Poor Learning Outcomes: A Motivational Issue

Learning outcomes should be regarded as not only an achievement issue but also a motivational issue. Teachers have a serious role in the students’ negative feelings towards schooling. According to Guskey (2000), low grades more often cause students to withdraw from learning. He added that teachers consider grades or reporting forms as their “weapon of last resort.” In their view, students who do not comply with their requests must suffer the consequences of the greatest punishment a teacher can bestow: a failing grade. Such practices have no educational value and, in the long run, adversely affect students, teachers, and the relationship they share.

Some teachers give a low or failing grade in the hope that it will prompt greater effort in the future. However, this action more often has been reported that students perceive school staff as uncaring, not interested in students as individuals, and not helpful. For primarily, a teacher’s job is to nurture and guide a student to succeed, similar to a parental figure might do.

When the school failed to motivate the students to be engaged in class work, the students feel like the school is not helping them; they begin to get aggravated. If these students are upset, then they will think negatively about how well they are doing in school and how well they will be able to do in the future (Hardre and Reeve, 2003). This is supported by Yazzie-Mintz (2007) when he reported that a student is bored in class due to “no interaction with the teacher.” He adds that the students who skip school are more likely to consider dropping out and that schools have to reconsider how they handle discipline for students who skip. Acevedo (2008) also mentions in her article that many students are discouraged from studying because of the conditions of schools.

For decades, educational leaders worldwide are blaming the teachers for the poor learning outcomes. They feel like the teachers are not really doing their job and this is one of the important reasons for their hesitation to give the social status we deserve. If we, teachers, eliminate the association of students’ failure with the negative attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of teachers and other school personnel, then we can confidently declare that we are not to blame as the main reason for the declining learning outcomes. This will surely give the leaders the reason to look closely at the other factors, e.g., curriculum implementation, government support, and the general public’s view of our status.


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