What affects students’ motivation?
Several things affect students’ motivation, such as student beliefs about learning, teacher and students’ interaction, and curriculum content stood up as significant predictors of motivation to learn. The explanation of all students’ motivation affects are described below.
Student beliefs about learning
Learning mathematics can develop students’ ability to think in quantitative terms but also can improve skills such as analysis and problem solving. People believe that mathematics is a subject that is difficult and unattractive. But, through technical assistance and some ways with innovative approaches in teaching mathematics, I believe that mathematics can have an attraction and sharpen students’ creativity as well. To be able to talk to students how important mathematics is having understanding of students’ beliefs in learning mathematics so as to find ways to improve students’ performance and achievement in mathematics (Tahir, 2009). He stated that there were significant differences between students’ beliefs based on institutions and mathematics grade and there were no significant differences among beliefs based on gender, secondary education, and major. The data in this research was taken from three different higher institutions in the East Coast of Malaysia. Students were randomly selected using the convenience sampling method. A total of 376 students (100 male and 276 female) participated. They answered a questionnaire in which contains of 17 statements pertaining to students’ beliefs towards learning mathematics. These items were measured using a 5-point, Likert-scale type format with the following anchors: 1 = strongly agree, 2 = agree, 3 = neutral, 4 = disagree, and 5 =strongly disagree.
The results showed that a significant relationship means the difference between the beliefs of students based on institutions and mathematics classes and there was no significant difference meaning among students beliefs based on gender, secondary education, and major education. This would mean that students who come from the same institutions and the same math class also do different things in their beliefs in mathematics. This conclude that student appreciate the subject and hold positive beliefs in learning mathematics (Tahir, 2009).
Teacher and students’ interaction
Teacher support is one of the factors effecting motivation and student achievement. The discovery that the views of teachers in teacher-child relationship characterized by safety and the possibility of dependence, such as parent-child relationship. Relationship characterized by dependency seems to be one in which the child shows a search aid for teachers. On the other hand, security in teacher-child relationship is most clearly assessed with items that reflect the confidence and sense of student understanding. Security was described by behavioural indications of open communication and a sense that children’s needs for support and help to feel fulfilled (Pianta&Nimetz, 1991). So, teachers have a direct effect on students’ motivation to learn (Khamis, Dukmak, &Elhoweris, 2008). It indicates that almost all activities of the teachers which are done in the classroom have effects (negative effect or positive effect) on students’ motivation to learn mathematics. For instance, teaching style and patterns of interaction are two kinds of teacher activities that have to be structured in well-organised course.
Students’ perceptions of teacher caring correspond the cooperation (helping/friendly and understanding), whereas non-caring characteristics are included in opposition (dissatisfied and admonishing). For example, a caring teacher ‘‘makes class interesting’’, ‘‘pays attention’’, ‘‘listens’’, ‘‘trusts me’’, ‘‘acts as a friend’’, and ‘‘asks if I need help’’. Uncaring teacher examples include: ‘‘screams’’, ‘‘yells’’, ‘‘embarrasses’’, ‘‘insults’’, and ‘‘doesn’t try to help you’’ (Lapointe, Legault, &Batiste, 2005).
From several descriptions of the research above, the role of perceptions of teacher behaviour in students’ motivational beliefs play a significant role in average and talented young adolescents’ self-efficacy, intrinsic value, and test anxiety in learning mathematics. It is well documented that these motivational variables are important factors in student achievement.
Content of the curriculum to motivate students
Social-constructivist theory confirms the importance of community and interactive power on motivation, in which turn into effective teaching links in ways to promote involvement and delivery discussions, especially in ways that encourage active participation and equal. This means that the pedagogical approach also motivates students to be considered important from the perspective of responding to diverse student learning styles and preferences. The cases of various strategies motivate and engage students, for example, the use of assessment and feedback, including the provision of scaffold student choice and control in assessment practices on various topics, methods, and criteria. Behaviour provided student-centered approach which provokes a high level investigation and analysis, and approaches that stimulate students to use original content and imaginative learning activities.
There is a research using a six-item Likert-type scale that investigates the degree to which students like or dislike the school work and courses and task difficulty, and whether the subject-matter is interesting or boring (Khamis, Dukmak, &Elhoweris, 2008).They said that moderate positive correlations were found in curriculum content. The impact of curriculum content was evidenced on students’ motivation to learn. Students who reported that they like the subject-matter, school work course, and task were more likely to report higher level of motivation to learn toward student achievement.
By Ekasatya Aldila Afriansyah