In addition to self-efficacy, teachers’ motivational behavior also affects students’
perception of positive expectations for achievement. Motivational behavior is comprised
of three dimensions: (a) the interpersonal relationship between the teacher and student,
(b) the structure of communication and instructional delivery, and (c) autonomy support
(You, Dang, & Lim, 2016). Additionally, the level of support provided by a child’s
teacher plays a significant role in students’ self-efficacy, motivation, and achievement
(Maulana, Opdenakker, & Bosker, 2014; Maulana, Opdenakker, Stroet, & Bosker, 2013).
Therefore, research has found that when a teacher offers positive reinforcement, praise,
and feedback, students adopt a more positive perception of the teacher, and in turn,
engagement and motivation are increased.
To further stimulate motivation in students and improve the quality of the tasks,
inclusion of students in the design process should be strongly considered. Assignments
created without considering the interests, needs, and preference of students can lead to
boredom or possible frustration (Carr, 2013). When the teacher takes the time to listen to
students’ perceptions of homework, identify the attributes of motivation, and
acknowledge the preference of environment, homework can be designed with greater
intention on meeting the needs of the student, possibly resulting in increased motivation
and achievement. As a result, when students are motivated, the chances of raising student
achievement are greater. To date, no researcher has studied elementary students’
motivation toward homework.
Mathematical curiosity. Academic persistence enables students to engage in
academic tasks even when facing challenges and is associated with mastery of skills and
content areas (Véronneau, Racer, Fosco, & Dishion, 2014). Véronneau et al. (2014)
surveyed two cohorts of 997 adolescents and concluded that mathematical curiosity and
effortful control were directly associated with educational attainment. These results
support the idea that the more attention given to fostering and supporting students’
mathematical curiosity, the greater student motivation and content retention.
Butler-Barnes, Varner, Williams, and Sellers (2017) also conducted a longitudinal
study of 262 adolescent participants on academic persistence. Their findings indicated
academic curiosity was positively associated with academic persistence and that high
academic curiosity may indicate intrinsic motivation to learning. Given the longitudinal
nature of this relationship, Butler-Barnes et al. suggested early fostering of academic
curiosity and intrinsic motivation for learning may be important for fostering stable
academic persistence over time.
Further studies have shown that academic curiosity and engagement are
associated with academic persistence as well as other academic outcomes (Renaud-Dubé,
Guay, Talbot, Taylor, ; Koestner, 2015; Vallerand ; Bissonnette, 1992). Te Wang and
Holcombe (2010) also implied that adolescents who believe in the importance of doing
well in school demonstrate higher engagement and achievement, and connect this to
future success. Therefore, academic curiosity and persistence may be related across time
because high academic curiosity may indicate intrinsic motivation to learn.
Individual learning needs. Students’ ability levels in public schools vary
considerably according to their ability, cultural background, previous experiences, and
learning style (Hepworth, 2014). As a result, teachers are responsible for providing the
necessary support to meet the individual learning needs of students, which includes the
implementation of appropriate design and effective strategies for all learners. Carr (2013)
further supported this by saying while homework is valuable tool, teachers must
understand the challenges students faced by students who are below grade level.
Therefore, teachers should be cognizant of students’ preferred learning styles in order to
make homework assignments more purposeful for the learner (Carr, 2013).
Differentiation is an essential component of teaching and learning. Tomlinson and
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