translate their interests into long-term
rewards (p. 240).
What can teachers do to help students develop such motivation? While
observing 133 high school classrooms,
Deci and colleagues found that students
were most engaged when teachers balanced structure with autonomy—
communicating “clear expectations” for
learning and “explicit directions,” while
“highlighting meaningful learning goals”
and providing opportunities for self-directed learning (Jang, Reeve, & Deci,
2010, p. 588). In other words, skilled
teachers use standards to structure
learning, while tapping into students’
interests and need for autonomy.
In Csikszentmihalyi’s study, good
teachers ignited student interest by
modeling passion for their subject areas
and by showing students that math-
ematics, art, or literature were worthy
of long-term, professional pursuit.
Moreover, they individualized learning
for students, helping them connect
their interests to long-term goals. For
example, one student’s pursuit of a
fashion design career began when an
insightful teacher told her that, as a
nonconformist, she might enjoy reading
about another iconoclast: Coco Chanel.
Csikszentmihalyi, M., Rathunde, K., &
Whalen, S. (1993). Talented teenagers: The
roots of success and failure. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M., & Koestner, R.
(1999). A meta-analytic review of experi-
ments examining the effects of extrinsic
rewards on intrinsic motivation.Psycho-
logical Bulletin, 125( 6), 627–668.