• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Children learn in a variety of ways. Why are some more successful as learners than others?

Extracts from this document...


Children learn in a variety of ways. Why are some more successful as learners than others? Before considering why some children are more successful than other it is important to establish what success is with respect to learning. The Government has set targets for schools to educate their pupils so that they are able to attain five good (A*-C including English and Mathematics) GCSEs or that a pupil's progress is at a rate of 2 sub levels a year. There are many other ways in which you could describe a successful learner, so in this essay the term successful learner shall be considered in relation to the Governments targets; achieving five good GCSEs or progressing at the expected rate of 2 sub levels a year. This essay will consider the effect of motivation on pupils' learning. Given the long tradition of motivational research, we would expect to find some well-established models that have stood the test of time, along with some solid, theoretically sound educational recommendations to help us improve the effectiveness of our teaching. This, unfortunately, is not the case. In fact, the current state of motivation research could hardly be further from this expectation: contemporary motivational psychology is characterised by a confusing plethora of competing theories, with little consensus and much disagreement among researchers. In fact, we can say without much risk of exaggeration that 'motivation' is one of the most elusive concepts in the whole domain of the social sciences. Motivation theories attempt to explain nothing less than why people behave and think as they do, and human nature being as complex as it is, there are simply no cut and dried answers to be offered. Many early views linked motivation with inner forces: instincts, traits, volition, and will. Behavioural (conditioning) theories view motivation as an increased or continual level of responding to stimuli brought about by reinforcement (reward). Contemporary cognitive views postulate that individuals' thoughts, beliefs, and emotions influence motivation. ...read more.


A third motivational index is persistence, or time spent on a task. Students motivated to learn are more likely to persist, especially when they encounter obstacles. Persistence is important because much learning takes time and success may not readily occur. Persistence relates directly to the sustaining feature of motivation, and greater persistence leads to higher accomplishments. Persistence is commonly used by researchers as a measure of motivation. Zimmerman and Ringle (1981) had children observe a model unsuccessfully attempt to solve a puzzle for either a long or short time while verbalizing statements of confidence or pessimism, after which children attempted to solve the puzzle themselves. Children who observed the high-persistent model worked longer on the task than the children exposed to the low-persistent model, and children who observed the confident model persisted longer than those who observed the pessimistic model. As with effort, the usefulness of persistence as a motivational measure is limited by skill level. As students' skills improve, they should be able to perform well in less time. Persistence is most meaningful during learning and when students encounter obstacles. Finally, student achievement may be viewed as an index of motivation. Students who choose to engage in a task, expend effort and persist are likely to achieve at higher levels (Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992; Schunk, 1995). Many research studies obtain positive relations between achievement and motivational indexes of choice, effort and persistence (Pintrich, 2003). Schunk (1983a) found that the more arithmetic problems children completed during class sessions (which reflected effort and persistence), the more problems they solved correctly on the posttest (a measure of achievement). Dweck (2000) writes about, 'four beliefs and four truths about ability success, praise and confidence' and how they interact to promote adaptive motivation. Dweck (2000) talks about students who are highly skilled are worried about failure, and the most likely to question their ability and to wilt when they hit obstacles. ...read more.


When children who have not experienced difficult problems in mathematics encounter a problem that cannot be solved in a routine fashion, they may have their confidence shattered unless they believe that occasional mistakes are a part of learning mathematics. In conclusion, motivation is of great importance to education, yet it remains an elusive topic. Many interactions have been discovered between level of motivation and achievement. Each individual is motivated differently and their level of motivation can be influenced by many external factors. What teachers need to be aware of the different models of motivation, for instance the attribution theory, a teacher can attribute a pupil's success to stable factors such as ability and failings to changeable factors such as effort, and therefore in future the pupil will know they can be a successful learner if they work harder. However educators will have to be careful not to tell a low achieving pupil to work harder who is already working hard, as they will then feel incapable and attribute their failure to their ability. This could lead to the pupil being disengaged from their learning. Motivation affects all classroom activities because it can influence learning of new behaviours and performance of previously learnt behaviours. Learning and performance are related in a reciprocal fashion to motivation because motivation can affect learning and behaviour and one's learning and action as can influence subsequent task motivation. It needs to be taken into consideration that for each individual there are other variables outside of motivation which will also affect their progress as learners; Special Educational Needs, teaching models, family support and many others. Some thought needs to be taken with these variables when assessing successful learners and relating their success to motivation as it is will never be the case where motivation is the only enforcer. Although many research theories about motivation contradict each other, a learner who is persistent and perseveres in the face of adversity is likely to be a successful learner, as learning tends to require sustained physical or mental effort. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Teaching section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Teaching essays

  1. Case study on children behavior

    He seems to be very embarrassed by his expressions of anxiety or rage. He doesn't want the other students to see him when he is upset. Academically, Travis is capable of third grade work. When I helped him with his reading and math work he performed adequately.

  2. Learning Theories - The theories of learning through the models behaviourally, cognitively and humanistically ...

    One way to teach humanistic ally is to clarify what you are teaching by using graphics, sketches or models in order to clarify what is being taught. To tell a child about an ox and show them a picture of an ox is a way to teach humanistically.

  1. Critical Review: Teachers' Expectancies: Determinants Of Pupils' IQ Gains, Rosenthal and Jacobson.

    only the most basic demands as no higher challenges have been identified. These findings support the research of Rosenthal and Jacobson. Rosenthal himself conducted a series of experiments in the field of interpersonal expectancy effects prior to his Teacher Expectancy study.

  2. This portfolio will help to illustrate and address how the current influences of play ...

    He followed the ideas of Rousseau, in particular that education was gained from nature and attempted to bring up his own son using the style endorsed by Rousseau in Emile. He rejected the formal and severe education that he had received as a schoolboy.

  1. I am going to explore the personal and organisational factors that influence my teaching ...

    Perhaps looking at examples or even following another teacher's plan could help. When I started teaching I didn't know how to design a power point. Working on a power point with my teaching colleague helped me a great deal and I now feel happy in this area.


    This focus was catalysed by the work of child development and psychology specialists who were working in the field of children and adults with specific learning difficulties. (Hick et al. 2009). These specialists were interested to explore learning strategies that would enable learners with specific difficulties to get the best possible experience from their formal education.

  1. Self Evaluation As An Early Years Practitioner

    Devising planned steps and reviewing them together. Take a lead in establishing and sustaining a culture of cooperative working between colleagues and wider professionals. Not quite accessible in my job role Support colleagues to understand the part they play to enable every child to reach their full potential.

  2. Self-reflection Essay. For TMA 01 I had to look at myself and my setting. ...

    So it was really nice to explore one child?s development thoroughly. I found this especially useful as Child R started school January 2011 so it was nice for her parents to know her exact stage of development but also useful for the school so they have a basis to start with.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work