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Educational Psychology - How Would You as a Teacher Encourage Intrinsic Motivation in Students?

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Essay Topic (Unit 10 - Question #3)

How would you as a teacher encourage intrinsic motivation in students?

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation can be defined as "motivation associated with activities that are their own reward" (Perry 2003). It is motivation that stems from your inner feelings and views which feed your desires to accomplish and perform. Oppositely, extrinsic motivation is "motivation created by external factors such as rewards and punishments" (Perry 2003). When you are extrinsically motivated, you are only performing the task for what you will gain from completion. On the other hand, when we are intrinsically motivated, there is no requirement for external rewards or punishments because the activity is a reward in itself. It is a benefit for students to be intrinsically motivated in the classroom because they are leaning for knowledge and not just for marks or grades. Most students are naturally extrinsically motivated at school by things such as grades and their future career. In a perfect world we "want students to be motivated also by the love of learning, knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and positive feelings about themselves" (McKinney).

One way of intrinsically motivating students is to "foster student autonomy" (Specific Classroom Management Methods). Students are more motivated to do things they enjoy than things they do not enjoy. By giving students options and choices, they are feeling in control more than when they are boxed in to the instructions they are normally given. Something as simple as letting the child decide what order they want to do a series of tasks in could make a large difference. One way of fostering independence could be done by giving students a choice from a selection of different books to read. When studying a particular subject, let the students choose what kind of project they would like to do (report, presentation or model). If there are multiple ways of doing something, show the students the different methods so that they can explore and figure out which one works best for them. As a teacher, "Help students understand how they learn most effectively" (McKinney). Have students keep a journal where they can write down what they've learned from completing assignments.

Minimizing pressure is also and important aspect of fostering autonomy. An interesting approach to learning which can be fun is "The Jigsaw method [which] is effective for eliminating competition" (Specific Classroom Management Methods). This is a method where you split the class into learning groups to learn about a particular aspect of a general topic. Once the children master their aspect, the groups get shuffled up so that there is a master from each aspect to teach the others in the group they have been assigned to. Everyone's knowledge is compiled together to gain a full understanding of the general topic. This also shows the students that they can learn from their peers and use them as resources. Another way of minimizing pressure is to put less emphasis on grades. One way of doing this could be to create a folder for each student where they will put what they see as being their best work. When going through their folder, "Focus on progress and demonstrated learning in their work" (Specific Classroom Management Methods). Show the student how much they have improved with time.

A second way to intrinsically motivate students is to "understand the children" (Specific Classroom Management Methods). Originality and creativity should be encouraged in all students. Make a point to give students opportunities to express themselves in different ways. Each child is unique and self-expression is a great way to learn about each and every student. When starting the year, "Knowing what background your students bring to class and starting the course at an appropriate level can increase a students success and...positive feelings they have about your subject matter" (McKinney). Students each have their own goals and you must learn what these goals are in order to support them in their means of getting there. It is important to provide individual feedback for each student so that they know how they are doing. It is important that you "Work with each child to understand their expectations for success. Do not hold the same criteria for each child" (Specific Classroom Management Methods). You must make a criterion for success and show them how to attain it. Each student will have different interests and it is important to sit back and watch sometimes when children have free time. Lessons need to be stimulating for the students to be interested so it helps if you know what their interests are.

A third way to intrinsically motivate students is to "engage curriculum" (Specific Classroom Management Methods). You can do



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