Student motivation can be influenced by classroom environmental factors. The purpose of this study was to determine which classroom environmental factor(s), as perceived by teachers, were likely to have the greatest influence in motivating middle school students to learn mathematics. The motivational factors examined in this study were goal orientation, teacher–student relationships, cooperative learning, classroom management, and appropriate learning tasks. In addition, this study examined the relation between teacher self-efficacy and teacher beliefs about student motivation. In a quantitative, nonexperimental design, surveys were used to gather the beliefs of 75 middle school mathematics teachers across two school districts. Findings showed that teachers perceived each motivational factor examined in this study to have an influence on student motivation. In addition, paired sample t-tests showed that the construct of relationships was perceived to have a greater influence on student motivation than cooperative learning, goal orientation, and learning tasks. However, no statistically significant difference was found between relationships and classroom management. A correlational analysis was calculated to find the association between teacher self-efficacy and teacher beliefs about factors that influence student motivation. These results showed that a strong, positive correlation (r = .652) existed, indicating that the higher teachers’ sense of self-efficacy, the stronger were their overall beliefs that the motivational constructs presented in this study influence student motivation. In addition, a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) demonstrated a significant difference (p = .042) between teachers with low self-efficacy and teachers with high self-efficacy when considered jointly on the variables representing the five motivational constructs. Additional results showed negative correlations existed between the number of years of teaching experience and each motivational construct, as well as self-efficacy, with a few of these negative correlations rising to the level of statistical significance. However, a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that only teachers’ self-efficacy, not the number of years teaching, was statistically significant in explaining the variance in teachers’ beliefs. The findings from this study may help teachers increase student motivation by reflecting on their own practices and incorporating some of the motivational constructs from this study into their classroom environment.
|Commitee:||Fenster, Mark, Fitzgerald, Mary|
|School:||Notre Dame of Maryland University|
|Department:||Department of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational psychology, Middle School education|
|Keywords:||Classroom, Middle school, Motivation, Student, Teachers' perceptions, Teaching|
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