top of page

Motivation Module 3:

Instructor Motivation Characteristics


Background Information

Goal-oriented behavior is a key ingredient of motivation and are an integral component of characteristics that represent instructor motivation. These instructor characteristics are listed next

  1. They are purposeful and intentional.

  2. They have a ready answer to questions like “What do you think is the next step for you, professionally speaking?” and “What goals do you have for your role here?”

  3. They tend to be competitive and are willing to work hard for the “win.”

  4. They constantly review theirgoals to remind themselfof what theywant to achieve and what theyneed to do in order to get there.

  5. They demonstrate goal-oriented skills that indicate theycan effectively manage their workload, complete tasks and meet deadlines in the workplace.

  6. They set targets and objectives and meet deadlines that are appropriate. Goals that are too long-term or offer no method of measuring progress may influence behavior negatively, encouraging people to put off their work until a later date.


Gorham & Millette (1997) found differences among teachers in perceptions of their ability to influence motivation, with those who were more optimistic about motivation in their classrooms perceiving a more significant influence on both motivation and demotivation of students. Aji, Martono & Fakhruddin (2019) reported that several factors, including teacher commitment, professional competence, and motivation, influence teacher performance. The higher a teacher's commitment, professional competence, and motivation, the better their performance. 


Kocabas (2022) found that teachers are motivated mainly by the following factors: a sense of safety in school, pupil achievement, the levels of attraction to the teaching profession, levels of self-reliance, their perception of their status in society, the sense of self-fulfillment, a positive atmosphere in school, positive relationships amongst teachers, an appreciation of their achievements and values, effective administration and management, and a sense of security on matters such as health and security, sickness and retirement arrangements. On the other hand, teachers identified a competitive climate amongst teachers negatively affected teachers' motivation levels.



Challenge without Overwhelming:

An activity must be challenging at a level just above one’s current abilities. If a challenge is too hard, students will become anxious and give up; if it’s too easy, they’ll become bored. It’s crucial to find the sweet spot. Students may require a lesson to be scaffolded, breaking it down into manageable pieces, to find the right balance.

Make Assignments Relevant to Students’ Lives:

Encourage students to discover the relevance for themselves as interest in the subject is a fundamental part of flow

Support Autonomy and Encourage Choice:

When students are given an opportunity to choose their activities and work with autonomy, they will engage more with the task.

Set clear goals and give feedback along the way:

Students develop a sense of ownership regarding a challenge when they help define the assignment goal and understand how their efforts are assisting in reaching it.

Foster positive relationships by valuing their inputs: 

Teachers can assist in fostering positive relationships with their students by valuing their input.

Allow for time and limit distractions: 

Build in time in assignments that allow students time to incubate ideas and engage in flow.

Be hands-on and real-world!

Create experiences that are hands-on and engage the students and their intrinsic motivation. Engage students in identifying the “real problem” and problem-solving solutions.

Model enthusiasm for the topic and their work:

Be the Idea Agent and the cheerleader for your students in their project-based work. Encourage and praise, and acknowledge attempts and collaboration. Set the stage, provide the resources they need - and then get out of the way and let them at it!



Use the Likert-type scale: Not at All, Slightly, Somewhat, Quite, Extremely for each statement related to Instructor Motivation Characteristics below to record your confidence level for each of the following statements. Use the results as a self-reflection to identify strengths and areas to be investigated.

Instructor Motivation Characteristics Self-Assessment

  1. How confident are you that you can engage students who typically are not motivated?

  2. How confident are you that you can help your school's most challenging students to learn?

  3. Thinking about motivating your students, how confident are you that you can support your students' growth?

  4. If your students have a problem while working towards an important goal, how well do you motivate them to keep working?

  5. How often are your students motivated stay focused on the same goal for several months at a time?

  6. When working on a project that matters a lot to you, how focused can you stay when there are lots of distractions?

  7. If your students fail to reach an important goal, how likely are they motivated to try again?

  8. At your school, how valuable are the available professional development opportunities dealing with motivation?

  9. How helpful are your colleagues' ideas for improving your motivation?

  10. How often do your professional development opportunities help you explore new ideas regarding motivation?

  11. On most days, how motivated are the students about being at school?

  12. To what extent are teachers trusted to teach in the way they think is best?

  13. How positive are the attitudes of your colleagues?

  14. How supportive are students in their interactions with each other?

  15. How confident are you that you can help your school's most challenging students to learn?

  16. When one of your teaching strategies fails to work for a group of students, how easily can you think of another approach to try?

  17. that you could have a productive conversation with this parent?

  18. How effective do you think you are at managing particularly disruptive classes?

  19. How confident are you that you can engage students who typically are not motivated?

  20. How clearly can you explain the most complicated content to your students?

  21. How confident are you that you can meet the learning needs of your most advanced students?


Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. (2015). Social-emotional learning: User guide.

Complete the Teacher Version of the Reisman Diagnostic Motivation Assessment – Teachers (RDMA-T)  INSERT LINK HERE

bottom of page