Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


This qualitative study stems from the quest to discover how to stimulate and increase student motivation and focuses on collaborative action research between a Language Arts teacher and a Masters in Education student. Student motivation is complex due to various factors that drive students' behavior (Ames, 1990). This study focuses specifically on mastery and performance goal orientation which guide behavior (Durik & Harackiewicz, 2003) and how they relate to extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic systems can create a decline of focus on the actual process of learning and places more attention on products, such as, grades (Reeve, 1996); while intrinsic motivation, focuses primarily on performing a task because it is rewarding within itself not because of a reward to be earned as a consequence (Whang & Hancock, 1994). This study was based on an eight-week collaborative case study. Data was collect through interviews with the teacher, classroom observations, and bi-weekly briefing and debriefings. The results of this studied indicated that this collaborative was an effective process for this teacher to reflect on his philosophies and how his students responded to his practices. Three major areas of impact were identified: Changes to how the teacher identified student motivation, changes to his curriculum development, and changes to how he grouped his students. The teacher's philosophies and expectations supported the use of intrinsic motivational techniques to learn and a mastery goal orientation. His practices and strategies correlated with his classroom goals and expectations of students and supported long-term student motivation for academic success.


Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department