Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-27-2020


Bouzid, L. 2020. Secondary Mathematics Teachers' and Students' Approaches to Engagement and Motivation for Mathematics Learning in the Classroom. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Leenah Bouzid 2020.


Engagement and motivation in a mathematics classroom is an issue that educators and researchers continually examine and analyze to understand and develop ways to maintain or increase. The main goal of this thesis research project is to gain insight and understand what engagement and motivation means in a mathematics classroom by examining secondary mathematics teachers and students. The literature from researchers and educators describe components that contribute to engagement and motivation such as mathematical disposition, which is the attitudes and beliefs towards the subject and learning the subject, self-efficacy, which is about the student’s belief in one’s own capabilities, intrinsic motivation, which is the willingness to learn and do mathematics due to own personal goals and internal rewards, self-determination theory, which is a theory on motivation that address one’s psychological needs, and teaching strategies such as instructional decisions that influence a positive learning environment that encourage students to engage in mathematics. I also went into a real classroom to interview one teacher along with three students and observe two different classrooms. I analyzed two very different courses taught by the same teacher which provided insight on how the students are engaged and motivated and how the teacher goes about teaching in respect to engagement and motivation in both of those classes. Overall, the research and data results have shown that teachers should recognize the need to teach in respect to highly engaging and motivating students to learn and do mathematics, which can also impact the students’ mathematics experiences positively.