Promoting student motivation and engagement... throughout the term




Parent, Séverine

Every teacher would like to see their students motivated to learn! Usually, everything goes well at the beginning of the term, when college students seem to display motivated behaviour. But what happens to this motivation a few weeks after the start of classes, during mid-term and at the end of the term? Why do some students persevere, while others lose their motivation? The concept of engagement can provide several answers to these questions. Engagement could have an attribute that motivation does not have: active participation. While motivation is "the force that pushes the learner to take the first step towards action, [...] engagement is the one that propels, leads the student to the second step and the one after." Motivation would therefore act on the level of potential, and engagement on the level of behaviour. In other words, motivation could be compared to a picture of a student at a given moment, and engagement like the video of one's behaviours over time. The interest in addressing motivational dynamics under this light provides a more accurate perspective of the context, actions, and interactions that influence students' learning opportunities and learning efforts. In this article, the author introduces the thought processes that led her to focus on the value of engagement as an extension of motivation. The ideas presented here are drawn from a career leading up to the defense of a doctoral thesis. The concept will allow readers to target elements to enhance and stimulate student motivation and engagement throughout the school term.

Article available in French only.


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