Motivation and Education

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Definitions, Types and Theories of Motivation.
Definitions. Motivation (motus, movere = to move) has been defined variously by psychologists as: 'the phenomena involved in a person's drives and goal-seeking behaviour'; 'the tendencies to activity which commence with a persistent stimulus (drive) and end with an appropriate adjustive response'; 'the arousal, regulation and sustaining of a pattern of behaviour'; 'the internal state or condition that results in behaviour directed towards a specific goal' (Curzon, 1990). The term will be used in this site as a general sense to refer to a person's aroused desire for participation in a learning process. Dewey speaks of the teacher in their role of guide and director as steering a boat, '. . . but the energy that propels it must come from those who are learning'. The arousal, regulation and sustaining of the student's enthusiasm for learning, that is, the utilization of his power of motivation in the service of the lesson, constitute an important task for the teacher. The harnessing of the learner's drive is to be seen as of paramount importance in learning, for drive is the basis of self-motivation in the classroom. Types of motivation. Some psychologists concerned with understanding learning have attempted to formulate 'categories of motivation', i.e. groupings of students' motives for learning. Categories have been presented under four headings: instrumental motivation; social motivation; achievement motivation; and intrinsic motivation. It should be noted that more than one category may dominate learner motivation at a given time (Biggs and Teller, 1987.) Instrumental motivation: This type of motivation, which is purely extrinsic, is in evidence where students perform tasks solely because of the consequences likely to ensue, e.g. the chance of obtaining some tangible reward or avoiding a reprimand. It is in total contrast to intrinsic motivation (see below). In the face of motivation of this nature, the teacher should ensure that the task to be performed is placed in a context perceived as pleasant. Social motivation: Students influenced by this type of motivation tend to perform tasks so as to please those they respect, admire, or whose opinions are of some importance to them. Rewards are of limited significance even if tangible; the reward here is nonmaterial and is related in direct measure to the perceived relationship between the student and the person whose reinforcement activity (praise or approval, for example) is considered important. Achievement motivation: This is involved where students learn 'in the hope of success'. Ausubel suggests that there are three elements in motivation of this type: (a) cognitive drive—the learner is attempting to satisfy a perceived 'need to know'; (b) self enhancement—the learner is satisfying the need for self-esteem; (c) affiliation—the learner is seeking the approval of others. Intrinsic motivation: In this case there are no external rewards; the task is undertaken for the pleasure ind satisfaction it brings to the student. It seems to be central to 'high quality involvement' in a task and to be self-maintaining and self-terminating. Curiosity and a desire to meet challenges may characterize the learning of students motivated in this style. Theories of Motivation

A Humanist Approach to Motivation; Self-Actualisation.
Maslow saw motivation in terms of an individual's striving for growth; he sought to explain it by reference to a 'hierarchy of human needs'. People are 'wanting animals'. He believed that at any given moment a person's benaviour is dominated by those of his needs which have the greatest potency. As their 'lower', physiological needs are adequately satisfied, motives at a 'higher' level in the hierarchy come into play. The hierarchy is made up as follows: 1. Physiological needs, e.g. hunger, thirst, leading to a desire tor food and water. 2. Safety needs, e.g. security.

3. Belonging needs, e.g. friendship and love.
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