My motivation to learn


      Motivation is an important factor that impacts on ourselves. It comes from inside us, to support our ability to achieve goals and excel in life. Keeping our spirits high helps us to  achieve our aspirations and goals. According to Paula, “Students are motivated when they believe they are able to succeed at a given task and when they understand and value the outcome of the task.” (2005, p. 34). If students believe that they will be successful, maybe they will have more motivation to do their task very well. In addition, I believe that having an intense desire to achieve what I want is a very important step to motivating myself. If I am  not persistent in trying to get what I want, I cannot stay motivated to get it. For example, I was taking too many difficult classes one semester. Sometimes, I felt so bored that it made me lose all my will to continue. The semester that I took Methods of Teaching Social  was the most enjoyable ever. The class was interesting because the instructor prepared subjects that aroused our attention. That class kept me motivated up until I finished the semester. This shows how, if teachers care about their students’ motivations, they can help them to achieve their goals in the course. Motivation is influenced by many factors, but the characteristics of the instructor is one of the most important of them. If the instructor is enthusiastic about the course, enhances academic activities, and cares about the students and their goals, they will motivate their students to engage in the subject.

      A good teacher is one who use academic activities in the classroom to create opportunities for their students to engage with the material and learn very well. Interesting academic activities will motivate  students to achieve more and engage with the material through reading, writing, talking, and listening. Paula goes on  to define motivation to learn as “a student’s tendency to find academic activities meaningful and worthwhile and to try to get the intended learning benefits from them.” (2005, p. 34). Motivating students is one of the more difficult things that teachers encounter in the classroom, because a lack of motivation to learn by students will produce poor results. Teachers need to know their students to know their different motivations about learning, so they can help their students to not  lose motivation after they start the class. Through my own experience as a student, and by meeting many teachers, I understand the experience of students who try hard to stay motivated. As students. we know that motivation is the power that drives us to learn. A lack of motivation to learn something makes it very difficult to learn that thing. Motivation helps you to continue focus on what you want to achieve. On the other hand, a lack of motivation to  learn something will make us to feel too bored to focus on the subject. If we can always remain motivated, we will always be achievers.

      A good teacher is who cares about his/her students and their goals, to motivate them to engage in the learning process. The motivations of students are different, because the motivations depend on the students’ needs, especially if they are learning something very important to them. The teachers can learn what is important to the students by asking the students in the first class what they are hoping to learn. That will help teachers to understand their students’ goals. Paula shows that,

“Brophy encourages teachers to establish learning communities in their classrooms by making students feel comfortable, cared about, and empowered. Learning should be emphasized, but within a supportive climate. For optimal learning to occur, students must feel safe and secure whether asking for clarification, venturing opinions, or seeking assistance. Brophy also urges educators to make their classrooms physically attractive to the extent possible.” (2005, p. 34).

She goes to says that Brophy addresses,

“The need to focus on achieving success rather than avoiding failure. When students are successful, that success should be attributed to their ability and effort. Any failures should be attributed to a lack of relevant information and/or effort, but not to a lack of ability.” (2005, p. 34).

Teachers should demonstrate for their students that their efforts will contribute to achieving the students’ goals and that the teacher will  support their students in achieving their goals. So, the teachers can’t motivate their students unless they understand the students’ needs or goals. From my experience as an international student,  I have had personal, social and academic benefits. I realized that moving to another place can be very fruitful if it has a clear goal, such as studying abroad. I’ve moved from my home in Saudi Arabia to Canada, and had my a goal of learning a new language, to improve my communication skills. But, through my teacher supporting me to get a master’s degree in education, I found a second goal. Although I feel homesick, I motivate myself to achieve my goals. when I try to motivate myself, I push myself to do something that I really care about and want to achieve. I have developed an understanding of my goals, which will influence my entire life. This shows how having aspirations and goals helps have the motivation to make achievements.

      Overall, different Students have different things that motivate them to achieve their goals. Teachers can help their students to achieve their goals by encouraging an intense  desire to be the best they can be. If teachers and students provide help for each other, they will be able to help each other to achieve success. Students will be successful in theirs lives, while teachers will achieve the outcomes they want in their classes.


Wise, P. (2005). Motivating students to learn [book review]. In The School Psychologist, 59(1) pp. 34-35.

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6 thoughts on “My motivation to learn

  1. Hi Amal,

    I enjoyed reading your post. Your passion for learning is evident in your writing. I agree that teachers who are passionate about their subject areas, use engaging teaching strategies, and care about the learning of their students will be more successful with motivating their students. As I read your post, I thought fondly about my grade 12 Biology teacher, who motivated me to do well in a subject I thought I didn’t care about. My teacher literally bounced around the classroom with joy when he talked about Biology, and I found this fascinating. I’d never had a teacher who exuded such passion for a subject. He talked about the relevancy of Biology and gave us interesting assignments. My small rural high school had very few Science resources and my Biology teacher would even buy supplies with his own money so he could take us to the lab to do dissections and demonstrations. I didn’t become a Biologist, but I did really well in his class and still remember (14 years later) a lot of things I learned. I think it is really important that you say in your post: “If teachers and students provide help for each other, they will be able to help each other to achieve success.” I think both the teacher and student play a role in increasing motivation. A teacher can try everything to motivate students; however, if the students are not open to the strategies, then it becomes very difficult to achieve results. Thanks for your post and see you on Monday!

  2. Hello Amal
    I can relate very well to your description of coming to a new country, learning a new language and aspiring to a higher level of education. In fact, I did not ever imagine entering a masters program of study: I had reached my goal when finishing my undergraduate degree with first class honours. Although I believe myself to be extremely internally motivated to achieve, your point is well taken when when argue that a good teacher is also a strong motivator. A good teacher must also recognize those characteristics in a group of students and use that information to design coursework that inspires students to achieve. I think your blog analysis opens the door to further consideration of the interaction of internal and external motivators for adult learners.
    Zbigniew Kowalewski

  3. Students are usually more successful in a course when they find the subject matter interesting and if they are able to related the material to their personal experiences. It is important that the teacher asks questions of the class and engages the students in classroom discussions about the material and how it relates to their lives. Teachers should try to stay away from too much of the “chalk and talk” style of lecture, and instead focus more on interactive lectures where students can share their experiences and relevant material. Students learn more and retain information better when they are interested and can related their school work to their lives.
    Thank you

  4. Reply 6: My motivation to learn
    Thank you for sharing your on-going educational journey. As I read your paper, thoughts of courage, determination and perseverance came to my mind. It is incredible the type of sacrifices you have made, and continue to make.
    You have accredited motivation as the driving force to your continual success. You prompted me to search out the definition of motivation. I have found that the definition of motivation is not easy to ascertain. I was not aware that motivation appears to have an insurmountable number of definitions and conceptual frameworks. The following is a miniscule number of definitions.
    “Incentive concepts suggest that motivation is the process that temporarily enhances sensitivity to specific stimuli and produces goal-directed behaviours” (Anselme, 2010, pg.291). This researcher advocates that motivation “must be viewed as an information processing system” (pg.291). Ambrose, Bridges, Lovett, DiPietro, & Norman (2010) correlate motivation to clearly defined learning goals, the learning environment, the teachers’ interaction with students in supporting their students’ learning goals, the teachers’ mastery of harnessing their students’ prior knowledge, and academic achievement. Still other researchers such as Ames & Ames (1984) posit that “there are 3 systems of motivation” (pg. 535).
    The motivational learning precursors are the environment in which a person is in, and the interaction between teacher and student(s). “Students’ learning experience can be defined as their interaction with the teaching and learning environment and hence their study behavior is contingent on their learning experience in response to situational demands in relation to the learning context” (Ning & Downing, 2012, pg. 220). This is to say whether a person is motivated to learn is directly correlated to the teachers’ pedagogy, clarity of learning goals, supportive teaching practices, in addition to the self-regulation of the student.
    I am inclined to believe self-regulation is the most influential predictor of learning. King & Gaerlan (2014) contends “results indicated that self-control positively predicted academic emotions”, and “academic emotions, in turn, had a significant impact on engagement, disaffection, and perceived achievement” (pg. 81). It is their contention that students’ self-control guides and motivates individuals towards goals and standards thus predicting academic success. “Self-control has been found to be related to a wide range of positive outcomes such as higher academic achievement, better work performance, smoother interpersonal relationships, and greater overall psychological adjustment among others” (King & Gaerlan, who references Moffitt et al. 2011; Tangney et al. 2004, pg. 83).
    Although I believe that the learning environment is crucial for motivating students to learn and some researchers such as Ning & Downing have denoted the learning experience/environment as a mediator for self-regulation and motivation, I propose that self-regulation of a student determines the level of their motivation.
    I am keenly aware of students who were in hostile learning environments, but still managed to achieve academic excellence. This would indicate that self-regulation, self-control of students is far more critical in determining academic success. I do agree the learning environment can enhance and motivate a students’ learning experience, as noted by Ning & Downing “it plays a mediator role in predicting academic performance” (pg. 219).
    I believe that your success is more than the result of motivation. It speaks to your exceptional qualities that you possess, which in the final analysis is determined by your self-regulation.

    Ambrose, S., Bridges, M., Lovett, M., DiPietro, M., & Norman, M. (2010). How learning works:
    7 research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    Ames, C. & Ames, R. (1984). Systems of student and teacher motivation: Toward a quantitative
    definition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(4), 535-556. Doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.
    76.4.535. Retrieved from PsycARTICLES Database.

  5. Sorry these are the references that didnot get included.

    Anselme, P. (2010). Motivation. Behavioral Brain Research, 208(2), 291-310. Doi: 10.1016/j.
    Bbr.2009.12.020. Retrieved from MEDLINE@/PubMed@, a database of the U.S.
    National Library of Medicine
    King, R. & Gaerlan, M. (2014). High self-control predicts more positive emotions, better
    engagement, and higher achievement in school. European Journal of Psychology of
    Education, 27(2), 177-193. Doi: 10.1007/s10212-013-0188-z. Retrieved from ArticleFirst
    Ning, H. & Downing (2012). Influence of student learning experience on academic performance:
    The mediator and moderator effects of self-regulation and motivation. British
    Educational Research Journal, 38(2), 219-237. Doi: 10.1080/01411926.2010.538468.
    Retrieved from ERIC Database.

  6. When reading this blog about motivation I thought of the term used by Mark Bracher, in Radical Pedagogy, where he use ”identity” rather than motivation and goals that you wrote about. I agree with you that a student must be motivated to stay focused on learning and to be able to learn. Focus requires motivation and Bracher says this is all tied to one identity.
    At the end of your blog you spoke about your own motivation to learn English and that despite being home sick you stayed focused on your goal and motivated to continue in your educational goal. This is in Bracher’s ideals your identity, the, who you are and how you are motivated. Fortunately for you and many people in university, motivation to learn is not as difficult as it is for many others.
    The teacher is limited in their ability to find the motivators in all students. In a school setting there may be too many students making it difficult to have the time to probe student to find out their identity and find what motivates them. There are also factors like rules and laws that prevent the teacher from accessing the required materials to motivate a particular student. Culture and faith and prior knowledge of the society, teacher and student also get in the way of either finding the motivator of r a student or in providing the proper motivators for that student.
    I find the whole idea of motivation to learn fascinating and complex. I would be nice, as educators, to be able to motivate or work within ones identity to help people learn but it is very complex and we will not reach everyone unfortunately.
    I enjoyed your blog.

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