Perseverance Occurs Where an Emotional

Then, the teacher slowly gives more difficult problems, building upon the students initial sense of accomplishment.

Theory 6: “When people feel that their freedom to choose an action is threatened, they get an unpleasant feeling called reactance” (Straker 2008).

Unfortunately, it is built into the learning process that teachers must make some demands of their students, and thus curtail the students freedom which can produce reactance. However, by introducing some flexibility and choice in the assignments (such as allowing students to choose a topic for a research paper) this reactance may be curtailed.

Theory 7: Opponent process theory suggests that most individuals feel mixed emotions about things: “We have pairs of emotions that act in opposing pairs, such as happiness and sadness, fear and relief, pleasure and pain. When one of these is experienced, the other is temporarily suppressed. This opposite emotion, however, is likely to re-emerge strongly and may curtail or interact with the initial emotion” (Straker 2008).

To guard against this, teachers must interject variety into the classroom. Even if students like a particular task, such as a using teams in class, teachers must counterbalance that with other types of formats (preserving individual work assignments within the syllabus), otherwise students may begin to show resistance to the activity, despite liking it before.

Theory 8: Investment models of motivation suggest that the more the individual invests in the process or task, the more he or she is likely to see it to completion.

When teachers set rules for the classroom, soliciting student input is essential: for example, if students feel invested in deciding what negative consequences ensue, if they do not show respect to one another, they are more apt to obey the guidelines they have set for themselves.

Do you agree or disagree that the example is an appropriate representation of the theories? Why or why not?

In my experience in the classroom, I have seen all of these theories played out in teacher and student behaviors. No singular motivational theory can explain all of human behavior, but all of these theories are useful to better understand different individual and class responses to teaching.


Straker, David. (2008). Motivation theories..

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