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Motivation Case Analyses

Category: Essay Writing

Guide for Motivation Case Analyses


Because theory is the foundation of practice, your understanding of the theoretical principles that underlie teaching practice is critical to your professional knowledge base. Reflective practitioners are able to transform the theoretical principles that underlie the teaching-learning process into meaningful concepts that guide and inform their teaching. Your text and supplementary readings will serve as the primary resource to facilitate your understanding of theoretical principles and, therefore, to support the construction of your continually evolving professional knowledge base.

There will be three major units of study for the course.

The first two will each cover three chapters in the textbook, the last one will cover culture chapter:

(1)  reinforcers, intrinsic/SDT, and physiology ( physiology might not matter)

(2)  expectancy-value, goal orientation, and, attribution

(3)  culture

In each unit you will examine your case through the lens of theory and research that will assist you in constructing meaning from the readings and personal/ practical/ professional experiences. You will be using theory and research to analyze your case. The purpose of these analyses is not to “cover” material, but rather to help you gain significant insight into your motivational case. Therefore, you should select one of the assigned theories (i.e. chapters) in each unit that you find most relevant and analyze your case in depth with that theory. You may use important concepts from the other two theories that you find relevant if you choose. However, it is preferable to become proficient in the motivation theories most relevant to your case rather than superficially covering scattered concepts.


According to the Oxford Dictionary, analysis means: “a detailed examination of elements or structure.” Synonyms include investigation, study, scrutiny, inquiry, interpretation, review. Notice the depth implied in these ideas. Choose the theory and concepts that are most relevant to your case and discuss that relevance by making specific connections as you analyze your case. The goal of this analysis is to display significant understanding of theory and research in understanding issues of motivation. Your analysis should answer the following question:


How are these concepts particularly relevant as I seek to understand the motivational issues involved in this case?


The analysis provides you with the opportunity to identify the motivational issues in your case that are informed by the theory and research we have read, and to generate theory- and research-based strategies to help you achieve the learning and motivation goals you have for your students. You will also be using theory and research to reflect on your beliefs about learning and motivation as they influence your teaching decisions.

For each unit, you will write a motivation case analysis that includes the four sections described below. Use each of these as subheadings for your paper:


  • Motivation Case Overview: The purpose of including your overview is to provide context for your analysis. In your first motivation case analysis, begin with your original motivation case overview with any changes you have made as a result of my initial feedback. In each subsequent case analysis, you should use the professional motivation vocabulary you have learned to revise your case overview. Here is an example:  Suppose in your original overview you made a general statement that your students aren’t motivated to learn. After analyzing your case through the lens of Bandura’s social cognitive theory you discovered that your learners lack self-efficacy for articulating their learning and therefore you decided to revise your learning goals to increase self-efficacy for communication skills. In the second motivation case analysis then, your overview should reflect these insights.
  • Analysis of Case Using Theory and Research: The purpose of this section is to analyze your case using theory and research from the current unit of study. As you begin analyzing your case, think about these questions: “What motivation theory am I using to analyze my case? What significant insights does this theory provide for better understanding the motivation of my learners? What are the theoretical concepts and/or research findings that provide these insights? Use the theory to illuminate any aspect of the case – the learners, the learning context, the learning and motivation goals you initially established, the evidence you use for learning and motivation of your learners, and/or strategies for better motivating your learners. This section should NOT be a paraphrase of what you have read in the book (i.e. “textbook talk”) but should rather demonstrate your understanding of how important theoretical principles and related research can be used as a foundation for making effective decisions of practice in the context of your project. You should cite sources of evidence you use to back up your claims. A careful analysis of the motivational issues should lend insight into possible strategies for improving the learning and motivation of your learners (to be described in the strategies section).


  • Proposed Revisions


The purpose of this section is to describe specific changes that you will consider to improve the learning and motivation of your students. These changes can involve any aspect of your case – the learning environment, the motivational goals you have set, new motivational strategies you could try, new evidence of your learners’ motivation, etc. This section should answer the following question: What changes and/or strategies can I consider using or further developing so that relevant theory and research are more accurately and thoroughly reflected in my case? You should cite sources of theoretically based changes you propose to use for improving the learning and motivation of your students.


  • Reflection on your Beliefs: The purpose of this section is to reveal, examine, and challenge your beliefs about learning and motivation as reflected in your case overview. In this section, you should respond to the following prompts:


“Before analyzing my case using this motivation theory, I used to believe that….”


(Complete this statement with a belief about learning and motivation as it is reflected in your case. This belief might be one of the beliefs that you initially included in your overview, or it might be a belief that you now realize you used to hold that has been revealed through your new learning)

“As a result of my new learning, I now know that…”


(Complete this statement with a belief about learning and motivation that you now hold as a result of your new learning and that can be supported with theory and research. Note that this might be a previously held belief that you can now support with our new learning. Or, it might be a modification of a previous belief. Or, it might be a brand new belief that you are now adopting as a result of your new learning)


“I know this because…”


(Provide supporting evidence from theory and research and cite your source in support of your belief).


The purpose of this portion of the analysis is to help you develop a set of beliefs about motivational teaching practices that you can articulate clearly and support with theory and research. Imagine that you are interviewing for a job in which you will be supporting the learning of a group of individuals. The interviewer asks you what you believe about learner motivation and your role in motivating them. This exercise should help you learn to articulate these beliefs.


Assessment of the Case Analyses: The motivation case analyses (or alternate third assignment) will collectively represent 50% of your final grade in this course. They will be evaluated using the Rubric for Motivation Case Analyses