Motivation Coursework

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Motivation Coursework Excerpt

In the ever changing institution of education due to globalization, it is becoming more difficult as a teacher to motivate students and in some circumstances it is even more difficult to remember as teacher to be effective motivators. Why is it that students are becoming so unmotivated to do their work and progress to their full potential? Why is it that teachers are forgetting their role as motivators and not using the appropriate motivational techniques required in their classroom? This paper will be dedicated to the idea of motivation in the classroom and discuss many complex issues surrounding the idea of motivation. In the first portion of this essay, the key points of the numerous theories on motivation will be discussed and the multiple views of each of these theories will be examined. This paper will examine numerous theories such as intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and goal theory. The second portion of this essay will be devoted to discussing how these particular theories on motivation can be instilled in the classroom in order to produce effective motivation, and how knowledge of these theories will influence the decisions I make around teaching and learning.

Before continuing any further, there are some basic questions that must first be answered; what is motivation? Why is motivation an essential component in the classroom? Who is responsible for motivation? Simply stated, motivation is `an internal process that makes a person move towards a goal'. Some academics have their own personal definitions, such as Dörnyei who states that `[m]otivation explains why people decide to do something, how hard they are going to pursue it and how long they are willing to sustain the activity' (2001, p. 7). Others define motivation by what it does stating that `[m]otivation gets us going; it gives us energy, directs us towards our goals, and sustains us through the tasks we undertake' (Vialle, Lysaght & Verenikina, 2005, p.156). Motivation is essential in the classroom because it causes students to `greet each new school day with enthusiasm, participate in all academic tasks, actively seek challenge in their work, complete their homework, and produce assignments of an exemplary standard' (Vialle et al., 2005, p.156). Motivation is an inner process driven by oneself, however, `teachers bear a great deal of this responsibility when it comes to motivation in school contexts' (Vialle et al., 2005, p.156). By examining the theories of motivation, the above questions as well as many other questions will be answered, while simultaneously, many new questions regarding motivation will arise.

One of the newest theories on motivation which are predominantly used in classrooms today are intrinsic motivation theory and extrinsic motivation theory. Intrinsic motivation is `motivation that come from within you or is inherent in the task. For example, you may be motivated to complete a task because you enjoy it or you value the skill you are learning' (Vialle et al., 2005, p.156).

Many disputes within the theory of intrinsic motivation exist. In a study investigated by Cordova and Lepper, it was determined that children's reported intrinsic motivation in school has been decreasing steadily from at least third grade through high school (1996, p.715). On the other hand, Covington and Müeller tested intrinsic motivation in older students and concluded that intrinsic motivation in students has been increasing as they get older because they want to learn for the sake of obtaining knowledge (2001, pp.157-160).

Extrinsic motivation is motivation to engage in an activity as a means to an end. Extrinsic motivation is when you are motivated by external factors, as opposed to the internal drivers of intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation drives you to do things for tangible rewards or pressures, rather than for the fun of it (Syque, 2007). For example, individuals who are extrinsically motivated work on tasks because they believe that participation will result in desirable outcomes such as reward, teacher praise, or avoidance of punishment (Vialle et al., 2005, pp.156-157).

This theory is closely linked to behaviourism where behaviour is shaped by reinforcers such as positive reinforcers, negative reinforcers and punishment (Vialle et al., 2005, p.158). Positive reinforcement is based on a reward system and `positive reinforcers include tangibles, such as stickers or lollies, or teacher praises, such as verbal praise, acknowledgement and feedback' (Vialle et al., 2005, p.158). In Negative Reinforcement a particular behaviour is strengthened by the consequence of the stopping or avoiding of a negative condition (Levine, 1999). `Negative reinforcers involve payoffs, not for achieving something positive, such as completing an assignment on time, but for avoiding something abrasive, as in the case of the student whose reason for studying is to avoid failing' (Covington & Müeller, 2001, p.4). Punishment, which is often confused with negative reinforcement, weakens a behaviour because a negative condition is introduced or experienced as a consequence of the behaviour (Levine, 1999).

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