Essay about Motivation

Extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation is the motivation that comes from the outside. The factors that influence a person are external. Extrinsically motivated person gets pleasure not from the process of doing something, but from the rewards he or she will receive. This means that one has little interest in the task or performing the task provides less satisfaction than the rewards. The rewards can be in the form of a smiley face, grades at school or college, salary at work, fortune or fame, etc.

Intrinsic motivation, on the contrary, comes from the inside of a person. Intrinsically motivated person gets pleasure and sense of satisfaction in completing the task. Such person will work because the process of doing something is enjoyable. He or she will work for solution, but not because they will get a reward since the search of solution is what matters for them.

However, intrinsically motivated person can strive for the reward for their work too, as well as the extrinsically motivated one can like what he or she does. The difference is that in two cases people are motivated by different factors, and the other factor is just not enough to put an effort into the task.

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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

According to Maslow, people are motivated by their needs. In this way, when some of them are fulfilled, a person starts to fulfill the next ones.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has five levels. The psychologist divides all needs into deficiency (basic) needs and growth needs. At the bottom of the pyramid are the physiological needs (air, drink, food, sleep, sex, warmth). The next stage includes safety needs (security, protection, stability, absence of fear, order, etc.). The third stage is presented by love and belongingness needs (love, friendship, intimacy, affection), which are fulfilled with the help of other people, namely, family, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. The last but one level presents esteem needs, which mean that people need independence and self-respect. They need status, prestige, and respect from others. The mentioned four levels are the basic needs, while the last stage is presented by the growth needs. These are self-actualization needs. Every individual needs to realize his or her personal potential, seeks for personal growth and gains experience.

The main idea of Maslow is that needs motivate people if they are unmet. In order to meet higher-level needs, one must fulfill the lower level ones. In this way, the highest level (self-actualization) can be reached only if all of the basic needs are satisfied. For example, it is impossible to move towards the highest level if a person does not love and is not loved, or does not feel esteem and respect from others. Such person will feel unhappy. As a result, it will be impossible for them to actualize themselves and become the one they could become in the other case.

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Attribution Theory

An achievement-related event to be discussed is my unsuccessful tries to read a book, which my friend has recommended me (the title of the book does not matter). Undertaking attribution search, I try to understand what happened, and why I did not manage to read the book. According to Weiner’s theory, the attribution is less important than its characteristics, namely, locus, stability, and controllability. Speaking about the locus, it needs to be defined whether the cause is perceived as internal or external to me. I believe that I failed to read the book because the language of the author was too complex. Thus, the cause is external since the author’s language does not depend on me. If I consider the fact that the genre of the book is not to my liking, the cause may be defined as internal because the problem is in my personal preferences.

The stability refers to whether the cause changes with the situation or time. In this way, if I believe that I failed to read the book because it was difficult for me to understand its content, the cause is stable if I believe that my views will remain the same. In contrast, if I think that I failed to read the book because I had not much time or desire, the cause is unstable because the absence of time is definitely a temporary factor. The same situation is with the desire. It is possible that one day I will find the book interesting for me and I will read it.

The controllability refers to whether the cause is under control or not. If I believe that I will not be able to understand the book because I do not have enough experience, the cause is controllable because I can spend time reading and puzzling out this book. However, if I feel that I failed to read this book because the topic was out of my interests, the cause is uncontrollable since the content of the book will not be changed, as well as the words it is written in.

Motivational strategies listed in the mnemonic TARGET

The mnemonic TARGET stands for six motivational strategies: task, autonomy, recognition, grouping, evaluation, and time.

T – Tasks

Tasks that students do in the classroom can successfully contribute to intrinsic motivation. If the students feel confident that they can succeed, they will do the tasks with interest. In order to motivate, a teacher must give interesting tasks, which will operate on the emotional level.

A – Autonomy

A teacher should give choices of the assignments. In this situation, students have a sense of control over the issues they learn. Besides, a teacher can ask the students to work in small groups independently. As a result, students become more interested in the subject.

R – Recognition

Recognition is an extrinsic reward. In order to motivate students, a teacher must give positive feedback if they are deserved. If the outcomes are poor, it is right to tell how they can be improved.

G – Grouping

If a teacher allows students to work in groups, he or she fulfills their need to socialize. It definitely influences motivation because usually students like working in groups. If the interaction within the group is based on cooperation and self-respect, the results of such work will satisfy both a teacher and the students.

E – Evaluation

It is essential for every student to be evaluated honestly. Grades, being good extrinsic motivation, allow a teacher to leave feedback, which, in its turn, fulfill the students’ needs for esteem.

T – Time

A teacher should be accurate about the time he or she allocated to different activities. Besides, the process of learning must be scheduled in the way that is suitable for students. For example, tests must be short enough, and working in groups must not take the whole class.