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Student behavior and learning

A research study conducted in order to find the correlation between student behavior, learning and motivation in the classroom

Señorita Lett

on 3 August 2013

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Transcript of Student behavior and learning

Student behavior and learning
Problem Statement

How does motivation affect learning?
Research Questions
How do negative behaviors impact a student's motivation in the classroom?
How does behavior and motivation impact the student's learning?
How does behavior and motivation impact peer connections?
Research completed by
Andrea Lett and Nicole Rajchel
National Louis University
ESR 505 - Educational Inquiry and Assessment
Instructor: Dr. Erika Burton
August 3, 2013

How can a teacher help motivate a student?
How can a teacher help change an unwanted behavior?
How does student behavior affect learning and motivation in the classroom?
What are examples of negative behavior that have an impact on a student's motivation?

Certified teachers
Variety of grade levels
Pre-K through High School
19 surveys
5 interviews
Literature Review
There is strong support and research that suggests that the effects of student behavior and motivation go hand in hand. Sullo (2009) believes that if schools are structured around the idea of students being internally motivated, then everything else in regards to curriculum and instruction will fall into place.
Wiseman (2008) explains motivation as "an internal state that arouses students to action, directs them to certain behaviors, and assists them in maintaining that arousal and action with regard to behaviors important and appropriate to the learning environment."

Theoretical Support
"Academic motivation decreases steadily from the early grades of elementary school into high school" (Committee on Increasing High School Students' Engagement and Motivation to Learn, 2004). Teachers need to develop trust relationships in their classroom as well as focus on how students learn. Brophy (1999) believes, "motivationally effective teachers make school learning experiences meaningful for students not only in a cognitive sense but also in the motivational sense."

Recent Studies
A recent study was done at the University of Pennsylvania on competence motivation, consisting of attitudes and behaviors that connect children to classroom learning opportunities, with a group of preschool students. The results of the study prove that children demonstrating low motivation were less likely to engage in verbal interactions and participate in classroom activities. Children who were disengaged were at risk for poor results in regarding learning and development.
Robert Sullo (2009) observed a second grade classroom in which the teacher enforces total behavior strategies. Prior to a lesson on the Solar System, she discussed with her students how they should act, how to think when they begin to feel frustrated, and how they will feel after acquiring new information. Although the students were only 7-8 years old, they were able to explain their feelings very well. As a result of this strategy, the teacher discovered that her students put forth much greater effort and achieved more than ever. Even the reluctant learners were engaged when they were able to choose thoughts and actions that support learning.
We used a mixed method research study by collecting both qualitative and quantitative data to learn more about the ways that behavior affects motivation in the classroom and how both of these affect student learning.

Based off the data collected, surveys and interviews conducted, motivation has a tremendous effect on student learning and performance. We asked teachers to select categories in which they felt that a student’s motivation is affected. The four options that the participants were given were: behavior, learning, peer connections, and social connections. 100% of the survey participants stated that learning was definitely affected from a student’s motivation level. When a student is not motivated “they do not apply themselves” and “do not want to learn." The teachers felt that their students were never able to apply themselves because they were consistently distracted by their behavior.

1. How does motivation affect learning?
2. How do negative behaviors impact a student's motivation in the classroom?
3. What are examples of negative behavior that have an impact on a student's motivation?
4. How does behavior and motivation impact peer connections?
5. How does behavior and motivation impact student's learning?
6. How can a teacher help change an unwanted behavior?
7. How can a teacher help motivate a student?

After conducting interviews and electronic surveys, negative behaviors have an impact on a student’s motivation. Their negative behaviors influence on what the students place their attention. If a student is impulsive, “their motivation is short lived.”
Our participants also believe that motivation can be linked back to the teacher.

No matter the grade level, teachers felt that negative behaviors and lack of motivation absolutely plays a role in peer relationships. One student's negative behavior affects the entire classroom environment. Finally, teachers felt that the attention is taken away from the instruction and placed on the negative atmosphere in the classroom, which in turn causes a loss of instructional time.

It is clear that there is a correlation between a student’s behavior, motivation, and learning.
Many teachers feel that when there is a negative behavior displayed from a student, much of the time is spent redirecting the student. Also, if students are distracted, unmotivated or acting out, their attention is not on the lesson and therefore they are not learning to their full potential. Many teachers stated that students with low motivation do not try, do not apply themselves, and do not want to learn.

The overall opinion throughout our research is that a teacher can change a student’s unwanted behavior.
Some of the teachers stated that they have “changed their instruction to differentiated instructional strategies.” If they have a talkative group of students, then they tend to give them more opportunities to participate in cooperative learning activities.

When our interview and survey participants were asked how teachers could help motivate students,
a common theme was to learn their interests. This allows you to build a trust relationship in the classroom so that they, in turn, are more motivated to learn. Teachers should also focus on the students as individuals.

It is clear that through our findings student behavior does in fact affect a student’s learning and motivation in the classroom. All of our data shows that all three aspects have a correlation.

We faced many limitations and challenges while completing our research. Although our survey questions and interview questions thoroughly answered our research questions, the time frame that allotted to obtain this data was minimal. We also had a good number of participants take our survey, but if we were conducting research during the school year, we most likely would have many more participants, which would make our data more reliable and valid. If our research was done during the school year, we could have completed observations on student behavior, motivation and teacher modifications.

Future Research
After reviewing our research, we feel that, in the future, we could expand our population of participants in order to include students, parents, and administrators. Through this type of expansion, we would be able to discover separate data that potentially could differ from what we have obtained throughout this survey. The expansion of our population would especially help us to understand the perspective that our students have on such an important topic as well.
Behavior and motivation are key components in a student’s learning. If a student behaves negatively in the classroom, their learning and motivation decreases. Also, if a student has low motivation, they are not learning to their full potential and often show negative behaviors in the classroom. These negative behaviors, along with low motivation, also affect the child’s social interactions. These negative behaviors not only affect the individual student's learning, but also all of the students in the classroom. These behaviors cause time taken away from the whole class and distract all students from learning.
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