EDU 6132- Attention and Motivation

Prompt: Describe factors influencing student motivation and attention. Elaborate on methods for improving motivation and increasing attention (you can write about a specific strategy, such as the “hook” or a strategy applicable throughout the lesson, such as integrating multi-sensory activities, or concept teaching).
Students’ microsystems will perhaps create the greatest influence on a student’s ability to self-motivate and pay attention in school.  When students’ basic needs, health, social, and emotional environments are not being met, it will be challenging to focus and motivate in school.  However, we have also learned, that students’ will be able to learn provided there is good engaging instruction despite outside influences that might not be supportive. Therefore, I will focus on what I am doing in the classroom to create a cultural climate that will keep their attention and create internal motivation.

I am extremely excited about creating learning environments that are enriching for my students’ and myself.  I will strive to create a culture within my room that is supportive, encouraging, and has high learning expectations that will foster positive self-efficacy while kicking learned helplessness out the door.  To do this I can create a task oriented culture that will create intrinsic motivation in all of my students resulting in them putting forth their best efforts.  In Pressley and McCormick (2007), “cooperative social situation exists when the goals of the separate individuals are linked together so that an individual can obtain his or her goal only if the other participants can achieve their goals” (p 275).  Teamwork!  An excellent way to do this is to utilize Jigsaw strategies in teaching.  Jigsaw technique allows students to break into teams, learn material, and then regroup and share the material they have learned with each other.  This will also foster an environment in which the students feel like they have control over the learning process while engaging with each other socially over classroom content. It will be extremely important to ensure the lesson goals are being met for the students while also being open to students’ interest potentially taking a lesson in another direction.

Medina (2008) mentions interest and a short ten minute attention span as being key points that are necessary in order to maintain attention.  Being aware of this, it will be necessary to know my students interests. This is why it is necessary to utilize the HOPE standard P2 – Practice differentiated instruction- when planning lessons.  There will be different interest in the classroom and although it may be impossible to cater to all these diverse interests simultaneously, the differing interests should be used on a revolving basis.  For example, in trying to relate the learning goals of a lesson I like to try and create situations that students’ can relate to.  I could use sporting analogies,video game analogies, or other interst depending on the student.  If I am assisting an individual student I will choose the interest that best relates to them.  There will be times when I will be addressing the whole class.  For these situations, it will be worthwhile to relate the material to students’ interest in a rotating fashion.  I could also try and switch to students’ different interest to regain attention at the ten minute mark.  This will not only grab their attention, it will also create an environment in which all students’ interest are encouraged, highlighted, and supported.  The result will be an increase in students’ self-efficacy, sense of belonging, and an increased interest in learning in school.

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.


Pressley, M. & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New

York, NY: Guilford Press.