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Motivating students to become self-regulated learners

5 June 1997


The purpose of this qualitative study was to answer a main research question, How does a seventh-grade teacher motivate some students to become self-regulated learners? My research addresses this question through four sub-questions:

• How does a teacher's modification of curriculum to student's learning level foster personal responsibility?

• What instructional approaches does a teacher use to effect student engagement in class?

• Does employment of organizational strategies influence student responsibility?

• How does a teacher's clarity of expectations effect student responsibility? My research was based on my observational findings, student data, interviews, and numerous discoveries from the literature I studied.

This study took place at Long Island Junior High located in a small suburb in the Pacific Northwest. The participants were seventh-grade students in Mrs. Brown's language arts/social studies block period. Through a variety of observations, taped interviews, and written surveys to information was acquired from Mrs. Brown's language arts/social studies blocks. In order to protect the participants' rights to privacy and anonymity I have provided pseudonyms for all participants as well as the location in this study.

After initially observing the classroom, teaching patterns arose that Mrs. Brown had implemented in her classroom which I found to be beneficial in her students becoming. self-regulated learners. My research of the sub-questions suggested that each of the strategies Mrs. Brown employs in her classroom are beneficial to the students. Modifying the curriculum to accommodate: poor test takers, higher and lower ability students, and including affective additions to the curriculum enhances student motivation to strive. When a teacher poses higher-order questions to students, provides discussions and activities for them that require them to think critically about the material and problem solve, the students respond with interest. I found that by providing students with organizational skills for their materials as well as for their thinking their chances of success are enhanced. Lastly, high expectations from the teacher that are communicated clearly are also an essential component of motivating students to become prevailing students.


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