Motivation:Inspiring Success by Engaging Students
Oxford English Dictionary• Motivation, n • The stimulus for action towards a desired goal, esp. as resulting from psychological or social factors; the factors giving purpose or direction to human or animal behaviour. • Now also more generally (as a count noun): the reason a person has for acting in a particular way, a motive.
Motivation in Education• The internal state of a student that directs and maintains behaviour, will determine whether the student will initiate learning activities, maintain involvement and remain committed to the process of learning. • Plato: Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
Influences and Factors• Social cognitive theorists have succeeded in developing an explanation which takes into account all three relevant variables involved: • Behaviour, cognitive and environmental influences involved in teaching and motivating students (Woolfolk, et al., 2010).• Educators will develop a comprehensive understanding of motivation and learning by recognizing the presence of these three influences and the constant interplay between them
Behavioural InfluencesThe principles of enactive learning dictate that we learn directlythrough the consequences of our actions (Woolfolk, Winne, &Perry, 2010). In understanding that individuals actively operateon their environments, an educator can use a system of extrinsicmotivators, to reinforce positive behaviour.Translating it to the Class and Applying it to Students: • Educators can supply their students with incentives, objectives or events, as rewards for their performance. In the classroom, students are often driven by attaining grades or gaining special privileges.
*It should be noted that the use of extrinsic motivators ishighly controversial, and recently educational theoristshave come to caution against their use.Counter:When Rewards provide students with information abouttheir growing mastery of a subject, or when the rewardsshow appreciation for a job well done, then the reward hasthe potential to boost confidence and make the task moreinteresting to the student. Indeed, if a student is able tomaster reading or mathematics, it is not likely that the willforget what they learned once the rewards stop
Environmental Influence• Albert Bandura, a prominent social cognitive theorist, has succeeded in putting an individual’s behaviour in their social context.• Bandura reveals that changes in behaviour also occur vicariously, through observing and imitating others. The social motivation for performing tasks can be understood as a need to gain the respect, admiration or praise of others.• Through observational learning, a student can learn how to perform behaviour and also gain information on its consequences
Cognitive Influences• Learning is considered to be a determinant of self influences, aided by the ability of effectively applying strategies• Self-efficacy is the act of judging one’s own competence. Research indicates that students with a high degree of self- efficacy show an increased improvement in school performance (Kenny-Benson, Pomerantz, Ryan & Patrick, 2006,)• It is assumed that motivation is the product of an individual’s expectations for success, in combination with the value of the goal to him or her.
In the classroom, if a teacher assigns a difficult homeworkassignment that the student feels that he or she does not possessthe ability to complete, or see the inherent value of, the studentwill not be motivated to perform. Indeed, the student’s self-efficacy, or beliefs about his or her ability is a primary concern foreducators and theorists
Attributions• The principle of Wiener’s theory begins with the assumption that we are all inherently motivated by the desire of attaining the pleasure of achievement (Weiner, 1985)• The role of attributions, or an individual’s own explanations, justifications and excuses for success or failures, have important implications for academic motivation.• In short, the basic principle of the attribution theory, as it applies to motivation, is that a person’s own perceptions or attributions for success or failure determine the amount of effort her or she will expend on the that activity in the future.
Why do students think they can orcan’t change?• Beliefs about Ability! • Incremental = Your ability changes over time • Entity = Your ability is set at birth• Beliefs about Ability lead to goal orientations. • Incremental = Mastery • Entity = Performance
Mastery vs. Performance• Mastery goal orientation (Good) • Students are mostly concerned with mastering the task at hand • Failure suggests areas for improvement – can be motivating.• Performance goal orientation (Bad) • Students are mostly concerned with doing better than others • Student fears that failure indicates something about their ABILITY to do the task. (Pintrich, P., & Schunk, D. (2002). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice-Hall.)
In the educational environment, if teachers wish for students tosucceed at academic tasks, they should help the student establisha sincere belief that they are competent and they possess aninherent ability to complete the task in questions.Indeed, once a student is successful, and attributes his or heraccomplishments to an internal ability, such as effort, it fostersfeelings of pride that help increase self-efficacy.In this case there are no external rewards and the task isundertaken for the pleasure and satisfaction it brings to thestudent.
GoalsIn developing positive attributions and a strong sense of self-efficacy,students need to set goals that they can then strive to accomplish. EdwinLocke, and his colleague Gary Latham, from the University of Toronto,promote the merits of goal settings on four premises.The two concluded that goals help: direct our attention to the task at hand, energize our efforts, increase ourpersistence and promote the development of new knowledge andstrategies (Locke, & Latham, 2002, )Educators need to encourage students to adopt specific goals that aremoderately difficult, but attainable.In general, students will accept goals that are realistic and meaningful. It isfundamental for educators to practice goal framing, and help their studentsunderstand that the activities and assignments being presented by theteacher as having an inherent intrinsic or extrinsic value.
Why would someone want tomaster the task• Mastery is INTRINSICALLY motivating• Intrinsic motivation: wanting to do something just because it is—in and of itself—enjoyable!• Why are things enjoyable? • Interest • Competence • Curiosity • Relatedness • Autonomy
Emotions• Social cognitive theorists have come to advocate a need to get students emotionally investing in their learning. • (It is also critical to manage student anxiety)• The ultimate objective for educators is to produce students capable of managing their own learning. In order to accomplish this goal, it is imperative for educators identify self- influences to stimulate the student’s inner resources.
Interests• Interest is second only to effort in determining or explaining a student’s success in the classroom. • Trigger situation interest -Situational interest is maintained • Emerging individual interest – Well-developed individual interest. • Extrinsic motivators can be used as a means to trigger situational interest, which can then manifest into situational interest.
“A Learning Environment”• A building alone does not create a school culture. But research shows that school buildings can affect students morale and academic performance. Now, school officials are moving away from the "cells and bells" design marked by long, locker-lined hallways of windowless classrooms, and toward more open, flexible buildings aimed at creating a sense of community and collaboration.
• Mission to Engage Students: Personalized Learning “To create an education system that enables each learner in BC to meet his or her full potential potential—a world-class education system that is both flexible and rigorous, and that reflects current understanding of how students learn and can be effectively supported.” - George Abbot, Minster of Education,Motivating Students in British Columbia
Conclusion: Putting It All Together• Although motivation is, by definition, is internally determined, an informed and capable teacher can take the initiative to stimulate it within their students. • I have included a vast library of reading and visual material in my portfolio. Please visit for further information. In particular, I have found some influential texts, books and journals that have been citied throughout the various readings that I have done.
Questions to Consider?1) In your opinion, how much of a responsibility can we really attribute to each andevery individual teacher, in terms of motivating their students to learn? Can we put, say,a percentage on this number ?2) Behaviorists have taught us the role and value of extrinsic motivators, and they cancertainly be employed in an effective manner to motivate others to act. In yourevaluation, is learning encouraged or undermined using this method.3) The term "learner centered environment" has been used to describe the optimalclassroom, where students would be best motivated to learn, what does this descriptionof the ideal classroom mean to you? Can you describe its components? 4) What strategies do you think teachers need to adopt in order for their students to“become more motivated” in the classroom.5) Reflect on your own experiences in the public school system. Would you consideryourself a motivated student, why or why not? What worked for you, What didnt ?