Students’ Perceptions of Teacher Behaviors As Motivating and Demotivating Factors in College Classes

  • Gorham J
  • Christophel D
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This study coded and categorized 2404 motivators and demotivators freely listed by 308 college students prior to and following their being prompted to consider teacher behaviors as contributing to motivation level. Twenty categories of motivators and 20 categories of demotivators emerged; four of each reflected context factors, six of each structure/format factors, and ten of each teacher behavior factors. While teacher behaviors accounted for approximately 44% of both motivators and demotivators, negative teacher behaviors were perceived as more central to students' demotivation (i.e., were listed without prompting) than positive teacher behaviors were perceived as central to motivation. Structure/format factors were more frequently mentioned as demotivators and context factors, such as desire to know the material, grade or credit motivation, and personal desire for accomplishment, as motivators. It was concluded that motivation is perceived by students as a student-owned state, while lack of motivation is perceived as a teacher-owned problem.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Motivation
  • context
  • demotivators
  • structure
  • teacher behaviors

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  • Joan Gorham

  • Diane M. Christophel

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