Skip to main content

Factors Affecting Student Motivation

Joyette taught English & Literature at high school for many years. Her writing and education articles come from her classroom experience.

A Pleasant Teacher is a Source of Motivation


Motivation Can Come from Within or Without

Human beings can be motivated by the strangest things, but basically motivation can either be intrinsic or extrinsic.

For those of us who are lucky, we find our motivation from within; we call it our drive. From early on we are able to set goals for our lives and chart the course of our destiny. Without sound financial backing it may appear extremely daunting to achieve our goals, however, the inner drive is what enables us to be proactive, to persevere and achieve despite the odds.

Student Motivation

One of the places where motivation is manifested earliest is the classroom. There you will find different types of students all motivated by different combinations of factors. Some draw on the intrinsic- their inner strength and determination - and remain focused even in what appears to be really adverse situations. Others rely heavily on extrinsic factors and if those are not favorable, they become demotivated and easily lose focus.

Students bring to the classroom varying types of extrinsic motivation such as a nurturing home environment or rewards promised by parents and relatives. However, they also depend, to a large extent, on school factors such as school and classroom environment, teacher personality, skill and ability of teacher, rewards and commendations, and relationship with peers, for motivation not only to succeed, but to excel.

Factors Affecting Student Motivation

Student motivation may be dependent on varied factors. For e.g:

1. Home Environment

A child who comes from a home environment which is caring, comfortable and supportive brings to the classroom, motivation arising from his conducive home environment.On the other side of the coin, an unfavourable home environment produces a pupil who arrives at school perhaps hungry, angry, resentful, bitter, depressed, lethargic or just simply stressed out. Such a student would require really strong school motivation to prod him out of his malaise and cause him to perform.

2. School Environment

A pleasant school environment (tidy/attractive surroundings, caring teachers, agreeable students) is in itself conducive to learning and excellent student output. Additionally, a positive class environment will further reinforce student motivation causing students to achieve at even higher levels or creating motivation where there was none from the home.

3. The School System

The school system itself can influence students either to excel or to rebel. A school which offers a comprehensive program and has the reputation of being disciplined, fair and student friendly will very likely attract high student enrollment, produce high academic performance and turn out well rounded students as motivation will be high. The converse is true; a school system which is extremely regimented and whose program is limited can impact negatively on students.Likewise, a school which is too lax will eventually have discipline problems and lose reputation. Nobody wants to be associated with a school whose reputation is poor, thus students who attend such schools feel that nothing good is expected of them and so they are not motivated to do well.

Good Student / Teacher Relationship


Impacts of Different Types of Motivation

1. Intrinsic Motivation

The most powerful motivation is intrinsic motivation for no matter how favorable external factors are, unless a student has set goals that he is determined to achieve, he can easily be side tracked by factors such as peer pressure, complacency or simply his own indecisiveness.

2. Extrinsic Motivation

  • Home Environment -Take, for example, the first scenario in No. 1 above. The child is already comfortable at home and perhaps at school as well. He can take either of two routes: He may easily become complacent and tell himself that all is well at home and as such, there is no need to work hard. Here, it is the intrinsic motivation otherwise called self motivation which is needed to push this student to take the better route which would be to apply himself in order to become a success story like his father, brother or someone else whom he has adopted as role model and to bring gratification to those who have made the way easy for him.
  • Take the second scenario where the child comes from a less than favourable home environment. This student also has two options: i) He may, from sheer determination to access a better life in the future, push himself relentlessly to achieve success. ii) Conversely, he may succumb, as many do, and let his adverse circumstances dictate his future. Indeed, the unfavourable home environment is probably a stronger motivator for personal success than the favourable home environment. Students from the former, however , rely more heavily on school factors for motivation than those from the latter
  • Peer Motivation - Peers are also a great source of motivation for one another. Lifelong friendships are formed at school and peers have been known to stand up for one another sometimes even more than siblings. They assist one another with school work and also become mentors to one another in their personal lives. Very often one finds that the students who work in groups, sharing their knowledge and skills, obtain better results than those who work alone.
  • Teacher Motivation - Among extrinsic factors the teacher is probably the single, most powerful source of motivation for pupils. The personality, skill, attitude, sex, age and even the attire of the teacher are all very important factors in determining whether students perform or not. Teachers must be conscious of the powerful impact that they can have on their students and make every effort to ensure that they impact positively rather than negatively on the young minds entrusted to their care. Teachers are mentors, life shapers, destiny shapers and they must be prepared to undertake the task which has been put into their hands. Students are motivated by teachers who show that they are concerned about their well being, that they have answers to life’s questions , that they can rise to challenges, that they can be mothers, fathers and friends.

What Drives You?


Generally students are motivated to do well when conditions at home and at school are favorable. In extreme situations one may find children who have everything going for them getting distracted and choosing the wrong path in life. Alternatively, one may find students who appear to have very little motivation at home buckling their belts and setting their own course for success. Motivation can come from any number of sources, but wherever it comes from it is that force which impels the student to move forward to achieve - nay to excel.

Education - Learning Hubs

  • Group Work - An Effective Learning Method
    Group work is a form of collaborative learning which requires members to work closely as a team. Essentially, it is a pooling of knowledge, skills and expertise to produce desired results.
  • Being a Teacher - The Human Dimension
    Children must be nurtured into becoming productive world citizens. If as teachers we do not possess attributes such as compassion and love we do injustice to the children whom we are mandated to mold
  • The Value of Competition in the Classroom
    Competition allows students to exploit their real capabilities and maximize their true potential. It is most productive when it occurs among students of similar abilities.
  • Streaming in Schools: Benefits of Grouping Students ...
    Streaming refers to the grouping of students by ability. The objective is to allow like students to move ahead at a pace which matches their abilities. I am a strong advocate for streaming.
  • Adult Education in a Changing World
    Adult education offers adult learners the opportunity to experience personal and professional development, to enhance their marketability and to participate meaningfully in all aspects of life.

© 2011 Joyette Helen Fabien


Joyette Fabien on July 22, 2020:

Thank you for reading, Bambe. All the best in your writing.

Bambe from Philippines on July 22, 2020:

This is a very informative article for teachers and students.

Korir Sammy on August 20, 2015:

it is simply that Joyette

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on November 26, 2014:

Thanks for your thoughts on the matter motv

Ivan Lima from U.S on November 25, 2014:

Wouldn't it just be better if homes taught their children to be motivated. Based on this great article, the need to be motivated is not even explicit, it is a matter of being kind and love each other as much as we can. The same applies to schools. parents should do some type of research before enrolling their kids. the college programs for teaching, specially the earlier grades should focus a little more on the responsibility that a teacher will carry on kid's life forever. Great article, thanks!

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on October 20, 2014:

Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts on the matter, HSchneider.

Howard Schneider from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 14, 2014:

Wonderful Hub, Joyette. I totally agree. Motivation is crucial to the learning speed and the extent of learning for any student or person. My 5th grade teacher motivated us with real lie scenarios and I learned the most from him and had the most fun.

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on June 06, 2012:

Thank you Kathryn. I certainly will!

Kathryn L Hill from LA on June 05, 2012:

I hope you will visit my hubs. I am happy to follow you.

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on June 05, 2012:

Indeed! These days interests have grown in number and have become more diverse. We won't reach these modern kids with the old fashioned curriculum which has little to hold their interest. I believe that every child has the potential to do well if given the opportunity to do something which sparks his/her interest in a conducive learning environment.

Kathryn L Hill from LA on June 04, 2012:

Thank you! Also They may be more inclined to learn through intrinsic motivation more than in the past. I actually think that evolution is pushing us that way. That's why I think we need to establish a new direction in education... going inward. What interests a child? We really need to find out!

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on June 04, 2012:

Kathryn, thanks for reading. I agree with you. Today, education has to be made more relevant to world demands. Too many educational institutions are still clinging to old and overused methods and programs. There is a need for changes in focus to cater to the new and varied needs of the modern child.

Kathryn L Hill from LA on June 03, 2012:

Hi. I enjoyed your hub. We must help the kids who are slipping through the cracks. How? Create an environment for them where they learn skills for surviving in this world. Kids are discovering grades are not that important when it really comes down to NOW. Sitting at desks and doing what the teacher expects them to do is just not fun for some.

what is fun? Meeting challenges that teach relevant skills for survival in today's world. What skills? How about marketing, programming, drawing, animating, sound editing, printing and business math as opposed to algebra. Also how about mixing it up: Teach art along with science, science along with history... We have to get with it. The kids can be introduced to the joy of learning and living.

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on June 03, 2012:

Oh dear,thanks Gloria. You are going to make me cry!

Gloria McLawrence from St. Maarten on June 03, 2012:

You have been a wonderful teaher, motivator, friend to so many of us. Even after so many years it is still with great pride we look back and think about those who've impacted us and there you are topping the list. Again many thanks.

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on February 15, 2012:

Certainly, hinazille. I agree with you there.

CONSCIOUSNINJA from Planet Earth on February 14, 2012:

i think the relationship between the student and the teacher is where it either 'makes or breaks' the case... most children with not so great backgrounds (little academic support, nutrition, intellectual stimulation, etc.) can still do well if the teacher can keep them stimulated and keep the information relevant...

i have no doubt you are achieving that with your students :)

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on June 03, 2011:

Thanks again. I have seen the benefits of motivation in my years as a teacher

sankari.nayagam on June 03, 2011:

A really motivating hub! Yes Students should grow up in a motivating environment to be successful!!

Joyette Helen Fabien (author) from Dominica on June 03, 2011:

Thank you SharkFuel, I appreciate your support!

SharkFuel on June 03, 2011:

Great list of factors, which have a positive impact on motivation of students. Motivation is extremely important for achieving success. Great hub, thanks!

Related Articles