6 January 2015

Motivation and Learning

CTET 2015 Exam Notes : Child Development and Pedagogy (CDP) 


Motivation is one of the most frequently used words in psychology. It refers to the factors which move or activate the organism. We infer the presence of motivation when we see that people work toward certain goals. For example, we might observe that a student works hard at almost every task that comes to him/her; from this we infer that the person has motive to achieve.
All human behaviour appears to arise in response to some form of internal (physiological) or external (environmental) stimulation. The behaviours, however, are not random. They often involve some purpose or goal. It is often held that behaviours take place as a result of the arousal of certain motives. Thus motivation can be defined as the process of activating, maintaining and directing behaviour towards a particular goal. The process is usually terminated once the desired goal is attained by the person.

The process of initiating action is technically called ‘motivation’. Directing behaviour towards certain goal is the essence of motivation. Motivation is not always directly observable. It is inferred and used to explain behaviour. When we ask “What motivates a person to do a particular task?” We usually mean why does she behave as she does. In other words, motivation, as popularly used, refers to the cause or why of behaviour.

Interestingly, we are not aware of all our motives. Behaviour can be governed by unconscious motives too. If our understanding of motives is correct, we have a powerful tool for explaining behaviour. We explain our everyday behaviour in terms of various motives.

Motives also help us make predictions about behaviour. We may tell what a person will do in future. Motives may not tell exactly what will happen but they give us an idea about the range of activities a person will do. Thus a person with a need to achieve in academics will work hard in school, an individual with a strong need to excel in sports will put in a lot of hard work in that field; similarly in business and in many other situations.

Types of Motivation

There are two types of motivation or arousals. They can either be internally or externally driven. The desire for food or sex arises from within us (intrinsic), while the yearning to obtain recognition or approval is influenced by the conditions in our environment (extrinsic). In view of the above explanation, motivation is divided into intrinsic and extrinsic.

1. Intrinsic Motivation: 

Is an internal force or motive within the individual which propels him/her into emitting certain behaviour. It is an innate or genetically predetermined disposition to behave in a particular way when he/she faces a particular situation. This type of motivation can make an individual to have the feelings of  self- confidence and competence (Deci and Ryan, 1985). A student who is  intrinsically  motivated  may  carry  out  a  task  because  of  the enjoyment he/she derives from such a task. In another way, a dog that sees a bone and runs for it, did that because of the satisfaction it derives from eating bone. This type of behaviour does not require any prior learning. Sighting the bone changes the behaviour of the dog and propels it to act.

2. Extrinsic Motivation: 

Is the external or environmental factor, which sets the individual‘s behaviour into motion. The incentive/reinforcer drives an individual‘s behaviour towards a goal. A student who is extrinsically motivated, will execute an action in order to obtain some reward or avoid some sanctions. For example, a student who studied hard for the examination did so because of the desire to obtain better grade. The case also goes for a runner who wants to win a prize, he/she will need constant practice than a person who wants to run for the fun of it. Extrinsic rewards should be used with caution because they have the potential for decreasing intrinsic motivation.

For example extrinsic incentive may spur a student to actively participate in the task for which the student has no interest, but may undermine intrinsic and continuing motivation in him/her (Deci et al, 1985). Therefore, students‘ motivation automatically has to do with the students‘ desire to participate in the learning process. It also concerns the reasons or goals that underlie their involvement
or non-involvement in academic activities.

Motivation and Learning, Types of Motivation, Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation, KEY CONCEPTS OF MOTIVATION, Needs and Motives, Goals, Incentives, Incentives, CDP Notes, CTET 2015 Exam Notes, Child Development & Pedagogy Study MaterialKEY CONCEPTS OF MOTIVATION

There are certain terms which you will commonly come across when you learn this lesson on motivation such as needs, goals, incentives etc. Let us understand some of these concepts.

(a) Needs and Motives

A need is a condition of lack or deficit of something required by the organism.In order to maintain homeostasis or balance the organism finds it necessary to satisfy the needs.

The needs are of different types. The need for food or water is a physiological need, which arises out of lack or deficit of food or water in the organism. The needs for excretion and urination are also physiological needs. They are due to the organism’s necessity to eliminate waste matter from the body. The need for contact with other persons is a social need. The other social needs include need for prestige, status, affection, self-esteem, and so on. A person becomes more aware of his needs when they are not fulfilled. In other words, when you are hungry, you need food, and, when you are thirsty you need water. In these cases you are in a state of deprivation and your bodily system suffers from some kind of imbalance.

The needs may be broadly categorised as, primary or physiological needs and secondary or social needs. Needs for food, water, sex, sleep and rest, and elimination are primary needs. Needs for achievement, affiliation, power are examples of social needs.

The term ‘motive’ refers to goal directed behaviour and energising conditions within the organism that drive behaviour. It is generally used to refer to certain conditions which, besides arousing, predispose a person to respond, or behave in a way appropriate to that motive. Motives direct the activity of the individual
towards person’s goals.

(b) Goals

Thinking about the goal motivates a person to organize his or her action. If hunger is a need, eating food is a goal. Thus goal is related to the need state. However, in certain cases, behaviour is also guided by intrinsic goals. It means behaviour does not always need external goal. It may be satisfying and enjoyable in itself. Some people may like to sing, dance or play just for the sake of singing, dancing or playing. They like such activities. Thus goals can be intrinsic or extrinsic.

(c) Incentives

Incentives refers to the goal objects which satisfy the needs. Incentives vary in quality and quantity which make them less or more satisfying and attractive. Thus one can put in greater amount of effort to attain a more attractive incentive. As a matter of fact many incentives assume considerable significance in the lives of people and they do every thing possible to attain those incentives.

(d) Instincts

Instinct is an old concept in the field of motivation. It is defined as an innate biological force that predisposes the organism to act in a certain way. At one time all behaviours were supposed to be results of certain instincts. Some of the instincts identified by early psychologists are fight, repulsion, curiosity, self abasement, acquisition etc. It was thought that instincts were inherited and compelling sources of conduct, but can be modified by learning and experience. This term is no more used in relation to human behaviour. Animal behaviour is sometimes explained using this term. In current usage 'instinct' is reserved for innate response tendencies found among animals.

Motivation has several effects on students’ learning and behavior.

  1. Motivation directs behavior toward particular goals. Motivation determines the specific goals toward which learners strive. Thus, it affects the choices students make—for instance, whether to enroll in physics or studio art, whether to spend an evening completing a challenging homework assignment or playing videogames with friends.
  2. Motivation leads to increased effort and energy. Motivation increases the amount of effort and energy that learners expend in activities directly related to their needs and goals. It determines whether they pursue a task enthusiastically and wholeheartedly or apathetically and lackadaisically.
  3. Motivation increases initiation of and persistence in activities.Learners are more likely to begin a task they actually want to do. They are also more likely to continue working at it until they’ve completed it, even if they are occasionally interrupted or frustrated in the process. In general, then, motivation increases students’ time on task, an important factor affecting their learning and achievement .
  4. Motivation affects cognitive processes. Motivation affects what learners pay attention to and how effectively they process it. For instance, motivated learners often make a concerted effort to truly understand classroom material—to learn it meaningfully—and consider how they might use it in their own lives.
  5. Motivation determines which consequences are reinforcing and punishing. The more learners are motivated to achieve academic success, the more they will be proud of an A and upset by a low grade. The more learners want to be accepted and respected by peers, the more they will value membership in the “in” group and be distressed by the ridicule of classmates. To a teenage boy uninterested in athletics, making or not making the school football team is no big deal, but to a teen whose life revolves around football, making or not making the team may be a consequence of monumental importance.
  6. Motivation often enhances performance. Because of the other effects just identified—goal-directed behavior, effort and energy, initiation and persistence, cognitive processing, and the impact of consequences—motivation often leads to improved performance. As you might guess, then, students who are most motivated to learn and excel in classroom activities tend to be our highest achievers. Conversely, students who have little interest in academic achievement are at high risk for dropping out before they graduate from high school.
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