Education is an important tool that can shape an individual and allow creativity, opportunity and growth. As a teacher, it is necessary to motivate students and help them recognize their strengths and weaknesses. Educators are important role models for students and have a big impact on helping shape, create, support and establish students’ strengths, goals and knowledge. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the effective qualities, skills and characteristics that one brings into a learning environment and how teacher influence plays a role.
What Makes an Effective Teacher?
According to research teacher preparation and knowledge of teaching and learning, experience, subject matter knowledge and certification all establish teacher effectiveness. Teacher preparation is important to their effectiveness in a classroom. Good quality teacher preparation is important to student academic achievement. Prepared graduates have a higher likelihood of remaining teachers and providing quality service to their students and to the schools they work in which creates a positive teacher influence overall.
What is Teacher-Efficacy?
Teacher-efficacy is a teacher’s confidence in their ability to help students to learn. Research shows that teacher-efficacy has an effect on his or her students’ academic performance. It is important that teachers believe in themselves and in their abilities as a role model and educator, because it plays an important role on their student’s self-perception and performance. It also helps a teacher influence and communicate more effectively with students as well as with the overall perception of their student’s strengths and weaknesses. Teachers with self-efficacy have a positive impact on their students’ academic performance. It is something that all teachers need to build, because it is believed to have an important role on students’ academic performance.
“Do teachers’ expectations of his or her students have an impact on students’ academic performance?”
Student learning can be positively impacted by the encouragement of teachers to their students. A teacher’s influence, ideas and expectations of his or her students’ capabilities have an effect on student academic performance and achievements. If teachers believe in their students, their students begin to believe in themselves. Students take into effect the beliefs their teachers have on them and accept it as part of who they are and their abilities. When students are viewed in a negative way by their teachers such as, being lazy, unmotivated and having no abilities, they take on those beliefs about themselves. Many teachers may not be aware of their actions towards particular students in the classroom but their students become aware of them. According to research finding, teachers’ beliefs translate into differential behavior toward their students. For example, teachers who see particular students as highly motivated and highly capable would often make eye contact, smile and lean toward them, and praise and call on them more frequently.
“Does teacher motivation affect student performance?”
Motivation in infants and young children is very high. Infants and young children have a big interest in their surroundings and environment. Unfortunately, as young children get older, they become less interested and enthusiastic about their surrounding and environment. Learning about their environment seems like an unwanted task and desire.
Student motivation is the desire and interest that a student has to be involved in their learning environment. There are reasons that affect student motivation. For example, an intrinsically motivated student looks at the learning activity as an enjoyable process and gets great satisfaction through the process of learning. A student who is extrinsically motivated looks at the learning activity as something they have to do so that they can get a reward or not be punished.
It is also believed that motivation to learn is determined or affected by modeled behavior and communication of parents and teachers. Children develop an idea about learning in their home setting. Children are given a particular message from their homes based on their parents’ encouragement of exploring their world compared to children who are given the encouragement to explore the world around them. Therefore, children without an encouraging and supportive home setting are less likely to deal with and handle failure, because of their feelings about no self-worth or competence.
Older children have a harder time accepting failure and seeing the positive side of trying to accomplish a goal, whereas, younger children see failure as a positive step to finishing or reaching a goal. Teachers’ influence and expectations of students also play a big role in motivation of student. The rules and goals also play an important role on the thoughts and beliefs of the students. It is important for teachers to view themselves as being able to stimulate student motivation to learn.
Tasks given to students can help increase motivation by being challenging and achievable, and showing students that the skills involved in a task can be used in the real world. Verbally providing the reasons for the tasks to students is also helpful. According to research there is a process called Attribution Retraining that includes modeling, socialization and practice exercises and is sometimes used with discouraged students. Attribution retraining provides students with focus on a task rather than the fear of failure.
Karen Oquendo, M.S. is the Learning Specialist at St. James Episcopal School in Los Angeles. Karen is a Credentialed Special Education Teacher and Reading Specialist. Prior to working at St. James, Karen worked as a Reading Specialist at PRIDE Learning Centers and also as a Special Education Therapist for New York City Department of Education. You can visit the PRIDE Learning Center website at www.pridelearningcenter.com.