chapter  3
21 Pages

Intrinsic Motivation to Learn

Encouraging Parents to Let Students Take the Driver’s Seat
WithAlyssa R. Gonzalez-DeHass

This chapter offers targeted coverage on research uncovering a link between parent involvement and students’ intrinsic motivation for their academic learning. Autonomy-supportive parenting practices are associated with students’ task-oriented persistence, autonomous self-regulation, and academic achievement. Ultimately, parent involvement that is autonomy-supportive can have important benefits for students’ motivational resources, development of helpful learning skills, and internalization of important educational values. In contrast, research highlights the negative impact of parent involvement practices that are perceived as excessively controlling. Overall, this part of the book is designed to assist educators in finding realistic and research-based strategies to help parents encourage their child’s intrinsic motivation and independent learning. Parent involvement strategies discussed include offering homework activities that spark discovery and active exploration and allow for student choice and autonomy in problem-solving. We might also ask parents to offer consistent structure and scaffolding for students’ learning, with projects and assignments that are of realistic challenge given students’ readiness. Finally, we might also use language in our communications that encourages parents to minimize the use of external rewards and instead focus on the process of learning itself.