Motivation and styles of learning.

Essay by misshellkittyA-, June 2003

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Motivation and styles of learning have been proven to affect success in school.

However, each individual brings her or his own strengths, weaknesses, preferences, gender and learning style to the classroom. In this light, this essay will discuss the many factors that influence motivation and accommodate different learning styles.

A co-operative learning strategy can be used to emphasise co-operation rather than competition in learning. This strategy involves joint participation by all members of a group in achieving a learning goal where each member contributes to the learning process (Santrock, 1998). In recent years studies have found that co-operative learning is associated with enhanced student outcomes, including increase in self-esteem, better academic performance, friendships among classmates and improved interethnic perceptions (Santrock, 1998). Another technique, the "Jigsaw Classroom," has also been successful in changing the setting of classrooms, without changing curriculum, from unequal competition to co-operation among equals. This technique accomplishes this goal by breaking students up into five groups consisting of six students each, where each group is as equal as possible in ethnic composition and achievement level.

Parts of a lesson are given to each member of the group wherein each group member puts the pieces of the lesson together. Next, the individual studies his/her own part alone. After returning to the group, each member teaches his/her part to the group. Lastly, everybody is tested and scored individually at a later time.

In addition to co-operative learning techniques, other factors can influence the life of the adolescent student. The leading cause of dropouts is linked to school-related, economic, family-related, peer-related and personal reasons. Studies have shown that high school dropout rates are associated with low-income families, male (unless the female is pregnant), ethnic minorities and urban environments. In addition, high school dropouts have more disciplinary problems, lower rates...