So far during the previous weeks we’ve discussed all manner of things relating to motivation in the classroom, what affects motivation, different types of motivation and agents of motivation to name a few. Let’s recap what has been said over the previous blogs.
In my first blog we discussed factors that may influence exam motivation. Weiner (1979) showed us that ability of the learner, effort during the test, preparation, test difficulty and conditions at home affect exam motivation directly. Maintaining motivation was directly correlated with all of these influences. Patrick, Anderman & Ryan (2002) showed us that social relationships constitute a significant feature of school for students. Social expectation heavily impact on the way students learn, due to social influences, peer pressure and so on. This study showed that students perform more effectively when they feel less self-conscious regardless of what subject. Concern with appearances and the status quo may lead to anxiety and avoidant strategies which negatively affect their learning. Luckily this works both ways as studies show that this effect decreases when students work together to solve group problems. When students work on group tasks, the collective focus increases as does effective communication (Hartup, 1996; Jehn & Shah, 1997; Brown, 1990).
So from the first topic we can obviously see that motivation is fickle and influenced by social, educational, internal factors. Next I talked about different kinds of motivation, focusing mainly on intrinsic motivation.
Just to recap, intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by personal interest or enjoyment from the task itself and doesn’t rely on external rewards or threats in order to encourage this behaviour. In the next blog I chose to focus on how extrinsic motivation affects intrinsic motivation for better or worse. Amabile, DeJong & Lepper (1976) found that deadlines negatively affect levels of intrinsic motivation in the same way extrinsic reward does (Deci, 1972; Lepper et al, 1973). Wilson & Lassiter (1982) highlight this by showing how extrinsic rewards can have negative impact on learning. The example they use is extrinsic punishment. The threat of punishment actually increases their desire to engage in the forbidden behaviour. So what about positive extrinsic motivation such as rewards and prizes for good work? Deci (2000) uses Self-Determination Theory to show us that when there is a lack of an extrinsic award, the learner can internalise extrinsic motivation if it corresponds with their belief and values.
High intrinsic motivation comes from the belief that the student as under their influence and some they are responsible for. The belief that you posses the ability necessary to achieve your goal is the core tenet of intrinsic motivation. This is also known as having self-efficacy belief, awareness of your ability to complete the task at hand.
Myers (2000) describes another pitfall of extrinsic motivators in education. Whilst helping a student internalise extrinsic motivation is an effective way of increasing motivation, if extrinsic reward is the only motivation available to complete a task, perhaps it’s not worth doing in the first place.
In blog 3 I expanded on how intrinsic motivation can be manipulated, again for better or worse. Lopez (1981) showed that a performance contingent bonus increase both performance and intrinsic motivation. This is because it increases self-determination and self-efficacy in the learner, as they are directly responsible for their own performance. Deci, Ryan & Koestner (1999) argue that performance-contingent rewards actually undermine free choice and control and subsequently lower intrinsic motivation and interest. The issue here is context. Contingent based rewards increase motivation in the workplace more effectively than students, but as you’d expect everyone is (irritatingly so) different and therefore has different intrinsic motivators.
Gottfried & Adele (1990) showed that intrinsic motivation was positively linked to IQ, perception of competence and inversely related to anxiety. They found that low intellectual performance may lead to cognitive discrepancies in school work which leads to frustration rather than a healthy challenge like school work aims to be. Learners in this situation are less likely to experience mastery in a subject and intrinsic motivation subsequently deceases. They go on to claim that intrinsic interest should be nurtured at pre-school age.
In my final blog I talked about arguably one the biggest influences on intrinsic motivation in education, the role of the teacher. Skinner & Belmont (1993) demonstrated that teacher involvement could be used to predict student motivation across the school year. The student-teacher relationship operates in a reciprocal manner; highly motivated children had a positive effect on teacher behaviour, simply because they felt they were doing their job properly. Conversely, disengaged students received negative teacher responses that further undermined their motivation. This study shows that student-teacher relationships are vital maintaining motivation but can also negatively affect it.
So to conclude all of the previous blog, intrinsic motivation is a very contextual element of learning behaviour. Extrinsic motivation such as deadlines exist for a valid reason and can often be the sole motivator used to get work done on time to an adequate standard. Extrinsic motivation should be used appropriately in way that it can hopefully be internalised and made personally important to the learner. As Myers (2000) said however, if extrinsic reward is the only reason students have to complete the work, what is the point? Whilst this statement has some truth in it, this could be particularly damaging at a young age during primary education. Fortunately children have high levels of intrinsic motivation until the age of 13 when it starts dropping (Lepper et a 1973). So the message to take home from this is if you find yourself lacking intrinsic motivation to complete a task you need to evaluate the following;
1) How much control do you have over this task
2) Are you solely responsible for its quality and quantity
3) Are you working to a deadline
4) How much feedback and support do you receive
Hopefully if your answers to this are positive ones, you’ll have plenty of ways to increase your intrinsic motivation if you don’t already have plenty of it.
Thank you for reading
Weiner, B. (1979). A theory of motivation for some classroom experiences. Journal of Educational Psychology, 71(1), 3-25. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-0618.104.22.168
Patrick, H., Anderman, L. H., & Ryan, A. M. (2002). Social motivation and the classroom social environment. Goals, goal structures, and patterns of adaptive learning, 85-108.
Willard W. Hartup. The Company They Keep: Friendships and Their Developmental Significance, Child Development , Vol. 67, No. 1 (Feb., 1996), pp. 1-13
Jehn, K. A., & Shah, P. P. (1997). Interpersonal relationships and task performance: An examination of mediating processes in friendship and acquaintance groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 775–790
Brown, B. B. (1990) Peer groups and peer cultures. In Feldman, S. S. And Elliot, G. R. (Eds.) At the threshold; The developing adolescent (pp.1710196). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Elkind, D. (1967) Egocentrism in adolescence. Child Dev 38(4):1025–1034
Eisenberger, R., Pierce, W. D., & Cameron, J. (1999). Effects of reward on intrinsic motivation—Negative, neutral, and positive: Comment on deci, koestner, and ryan (1999). Psychological Bulletin, 125(6), 677-691. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.125.6.677
Malone, T. W. & Lepper, M. R. (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. In R. E. Snow & M. J. Farr (Eds.), Aptitude, learning, and instruction: III. Conative and affective process analysis. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Myers, D. (2005). Exploring psychology, Sixth edition in modules. New York: Worth Publishers.
Wilson, T. D., & Lassiter, G. D. (1982). Increasing intrinsic interest with superfluous extrinsic constraints. Journal of personality and social psychology, 42(5), 811-819.
Wigfield, A., Guthrie, J. T., Tonks, S., & Perencevich, K. C. (2004). Children’s motivation for reading: Domain specificity and instructional influences. Journal of Educational Research, 97, 299-309.
Ryan, Richard; Edward L. Deci (2000). “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions”. Contemporary Educational Psychology 25.1: 54–67.
Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M., & Koestner, R. (1999). A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 125(6), 627-668.
Lopez, E. M. (1981). Increasing intrinsic motivation with performance-contingent reward. Journal of Psychology, 108(1), 59. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1290612734?accountid=14874
Wilson, T. D., & Lassiter, G. D. (1982). Increasing intrinsic interest with superfluous extrinsic constraints. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42(5), 811-819. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1241
Gottfried, A. E. (1990). Academic intrinsic motivation in young elementary school children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(3), 525-538. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.1995