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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in motivation

Materialism certainly isn’t a new term or label. What is new, however, is the possible link between materialism and motivation, learning, and performance in schools. Dictionary.com defines materialism as “preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.” There have been songs by artists like Madonna, movies such as Clueless and Valley Girls, and countless reality TV shows speaking of and celebrating this thing we call materialism. Researchers gathered cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence from both the United Kingdom and Hong Kong on the subject of materialism and academic performance.

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“My teacher doesn’t even really care. Why should I?” This must be one of the oldest questions in the educational sphere. I know it’s one I’ve heard dozens of times as a student. In the classes where the teacher seemed to drone with seemingly little passion for the material, the students tended to follow suit—merely completing assignments for the grade and passing through the material without second thought. However, during the classes where the instructor taught with excitement and nearly palpable passion for the subject, the students seemed to “soak in” some of the teachers’ residual energy.

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Promoting the importance of academic integrity can be a difficult task, and often punishing cheating can seem like the only option. However, new research published in the Journal of Experimental Education suggests that the students who are most likely to cheat are those whose primary deterrent is the fear of punishment.

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Students of all ages are constantly pestering their teacher with the questions of, “Why do I have to learn this?” and whining while they say, “I’m never going to use this in real life!”  There has always been a questionable link between the relevancy of the material to a student and that student’s motivation to study and understand the material.  A team of researchers from James Madison University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison set out to test the motivation of undergraduate students when it comes to subjects that don’t pertain directly to their major. 

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