As discussed in past literature, high school students often lack motivation towards learning (Crow, 2007; Lumsden, 1995). This lack of motivation interferes with student learning (Lumsden,1995; Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens, Soenens, & Matos, 2005). At the middle school and collegiate level, Socratic Seminar is seen to provide motivation towards learning in students (Copeland, 2005; Mee, 2000; Strong, 1996); however, there is a need for research on student motivation as a result of Socratic Seminar at the high school level. The purpose of this study is to identify the extent to which, if any, differences exist in student motivation towards learning among students receiving English instruction via Socratic Seminar versus traditional lecture at the high school level. It was hypothesized that Socratic Seminar provides a better opportunity for students to experience the IV pillars of motivation as described by John Keller (1987a)--attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction--than traditional lecture does. A quantitative correlational design was implemented with a cross-sectional data collection administered post-implementation of traditional lecture 3 times and post-implementation of Socratic Seminar 3 times over an 8-week period with 139 11th grade English students at Lutheran High School of Orange County. The responses were viewed as a group through the application of chi-squares. Next, chi-squares were applied to analyze the group's results for each question from the modified CIS. Then, the results were analyzed via Cramer's V within the individual constructs of motivation as described by the CIS, which include: attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction. The results displayed Socratic Seminar as providing a more motivating experience towards learning in certain areas of motivation while lecture was seen to be more motivating for other areas of motivation. It was originally believed the application of Socratic Seminar would provide higher student motivation toward learning. From these results, it was learned that teachers must seek a balanced approach in their teaching by applying both Socratic Seminar and lecture. In a broader sense, the lesson learned is that different teaching strategies motivate students in different ways and a wide range of teaching strategies ought to be applied.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Motivation in education -- Evaluation; Teaching -- Methodology; Questioning

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Leigh, Doug;