Northern Illinois University

Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Stephen Tonks, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Educational
Dept of Leadership, Educational Psychology & Foundations
Graham Hall 227B
DeKalb, IL 60115
(815) 753-5429
  • Ph.D., University of Maryland (Human Development and Educational Psychology)
  • B.A., University of Michigan (Psychology and German)

My research interests focus on motivation and culture, and on ways to increase studentsí motivation in the classroom. I also have strong interests in Japanese schooling and culture and in reading motivation. In my research, I strive to be open to the uniqueness of ethnicities and cultures, including individuals within these groups, such that existing theories of motivation may need to be tailored to groups and individuals in order to be effectively applied.

I am currently working on a study of perceived autonomy and academic motivation in Japanese elementary school students, as well as a study linking standardized testing to motivational and emotional outcomes in U.S. elementary school students. Previously, I worked for six years on an intervention project called Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction that aims to increase reading engagement and motivation and thereby reading achievement in elementary school students.

Full Vita (pdf)