Motivation is typically defined as the forces that account for the arousal, selection, direction, and continuation of behavior. Nevertheless, many teachers have at least two major misconceptions about motivation that prevent them from using this concept with maximum effectiveness. One misconception is that some students are unmotivated. Strictly speaking, that is not an accurate statement. As long as a student chooses goals and expends a certain amount of effort to achieve them, he is, by definition, motivated. What teachers really mean is that students are not motivated to behave in the way teachers would like them to behave. The second misconception is that one person can directly motivate another. This view is inaccurate because motivation comes from within a person. What you can do, with the help of the various motivation theories discussed in this chapter, is create the circumstances that influence students to do what you want them to do.
Ask any person who is successful in whatever he or she is doing what motivates him/her, and very likely the answer will be "goals". Goal Setting is extremely important to motivation and success. So what motivates you? Why are you in college? If you are in college because that's what your parents want, you may find it difficult to motivate yourself. Sure, it's possible to succeed with someone else providing the motivation for you. ("If you graduate from college, I'll give you a car!" or worse "If you don't graduate from college, you won't get a car.") But motivation that comes from within really makes the difference.
Certainly, you need some intelligence, knowledge base, study skills, and time management skills, but if you don't have motivation, you won't get far. Think about this analogy. You have a car with a full tank of gas, a well-tuned engine, good set of tires, quadraphonic CD system, and a sleek, polished exterior. There it sits. This car has incredible potential. (Have you heard that before?)... [continues]
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