Elementary school science teachers' discourse and on-the-job learning about student motivation

Wisam Sedawi, Livat Eshchar-Netz, Hasida Yakovov, Dana Vedder-Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Science teachers' professional learning about student motivation can play a key role in developing their ability to nurture student motivation and cope with motivational challenges. To advance the understanding of how on-the-job discussions facilitate teacher learning about student motivation, this study investigated how elementary-school science teachers described and reasoned about student motivation in school-based team meetings, by analyzing 20 audio-recorded meetings of three Israeli elementary school science teams. The analysis included characterizing 123 episodes in which teachers referred to student motivation, coding how central and specific the references to motivation were, what indicators of motivation teachers addressed, and what influencing factors they considered. It also included a thematic analysis of teachers' discussions about motivation-promoting methods and a microanalysis of one select event, drawing on linguistic ethnographic concepts and methods. The findings showed that teachers often addressed student motivation, but briefly and in relation to other topics. They tended to address behavioral and emotional indicators of motivation much more than cognitive indicators. They focused on instructional methods, predominantly addressing motivational issues from a practical perspective and seldom considering them from the student perspective or accounting for internal factors. Teachers often offered methods for promoting student motivation, but they expressed reservations without critically exploring them. Furthermore, critical discussions about motivation-supporting methods were frequently constrained by teachers' attempts to manage the face threat these discussions entailed. These findings highlight how a theory-crossing framework that integrates theories of student motivation with a theory of teacher productive discourse can serve as a guide for teachers' on-the-job discussions to develop their motivation-related professional learning and their capacity to support student motivation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2023


  • discourse analysis
  • on-the-job learning
  • student motivation
  • teachers' professional discourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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