Creating the Conditions for Student Motivation

When students feel more motivated to learn, they perform better academically, improve classroom behavior, and gain a higher sense of self-esteem.

the overwhelming research on reward undermining that demonstrates why a reliance on extrinsic motivation should not be on that list:

Extrinsic motivation can be effective over the short term in encouraging mechanical tasks and compliance, but tends to be destructive in advancing creative and higher-order thinking.

Extrinsic motivators, though possibly effective in the short term to gain compliance to do a task, tend to diminish intrinsic motivation for that same activity over the long-term.

A recent study of 200,000 employees found that that those who were more intrinsically motivated were three times more engaged in their work than those who focused more on external rewards.

extrinsic motivators have their place, but they must also be kept in their place.

So if extrinsic motivation is not one of those above-mentioned conditions for growth, what is on the list?

four elements combine to nurture intrinsic motivation:

Autonomy: having a degree of control over what needs to happen and how it can be done

Competence: feeling that one has the ability to be successful in doing it

Relatedness: doing the activity helps them feel more connected to others, and feel cared about by people whom they respect

Relevance: the work must be seen by students as interesting and valuable to them, and useful to their present lives and/or hopes and dreams for the future.


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