+1 (208) 254-6996 essayswallet@gmail.com
  

Subject Categories Subject Categories Curriculum and Instruction | Education

Comments Comments Action Research Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Education

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Subject Categories Subject Categories Curriculum and Instruction | Education
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

This thesis is available at Digital Collections @ Dordt: https://digitalcollections.dordt.edu/med_theses/119

 

 

Authentic Learning Experiences:

Investigating How Teachers Can Lead Their Students to Intrinsic Motivation in Meaningful Work

By

Rhonda Van Donge

B.A. Dordt College, 1999

Action Research Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

Of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Education

Department of Education Dordt College

Sioux Center, Iowa May 2018

 

 

AUTHENTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCES !ii

Authentic Learning Experiences: Investigating How Teachers Can Lead Their Students to

Intrinsic Motivation in Meaningful Work

By

Rhonda Van Donge

Approved:

___________________________ Faculty Advisor

___________________________ Date

Approved:

___________________________ Director of Graduate Education

___________________________ Date

Pat Kornelis, Ed.D.

04/30/2018

Stephen Holtrop, Ph.D.

04/30/2018

 

 

AUTHENTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCES !iii

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Dr. Tim Van Soelen and Dr. Pat Kornelis for their encouragement

and guidance throughout this project. They were instrumental in helping me clarify my purpose,

research, and writing. I also need to thank Mr. Nathan Ryder for his patience in helping me with

my statistical analysis of my data. He has patience beyond measure.

I never would have begun this journey without the support of my husband, Benj. He

helped me stay focused and motivated, even when that meant attention taken from my family and

job as a wife and mother. I also need to thank my four boys, Micah, Jamin, Eli, and Isaac,

because even though they may not have realized, they had to sacrifice summer activities and time

from their mom so that I could pursue this goal.

 

 

AUTHENTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCES !iv

Table of Contents

Title Page ………………………………………………………….…………………….………i

Approval ………………………………………………………………….…………………….ii

Acknowledgements …………………………………………………………………………….iii

Table of Contents ………………………………………………………………………………iv

List of Figures ……..……………………………………………………………………………v

Abstract ……………………………………………………………………………….…..……vi

Introduction …………………………………………………………….………………….…….1

Review of the Literature ………………………………………………………….……………..7

Methods ……………………………………………………………………………….………..19

Results ……………………………………………………………………………….………….22

Discussion ………………………………………………………………………………………30

References ………………………………………………………………………………………35

Appendixes Appendix A……………………………………………………….…………..………….40

Appendix B ………………………………………………….……………..……………42

 

 

AUTHENTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCES !v

List of Figures

Figures Page

1. Figure of Berger’s Hierarchy of Audience ……………………………………………8 2. Linear Graph of Regression Line of Real World/Audience ……….…………………23

3. Linear Graph of Regression Line of Critical Thinking …….……………..…………24

4. Linear Graph of Regression Line of Community of Learners ………………………24

5. Linear Graph of Regression Line of Student Choice ………….…………………..…25

 

 

AUTHENTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCES !vi

Abstract

This action research study investigated how an authentic learning experience impacted

the motivation and engagement of students toward finding intrinsic value in meaningful work in

a sophomore English classroom at a private Christian high school in the Midwest. The

participants were 57 sophomores at the high school taking required English 10. The students

participated in an authentic learning experience (ALE) designed by their teacher in which they

were split into 10 teams, each team writing and designing one issue the sophomore class’s

newspaper. The 57 students completed an anonymous survey at the conclusion of the authentic

learning experience. Eight students were randomly chosen to be interviewed about their

experiences in the ALE. The results of the study suggested that authentic learning experiences

do contribute to the overall motivation and engagement of students to find intrinsic value in their

work.

 

 

AUTHENTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCES !1

The needs of today’s students are changing. “No pupil in the history of education is like

today’s modern learner. This is a complex, energetic, and tech-savvy individual” (The Critical,

2017). Students need skills that will allow them to be successful in an ever changing and

expanding workforce. In the early 1900’s, 95% of jobs in the United States called for low-skilled

workers (Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008) to work mainly as production workers and laborers

(Fisk, 2003). In 2008, the workforce called instead for workers with specialized knowledge and

skills (Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008). The growth of service industries in the 20th century

jumped from 31% in 1900 to 78% of all workers in 1999 (Fisk, 2003). Our global economy and

expanding technology “have redefined what it takes . . . to prosper” as working members of our

shrinking world (Hale, 1999, p. 9). Students today have very different needs to prepare them for

the workforce than students did earlier in our nation’s history. It is the responsibility of our

educational system to lead the students to skills that will prepare them for their future as working

members of a constantly evolving society.

When students graduate, they need to be prepared to join a global economy and

workforce. This workforce wants people with analytical skills and initiative to problem-solve.

Workers need creativity to find new solutions by looking from different angles in order to

synthesize information. Collaboration and communication are essential as students will find

themselves working and communicating with people from all over the world. They need to be

able to communicate their values and beliefs effectively with other people. Finally, businesses

want employees with ethical standards who want to be held accountable and responsible for how

they handle situations in their job (The Critical, 2017). In short, our students need to graduate

from our schools prepared to join a work force that calls for skills in communication and

 

 

AUTHENTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCES !2

collaboration, as well as skills in researching, collecting, analyzing, synthesizing and applying

knowledge. Because of this, schools need to equip and enable students to do more than

memorize and regurgitate information. Students need to be able to think critically, to transfer

knowledge to new situations, and to adapt in different environments and with many people

(Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008). Students need to take an active and independent role in

their education to be prepared for what lies ahead outside of the school building.

The key to preparing our students in these skills starts with motivation. Teachers need to

motivate students to become engaged in the classroom so that they can participate in their own

learning. Motivation gives students the “direction, intensity, quality, and persistence of [their]

energies” (Fredricks & McColskey, 2012). Motivation happens by creating learning that

challenges the students, that allows them to show what they have discovered in a product that has

greater purpose then the classroom assignment, thus giving them the confidence to master the

next problem or task set before them. As teachers equip them to grow into responsible

individuals motivated to achieve for the intrinsic value of their learning (Beesley, Clark, Barker,

Germeroth, & Apthorp, 2010), students will feel prepared to join a workforce that demands

communication, collaboration, researching, collecting, analyzing, synthesizing and application of

knowledge (Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008). The challenge of designing curriculum laced

with motivation falls then on the teachers tasked with preparing our students for this future.

Students are motivated by real world learning. “The more we focus on students’ ability

to devise effective solutions to real world problems, the more successful those students will

become” (The Critical, 2017). Students feel disengaged when they do not feel that what they are

learning is relevant to their own lives (Certo, Cauley, Moxley, & Chafin, 2008). They need

 

 

AUTHENTIC LEARNING EXPERIENCES !3

opportunities in learning that show them what it means to be a productive member of society

(Cronin, 1993). Beesley et al (2010) stated that research has shown that students involved in

their community are more likely to excel and thrive in all areas of their lives. Community

service opportunities increase students’ future involvement and behavior in their communities.

Introducing service in the curriculum led to better social behavior and future involvement in the

community.

Order your essay today and save 10% with the discount code ESSAYHELP