Do Classmates Motivate Each Other?

September 16, 2010 at 6:07 am Leave a comment

What Motivates You?

Last week I did a short writing assignment in my elementary algebra class. I asked them to respond to the question “What motivates you in this class?” I will share all of their responses in a later blog, but one common response surprised me. Many of the students claimed that the students in their group motivated them. They said they felt motivated by their group members for several reasons:

  • Their group members were so supportive and helpful that it inspired them to do better.
  • Working with people in their groups was fun, and it made learning fun. This is very motivational.
  • They were motivated to give their best effort so that all 4 members of the group were successful.

To me, this intrinsic motivation that was fueled by their community was a fantastic result of our approach. Developmental math students often lack intrinsic motivation – this is a great sign.

Update On Our Community-Based Faculty Inquiry Group (FIG)

I caught up with my FIG partner Michelle yesterday, and things seem to be going great in her Spanish classes. She has focused on the idea of creating a sense of community in her classes. One thing she reported as a side benefit is that she is never being asked for “yesterday’s handouts” from absent students – the group takes extra handouts for that student. She also commented on how comfortable her students seem to be.


Can classmates motivate each other? Do you feel that a sense of community is important to student success? Do you have experience in this area that you’d like to share? If so, please leave a comment or reach me through the contact page at my web site –


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. Each Thursday I will be blogging about the importance of community in the classroom. If there’s a particular topic you’d like me to address, or if you have a question or a comment, please let me know. You can reach me through the contact page on my website –


Entry filed under: community, Math. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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