process of learning. Parents’ taking a personal interest in their children’s school achievements and assisting them in case of difficulties will contribute to children’s motivation and successful studying.
Secondly, the studies in the classroom should be maximally directed at associations between school and life experience. The students are likely to better understand the subject if they can project the material to the situations they live through every day. It would be beneficial for students if a teacher could “organize curricular so that students go back and forth and find similarities and analogies between the past and the present” (Singer, Hofstra New Teachers Networks, and Hofstra Social Studies Educators 66). This would allow the students to examine and evaluate their life experiences, which would arouse their interest in the subject and desire to study.
Ultimately, the solution to the problem of lack of motivation in students can be granted by teachers. The school environment is critical for the development of motivation in students. The task of teachers is to focus “on the nature of classroom community rather than particular subject content” (Singer et al. 66). Competition within the classroom is also likely to be effective in motivating the students; it would also contribute to their personality development making them endurable and ready to face challenges. Teaching the students in modern society should not concentrate on the content of the subject alone but should go far beyond the curriculum. Teachers’ attitude towards their subjects is also crucial. If they themselves are interested in the information they present and apply correct methods of conveying this information, students will absorb it more easily and quickly. Choosing more appropriate methods of teaching, for instance by means of utilizing visual aids, video and tape recorders, actively involving the students in the classroom discussions, and offering the students to create the curriculum by themselves will increase their motivation and result in their better academic results.
In conclusion, modern technologies made it hard to find the methods of teaching which would interest the students and make them motivated towards learning. It was discovered that education is important for the further life of a student. Due to the lack of motivation, students get disinterest in classes which leads to poor academic results and, therefore, an insufficient level of education. This testifies to the fact that lack of motivation involves much more than lagging behind the class, which makes it a vital problem modern society faces. The main factors which contribute to the lack of motivation in students are home environment, schooling experience, and school environment; these factors directly influence students’ interest in studies and their academic achievements. Possible solutions to the problem of the lack of motivation in students include creating of favorable environment for students at home, giving the students a possibility to find associations between their school and life experiences within the class, and certain work on the part of the teacher, namely, directing the classes towards the students rather than the content of the subject and choosing such methods of presentation of the study material which would make the students interested in it. Developing these solutions into a complex set of activities directed towards making students more interested in studies will increase the students’ desire to take part in the learning process and will improve their academic results.
|Course Title||Social Studies Level II|
|Objective||The goal of this one-hour class session is to study the notion of behaviorism. By the end of the class, the students are expected to have an idea about behaviorism, certain background about the origin of this notion, the name of the psychologist who pioneered it and give examples of associating their past behavior with the present situation|
|Class Setup||Usual classroom setting but not too much light since the students will be watching video excerpt. The students will be asked to take notes this is why paper and pencils should be available. The desks are arranged in a way that would be convenient for the students to interact|
|Materials to be used||Handouts with the lecture plan, TV set, DVD player, DVD with the interviews of psychologists|
|Timeline||First 15 minutes of the lesson – lecture on behaviorism, giving the students brief information about the theory and how the American psychologist John Watson developed it. |
5 minutes – the teacher quickly checks how much information the students assimilated by means of asking the students simple questions on the lecture. The students will be asked to recollect possible dates or names which the teacher mentioned in the lecture
15 minutes – video about the application of behaviorism by psychologists, their speaking in favor of behavior therapy, and giving examples on how the therapy is conducted. The video is in the form of an interview with psychologists; it may possibly contain some excerpts from the interview with the patients who have undergone behavior therapy. The patients comment whether the therapy was beneficial for them and what else can be done in order to deal with their health problems
15 minutes – the teacher and the students discuss the video. The students share their impressions on the presented information, argue whether behavior therapy is beneficial for the patients, predict possible outcomes for the patients, and discuss other methods which, as they think, could be used instead of behavior therapy. Discussion on what the changes in behavior may lead to and how they are connected with learning process
10 minutes – the students display how well they understood the information presented by the teacher by arguing on whether each of their actions may be called a behavior and whether they agree with the theory suggested by John Watson. The students express their opinion on John Watson’s statement that “Thought processes are really motor habits in the larynx” (Hall, 63), meaning that thought can be regarded as covert speech.
|Course policies||The students have to take notes on the lectures. The students are not allowed to talk while viewing the video recording. The students are permitted to ask questions only after the lecture, not in the course of it|
|Out-of-class exercises to promote learning the material||Reading additional information on the subject, getting ready for the short quiz on behaviorism which will show their understanding of the topic|
Brophy, G.E. Motivating Students to Learn. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.
Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Motivating Students for Lifelong Learning: What Works in Innovation in Education. OECD Publishing, 2000.
Fetterman, D.M. Excellence and Equality: A Qualitatively Different Perspective on Gifted and Talented Education. SUNY Press, 1988.
Hall, C.J. An Introduction to Language and Linguistics: Breaking the Language Spell. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005.
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McInerney, D.M., Etten, S.V., and Dowson, M. Standards in Education. IAP, 2007.
Siemens, G. “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age”. Elearnspace Articles. 2004. Elearnspace. Web.
Singer, A.J., Hofstra New Teachers Network, and Hofstra Social Studies Educators. Social Studies for Secondary Schools: Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.