Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major

English Teaching

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Alecia Magnifico


Students from low-income backgrounds are finding themselves more disenfranchised with school as they progress through their high school careers. This thesis presents the notion that generating a positive form of extrinsic motivation within in the classroom can orient students to become intrinsically motivated towards schooling and writing. In interviewing six students within an Upward Bound program, I found that the approaches the program took during their summer session helped generate an interest for writing within students. By creating a community that cared for each other and brought writing instruction to focus on communication, students found themselves enjoying the process of writing far more than within their high school classrooms. In the summer program, students felt writing discussion to be critical and honest, and as a result were motivated to share their writing with peers who would not judge them at the end of the day. This form of intrinsic motivation was also seen to carry over into the upcoming academic school year for the students. As such, if teachers can then look into attempting to bring similar approaches to writing instruction into their classrooms, students may become more motivated to write, sustaining an interest that can help carry them through school.