The influence of teacher practice on calculus students' motivation

Date

2009-05

Authors

Skjelstad, Erin Elizabeth

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Abstract

This quantitative study investigated two correlations among Calculus II students perceptions of their instructors teaching styles. The first was between student motivation and instructor immediacy behaviors and teaching styles. The second correlation was between student effort attributions and instructor immediacy behaviors and teaching styles. Instructor immediacy behaviors include nonverbal and verbal; teaching styles include instructor affect�how positive the teacher appears to be with the class and mathematics assigned group work and application problems. Students in a large Southwestern research university were surveyed at the start and end of a semester. A significant positive correlation was found between student motivation and instructor behaviors and teaching styles. The three strongest correlations were between student motivation and teacher affect as well as verbal and nonverbal immediacy behaviors. In addition, there was not a significant correlation between student effort attributions and instructor behaviors and teaching styles. These results have implications for instructors teaching a Calculus II type class. Instructors may be advised to exhibit a more positive immediacy behavior as well as have a positive attitude towards the class and mathematics. Further studies may involve other subject levels of mathematics and within different types of institutions.

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Keywords

Calculus, Teachers

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