Session Submission Summary

Direct link:

Teacher Motivation and Incentives: A Case Study and Open Space Discussion on the Importance, Constructs, and Strategies to Help Improve Teacher Performance and Student Learning in Low-Resource Contexts

Wed, March 8, 3:15 to 4:45pm, Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Georgia 5 (South Tower)

Session Submission Type: Group Panel

Description of Session

Previous research has shown that “motivation is perhaps the critical variable in producing maintained change” in education (Ryan and Deci, 2000). For this reason, recent and up-coming donor-supported education projects, particularly those targeting improvement of early grade reading outcomes, include a component to address not only teacher training but also teacher motivation. These initiatives generally require the development of incentives – particularly non-monetary incentives – to improve instructional time on task in the classroom.

Yet, research on teacher motivation and incentives in developing countries is scarce. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for instance, previous studies have examined factors affecting teachers’ extrinsic motivation (e.g., salaries) but none have specifically examined the effect of non-monetary incentives on teacher motivation, or their potential link to teacher behavior in ways that would improve student learning. Operations research under the USAID/UKAID ACCELERE! project in the DRC is bridging this gap with a multi-phase study and field pilot on teacher motivation and non-monetary incentives. The result of this research is informing the development of systems instituting non-monetary incentives to improve teacher performance and student learning.

This research, and similar initiatives developing elsewhere, reveal that problematizing the issue of teacher motivation and incentives generates many questions. W hat is meant by teacher motivation? What is the interplay of teacher motivation and job satisfaction? Apart from salaries, what intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect the motivation of teachers to be consistently present in the classroom, and to teach to the best of their ability? What non-monetary incentives might teachers value highly? And if salary is by far the number one motivator and is consistently delayed or insufficient, will non-monetary incentives ever make a difference? In particular, what kinds of non-monetary incentives might motivate teachers to behave in ways that have a positive effect on student learning, and on reading acquisition in particular? What are the teacher motivation strategies that are the most cost effective, and feasible at scale? Are incentives different for female and male teachers? For those in rural areas versus more urban areas? Might some incentive schemes improve or worsen equity concerns? And how can projects best spur such incentive schemes in ways sustainable for communities, local governments, private sector partners and/or ministries of education to uphold without external assistance?

This panel will begin with an initial session introduction, followed by a 15-min presentation of recent research on teacher motivation and incentives in the DRC as a case study, leading to open discussions among the CIES community of practice using the Open Space approach. The case study findings, organized around several teacher motivation and incentives constructs, will serve to spur discussion topics to go deeper into problematizing the manifestation and approaches regarding teacher motivation and incentives in developing countries.

This panel falls under CIES 2017 category of sessions using “new and different forms of presentation and audience engagement / interaction.” Promising an inspiring and stimulating discussion, this session will

be suitable and beneficial for practitioners, researchers, ministry officials, donors’ representatives, and international education program implementers.

Deci, E. L. & Ryan, R. M. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1), 54-67. Retreived from,+Deci+00.pdf

Sub Unit


Individual Presentations


©2019 All Academic, Inc.   |   Privacy Policy