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PhD Ceremony A.P. Prince: Motivation: how to tame the elephant in the classroom? A study aimed at understanding motivation and testing the effect of interventions on the motivation of students in pre-vocational education

When:Th 26-06-2014 16:00 - 17:00

Recent reports in the media have once again emphasized the lack of motivation to learn of Dutch students. Additionally, teachers are often pointed to as the ones responsible for making education motivating. Many teachers struggle with the question What can I do to motivate my students or keep them motivated?. This PhD-thesis offers answers to their questions. The researcher has tested two interventions, both being based on theoretical insights, amongst pre-vocational education teachers. The combination of teaching learning strategies with optimizing the teacher-student pedagogical relationship was shown to have a positive effect on the students' motivation. Moreover, when teachers instruct their students on how to plan and evaluate their school work, and additionally consult with their colleagues on how to adapt their teaching to the needs of individual students, the positive effect on the students’ motivation can still be observed after a long time.

The research further shows that making changes in education is not easy. A single teacher cannot effectuate longitudinal improvement on, for example, students' motivation. Furthermore, since in education influence on teachers is being exercised from multiple levels, it is important that before new, successful approaches are being introduced, wide support for the new approach is being created among the people involved. This study showed that long term positive effects on the students' motivation can be achieved when teachers work together to strive towards optimal pedagogical interaction with their students, and when the teachers are supported in their attempts by, for example, their school administrators.

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