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Motivating Factors in Promoting Maximum Learning

Educationally, motivation means providing with motive, that is stimulating the “will to learn.” Motivation connotes anything that impels or moves the pupil/student to activity. The term means the purposeful presentation to the pupil of adequate motives together with the necessary guidance and direction in order that the child may evaluate and appreciate worthwhile activities. It is a process of including motives which will energize learning and behavior. It involves the stimulation of pupils/students to apply themselves willingly to the tasks of the classroom by making school tasks meaningful and purposeful.

According to William Kelly, there are three basic factors involved in motivation: the pupil/student, the teacher’s personality and the techniques and devices which the teacher makes use of in order to stimulate, guide and direct the “will to learn.” Of the three, I consider the teacher’s personality as the greatest factor in stimulating pupils/students to learn. But what qualities in the teacher’s personality decisively affect the successful motivation of pupils/students?

I personally agree with Apolinar Matias when he said that the following are considered significant in stimulating the pupil/student’s will to learn:

  1. Enthusiasm and optimism
  2. Interest in and sympathy for pupils/students
  3. Personal habits
  4. Sincerity and integrity
  5. Leadership

Let me share with you his ideas.

Enthusiasm and Optimism

A teacher is said to be enthusiastic and optimistic if he shows interest in work, and displays such qualities as alertness, humor, cheerfulness and affability. These qualities of the teacher play an important role in producing desirable emotional responses in pupils/students. Enthusiasm is contagious and so with cheerfulness and humor. On the other hand, excitability and nervousness have negative effects upon pupil/student learning. Thus one complaint common among pupils/students is the attitude of the teacher. As a group of students once said, “Our teacher is very good. She knows her subject matter very well. But she is so critical and so sarcastic that the moment we enter her class, we become so nervous that we forget everything that we learned the night before.”

Interest and Sympathy

The teacher must sense the problems of the pupils/students if she is to have a sympathetic understanding and interest in them, not just in the subject she teaches. Pupils/students respond to sympathetic treatment of their problems. A student has been understood and blamed for lack of interest or attention to her work when as a matter of fact, her experiences have been such that no normal child would be in a frame of mind to work. Children come to school with their own problems which appear to their young, immature minds as serious and of great magnitude.

Personal Habits

“Example speaks louder than words.” From example, pupils/students form ideals, and ideals are strong motive power. The teacher’s personal habits and characteristics play an important role in gaining the respect, confidence and admiration of pupils/students. The teacher’s examples of promptness, industry, accuracy, self-control and poise play an important role in helping pupils/students form valuable ideals of responsibility and self-control.

Sincerity and Integrity

Pupils/students may condone weakness in personal habits, but they despise insincerity and lack of integrity. Everybody despises a make-believe person. Sincerity implies such qualities as honesty, loyalty, courage, and impartiality, and the pupils/students admire these qualities. Teachers should realize that students are the keenest judges of a teacher’s sincerity. Pupils/students measure their teachers in terms of their behavior from day to day. And the surest way to the hearts of students is sincerity.


The success of a teacher in motivating will depend upon his ability to adapt his leadership to the teacher-learning situation. Under some circumstances, the teacher should take positive leadership and show the students/pupils what is to be done and how it is to be done.

But a teacher cannot take positive energetic leadership unless she has adequate preparation in subject matter. Nothing is more demoralizing to student learning than for a teacher to come to class unprepared in and out. And the students know when their teachers are not prepared. They know and they talk.

Doing a lot of story-telling, giving a biographical sketch with herself and members of her family as the principal characters, telling what a campus personality or genius she was as a student, telling about the men who courted her and whom she rejected but who still carry the torch for her, relating about her sojourn abroad as a scholar (when perhaps she had never left home) or perhaps talking of how wonderful her husband is and what adorable children she has and giving graded recitations with an open book just to grope for the correct answer.. are some of the signs and devices of an unprepared teacher.


Wilson Balungay
DepED, Banaue District

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