Educational Psychologist Gets Grant to Study Student Motivation November 13, 2012

headshotDr. Erika Patall has received $400,000 from the William T. Grant Foundation to examine teaching practices that encourage and support students’ autonomy as they learn.

In addition to providing a better understanding of how specific teaching strategies support feelings of autonomy, motivate positive behavior and foster learning, the project also will yield suggested beneficial practices that teachers can employ.

The research will be conduced in Austin ISD high science classrooms. Prompted by email reminders, each participating student will use an Apple iPod Touch to report daily on their teachers’ practices, indicating whether or not those practices led the students to feel motivated and engaged in class. The reporting session will extend over the course of a six-week instructional unit.

In addition to receiving reports from students, Patall also will be videotaping the classrooms and trained observers will be coding data on a parallel set of teacher practices.

This is the second phase of an ongoing project and builds on a pilot study funded with $93,000 from the Grant Foundation.

Last updated on November 13, 2012