What is motivation in education?
In education, we often hear about motivation as the driving force that encourages people to learn and to excel in their fields. Yet, many teachers do not recognize motivation as a crucial component of learning. Teachers focus primarily on the techniques they can use in the class rather than explaining what is motivation and how it applies to education. Teachers also often do not connect motivation with student behaviors or choices.
Motivational theories are used to help educators understand human behavior. The theory of positive behaviors supports students’ efforts to succeed rather than focusing on the negative behaviors that can result from poor behavior. The theory of non-custodial parent influences connects children’s behaviors with their parents’ emotional needs. This theory is important for any teacher who is trying to modify student behaviors in order to create positive change and increased achievement.
In education, motivational theories are applied using a few core techniques. First, teachers must learn how to bring in students to participate in the lesson. Once they have developed appropriate ways to bring students into the classroom, they need to connect these strategies with existing theories about motivation. Teachers may want to apply some core strategies in all areas of the lesson plan, or they may choose to focus on one or two strategies. The most effective teachers take all necessary steps to include student involvement in their lesson plan.
A second theory that educators should learn about is reinforcement. This theory is closely related to the motivational theory mentioned above. In this theory, a reward is given when a student does something that helps progress the lesson. For example, if the student shows an interest in the topic, the teacher might give them a small piece of candy.
A third theory that relates to the topic of motivation is cognitive avoidance. The theory of cognitive avoidance connects feelings of motivation to actions that avoid taking responsibility. In other words, if a teacher makes an assignment difficult, students will be more likely to skip it or do nothing about it. In this way, a teacher can help create an atmosphere of responsibility and understanding, which is necessary for motivation.
Finally, extrinsic motivators such as peer pressure, the media, and parents can also be linked to extrinsic motivation, although this particular theory is less well-known. Intrinsic motivation comes from within rather than outside sources. Some research suggests that the intensity of an intrinsic reward can actually cause a person to do more than what they would otherwise do. Intrinsic rewards could include activities such as participating in an extra-curricular activity or writing an essay.
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