Gorham, J., & Millette, D.M. (1997). A comparative analysis of teacher and student perceptions of sources of motivation and demotivation in college classes. Communication Education, 46, 245-261.
This journal article did a study to determine the relationships between teacher and student motivation and demotivation in the college classroom. The study explored a) the factors the teachers perceive to be the source of student motivation and demotivation b) Whether or not there are differences between teacher and student perceptions of sources of motivation and demotivation c) the relationship between the teachers’ own motivation levels compared to what they perceive in their students’ motivation levels d) relationship between perceptions of motivation and perceived sources of motivation and demotivation among students e) relationship between degree of motivation and the source is comes from. The survey was only given to faculty but it was compared to an earlier survey given to students.
Points of discussion:
- “People who are ‘motivated’ to achieve a specific goal will be ‘motivated’ to choose to do things that will achieve that goal” (p. 245).
- Although educational physiologists acknowledge that a student’s motivation to learn is partly due to teacher influences, they believe antecedent and methodological conditions have a stronger influence.
A) antecedent conditions (context factors)- conditions student’s bring with them to the classroom including “trait variables, such as general achievement, orientation and self-concept, as well as course dispositions such as attitudes toward the subject or type of learning environment” (p. 246).
B) methodological conditions (structure/format factors)- conditions that include “classroom variety, instructional activities, student involvement, direct feedback, acceptance by peers, and the availability of evaluative information regarding progress” (p. 246).
- Gorham and Millette compared a lot of their study to a previous study done by Gorham and Christophel’s 1992 study. This study’s findings showed that 1)teacher behaviors played a part in student’ motivation but not a significant role like the antecedent conditions did, when the students were asked “What things motivate you to try hard to do your best in that class?” (p. 246) and 2) teacher behaviors play a significant role in student demotivation factors.
- It is important to recognize that “not being motivated is conceptually different from being demotivated” (p. 247).
- Questions asked in the study were:
A) “What factors do teachers perceive as primary sources of student motivation and demotivation in college classes?” (p. 247)
B) “Are there differences between teacher and student perceptions of sources of student motivation and demotivation?” (p. 247)
C) “Is there a relationship between teacher motivation and the degree to which students are perceived as being motivated?” (p. 248)
D) “Is there a relationship between teacher motivation and perceived sources of motivation and demotivation among students?” (p. 248)
E) “Is there a relationship between teacher perceptions of the degree to which students are perceived as being motivated and perceived sources of motivation and demotivation?” (p. 248).
- Method- the survey was given to an entire university faculty of 680 members of which 224 were useable surveys. The survey was compared to Gorham and Christophel’s 1992 study and similar results were found.
- Results- 1) The first two research questions determined that a) “teacher’s use of immediate nonverbal behaviors” represented less than 1% of the students’ motivation list (p. 251). b) “teachers were more likely than students to attribute decreased motivation to demands outside of class, and to lack of students’ prerequisite knowledge or skills (p.256). c) “student’s listed lack of teacher enthusiasm/poor presentational ability as their most frequently mentioned source of demotivation” (p. 256). 2) The third research question determined that higher motivated teachers rated their students as having higher motivation and lower motivated teachers rated their students as having lower motivation. 3) The fourth question determined lower motivated teachers listed significantly more “context demotivators as the source for student demotivation” (p.256) 4) The last question determined that a) teachers who claimed their students are less motivated provided more student motivators in the credit or grade category. b) teachers who rated their students as being more motivated listed many teacher motivators.
1. This study concluded that teachers attribute student motivation to things they asked students to do and to how well their students did them (e.g. the teacher’s selection of course work and the student’s success on that work). Do you believe, as a student, your motivation comes from similar reasons? If so, do you think you are more likely to be motivated in that way because you sense from the teacher that type of motivation is expected of you? Or does your motivation come from factors that you bring with you to the course, such as things out of the teachers control, like pressure from parents?
2. Gorham and Millette concluded teachers with lower personal motivation were far more likely to say their students’ demotivation comes from factors that are beyond their control. It seems if the class is motivated, teachers credit themselves and if the class is demotivated, the teachers blame outside factors. Why do you think this is? Do you agree with this thought process? Do you think that students’ demotivation comes from the same factors whether or not the teacher is personally motivated?
3. Do you think it is the teacher’s responsibility to motivate their students at the college level? If so, how can they go about doing this? If not, why do you think they are not able to motivate their students at this level?