Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

Abstract

How do teachers motivate their students to learn? Prompt, induce, or inspire – whatever word is used, educators recognize the importance of understanding students as individuals with idiosyncratic learning styles and the challenge of implementing the best practice for each. Former research in this subject defines the two types of motivation as intrinsic and extrinsic. This research project investigates and reports on the query, does giving student choices in reading activities impact their desire to learn? The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore different forms of motivation, driven by student choice as a catalyst, for learning in the classroom with particular attention given to struggling readers. The study took place in a fourth-grade classroom during a reader's workshop and focused on four student test subjects. The specific student interviews and surveys posed several questions regarding: student choice motivation, self-assessment as readers, autonomy as a learner, group versus individual activities, use of reading centers, and the like. Conclusions drawn from the research data analysis confirm that collaborative learning has positive effects on students regardless of their reading status and proves to be a significant motivator for learning.

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