Other Ways to Support
Students' Intrinsic Motivation
Chapter 7 reviewed Deci and Ryan's self-determination theory and presented ideas for supporting students' intrinsic motivation by meeting their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. This chapter presents ideas about supporting students' intrinsic motivation that are derived from other sources, most notably theory and research about interest and curiosity and teachers' suggestions based on their practical experience.
Research on student interest by Renninger and Hidi (2002) included developing a profile of a seventh-grader named Sam who did well in most subjects and had broad interests. When asked to describe the school subjects he liked best, he wrote:
I have several favorite subjects: reading, math, history, science, sports, woodshop, art, and music. What I like about reading is the fact that I can get a picture in my mind of a story without it being visual. I like math because I am pretty good at it and I like the challenge of tough math problems. I also like history because I like learning about what life was like in past years and we probably can learn some lessons from it. I like science because I like seeing how things work. I like sports because I like getting my energy out and I am pretty good at them. I like woodshop because I like building things. I like art because I like working with my hands and creating objects out of clay. I like music because I like playing all kinds of instruments and I like learning about the different kinds of music in the world. (p. 185)
Interest implies focused attention to a lesson, text passage, or learning activity that occurs because the learner values or has positive affective responses to its content or processes. Some authors treat interest as a form