Introduction- Motivation

Before I begin discussing Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Funds of Knowledge, and Web 2.0, I want to take a moment to discuss Motivation. You might wonder why I am introducing this website with motivation, yet do not list it as one of the top three most important topics. My reason for this is because I feel that motivation is a potentially false concept that many use as a fall back excuse when they find their students are not engaged, but do not want to investigate farther into the matter. When I first began researching potential topics for this project, I did include motivation as a possibility. The more I read, however, the more articles I found about ways to bribe, plead, and otherwise manipulate students into doing the work that the teachers had put in front of them. Never did these articles consider that the curriculum that the teachers were using was perhaps the source of the problem, NOT the students themselves!

Finally, I found an article about motivation that I felt appropriately grasped the main ideas about motivation- and it was about the misconceptions of motivation! These went against the common "solutions" to motivations that I had read before. The main idea that emerged from this article was that "Motivation is not a fixed construct" (1). Not everything that motivates one student to be engaged in learning will work for another student. Similarly, the same curriculum that works for one student is not going to be the same that works for all students. For this reason, it is important to go beyond what motivates students to participate in the lessons you set out, and move deeper into what motivates students to learn from their own lives.

The following four quotes are common motivation misconceptions that many teachers have. Believing in these does not make one a bad teacher, however one might want to reconsider their own motives if they find themselves agreeing with multiple statements below.

Out of this idea of motivation misconceptions came the three main sections of my project. Instead of keeping curriculum the same year after year and wondering why students are not engaged, teachers can use the ideas of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Funds of Knowledge and Web 2.0 to create new curriculum that is molded to fit the students instead of old curriculum into which you attempt to mold your students to fit.

Motivation Misconceptions:

  1. Motivation is just something kids have or develop. Some kids are motivated and some are not.
  2. Motivation reflects a sort of self-discipline. Some students have to persevere or work harder than others. Regardless of tasks and instrumental factors, some kids are just more determined.
  3. Motivation is perceived by students as some kind of immediate encouragement that suddenly sparks their interest and activity.
  4. Motivation is a diminishing, nonrenewable resource. If you lose it with a group of kids during a given year, it may be gone for good.