What Are the Types of Motivation in Education? 2 Absolute Spines in Learning

Motivation is crucial to increasing student achievement. And keeping students motivated is easier said than done. It can be indeed a tough grind for teachers.  A teacher like me couldn’t help but ask: What are the types of motivation in education?

“Successful and unsuccessful people,” according to John Maxwell, “do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”

learning the types of student motivation

As teachers, let’s help our students awaken those desires so they can realize their full potential. I believe each of us is empowered to inspire our students and to make a difference in their lives.

Unmotivated students make part of the peaks and valleys in teaching. But it should not make us feel less than inspired as teachers. They really need that extra encouragement from us to develop their self-esteem so they’ll be extending their utmost.

Also, knowing the types of motivation in education, our responsibility of engaging students to learn at their best can be relatively smooth and straightforward. Not only will it strengthen students’ will to increase their performance but also can help them thrive in the learning space.

Gain an understanding of each type as a kick-start to give students the best inspiration they need to keep going.

What Are the Types of Motivation in Education?

Notably, motivation is fundamental to help students believe in their abilities that they can perform better and that they are more capable of high-quality learning. It’s the best ingredient to the recipe for successful student learning.

For this, let’s talk about the two general types of motivation and their examples so we can have a fuller grasp of how to keep our students engaged and interested in learning.

Hopefully, this can heighten our desires to develop #1 of the two broad types of motivation.

Let’s dive in!

#1 Intrinsic Motivation

“Intrinsic motivation”, said Joanna Jast, “comes from within you and is powered by your own dreams, aspirations, wants, and wishes.”

a teacher mentoring a child

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

Take my warmest thoughts about this. Intrinsic motivation is what successful people have in common.

And keeping students motivated and engaged is our incredible skill as teachers. It’s the first step for students to realize that inner drive to keep going.

Indeed, it’s an important skill that all teachers must develop to improve student performance. We need to develop in them an innate love for learning. It needs hard work, but it’s really worth it.

Cultivating student motivation can be overwhelming knowing the varied learning needs and interests of students.

However, we can inspire them to develop an inherent love for learning. Although it’s innate, we can encourage students to become active participants in learning by making our instructions engaging.

According to psychologists Ryan and Deci (2000) as mentioned in the research article, What is Intrinsic Motivation? A Typology of Computational Approaches, “Intrinsic motivation is defined as the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than for some separable consequence.”

When students develop the desire to learn for learning’s sake and not because they will be given awards and certificates, they are ultimately concerned about their education.

When students enjoy doing lab experiments and exploring the materials because they want to develop life skills and become lifelong learners, they understand that education is the path to become successful.  That even without the constant prompting of the teacher, the students exhibit autonomy in learning.

See what happens there? That’s the strength of intrinsic motivation.

That’s how it works.

How to develop intrinsic motivation in our students?

Key Points:

Quality, Hook, Check Mark, Ticked OffTo increase student engagement, we must be careful in framing the learning objectives so students are directed to what they really need to master. Carrying out learning goals using hands-on experiences and problem-solving assessments will encourage the students to put in their best efforts to be creative and intrinsic drive.

Quality, Hook, Check Mark, Ticked OffIn a lesson, students are more interested if they are given equal learning opportunities. Learning activities should incorporate collaborative tasks so students demonstrate their skills and share their ideas in a group. Furthermore, doing this can typically give students excellent choices for improvement.

Quality, Hook, Check Mark, Ticked OffIn the classroom, students should be helped to gain autonomy in learning but without disregarding the use of constructive feedback. Make it immediate so students are guided and they feel your support. Moreover, it’s the key for students to craft their own academic goals.

And that is academic independence.

Quality, Hook, Check Mark, Ticked OffIntrinsic motivation teaches students how to persevere and rise above the challenges. Because they own the inner drive to excel, they experience a series of successes and failures along the way. And you should allow them to experience those because that’s the real world. Train them to be tough and persistent.

As teachers, we should carefully plan learning opportunities to encourage students’ creativity and positive perceptions.

It goes without saying that intrinsic motivation empowers students to a deeper love for learning.

When a student, for example, yearns to develop his language fluency, then even the absence of external factors, he will get interested in vocabulary drills and learning the etymology of words.

That’s because the motivation is deep within. It’s intrinsic. The aim for personal growth fuels the student’s desire to learn.

When students are intrinsically motivated, they are passionate to learn and explore. It’s because they are driven by internal desires to learn and become successful.

They own that inner push to learn and to get engaged in the learning environment to satisfy their curiosity and aspirations. With that, they are never afraid to choose and to try again many times before achieving anything.

#2 Extrinsic Motivation

meaning of extrinsic motivation

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is incentive-driven.  Being given additional points for good performance in the classroom is external motivation.

This is what really prevails in most classrooms. Why?

Because using external factors to keep students going and working is easier than the first type of motivation. But, unfortunately, its effects are not long-lasting.

Using this motivation, students are encouraged to perform in the classroom because they are driven by external factors such as rewards, incentives, compliments, and even punishment.

“The best group will earn additional 10 points in their performance outputs”, says a teacher who is using extrinsic motivation.

“And for those who submit their outputs late will be given a demerit,” says a teacher who utilizes punishment to keep students’ work at their best.

In other words, extrinsic motivation is all about operant conditioning for the execution of things will be based on rewards and consequences.

For one thing, students will complete tasks, whether hard or easy because they are after the things given to them. Exactly, for certain conditions that are pleasurable for them.

Learn more about motivational techniques here!

Key Points:

Quality, Hook, Check Mark, Ticked OffStudents have high regard for learning for a certain period of time and aim for task completions because of certain factors like they want to please their teachers and parents, or earn good grades and be awarded medals and certificates.

Quality, Hook, Check Mark, Ticked OffStudents are attentive to class discussions and participate in group activities because they’re afraid of the consequence just in case they don’t do so.

Quality, Hook, Check Mark, Ticked OffExtrinsic motivation is pushing students to accomplish things out of certain factors and external conditions. Generally, they may be interested, but it’s inconstant.

Which is more profound and essential?

I believe that intrinsic motivation is for long-term engagement and its effects are lasting. And it should be developed in our learners while they are still young. Notably, when they realize the best results of their actions if they are fueled by their inner passion to do so, they are more encouraged to study.

They should develop a genuine interest to learn not because you tell them to do so. And we should help them magnify their interest to learn the materials.

On the other hand, when you are teaching pre-schoolers where childish enjoyments are most appealing, using extrinsic motivation is more effective.  These are the little learners who enjoy lollipops, sweets, and rewards.

Nonetheless, I am not closing my doors for extrinsic motivation as it’s somewhat really needed to increase student engagement.  In my view, the use of rewards and punishment is not destructive for as long as it’s about the achievement of clear learning objectives.

It is at this level that we see the efficacy of using rewards and consequences, so our kids are interested to read and write.

In a particular study, Relationship between Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation for Learning, it’s specifically mentioned that “…there is a good evidence that rewards have a strong influence on the students’ motivation for learning and high creative outcomes.”

However, it’s still dependent on the external factors we utilize.

As you can see both types of motivation are suitable for different situations. That’s why as teachers, we should be aware of our student’s interests and perceptions so we know how to handle their schemes.

Evidently, as teachers, we should exercise a balance of motivational strategies to the maximum. And that we should consider the impact of motivators both value-based and external approaches on student learning.

In Essence

All in all, as teachers, we have to consider that students have their unique way of getting motivated. We ought to respect that, but we should not allow disconnected and unmotivated students.

With an increased student engagement, students find meaning in content and the best application of the curriculum to enhance lifelong skills – the 21st-century skills.  The application of the most appropriate motivation technique gives students the boost to get things done with excellence.

The most appropriate motivational technique is the key to increasing student engagement and improving student performance.  When students are excited about the materials they learn, for sure, they’ll love every learning activity prepared for them.

What we need actually is an equilibrium. Don’t kill student motivation by doing what’s easy. Practically, we can’t eliminate external factors, nor can we underestimate what’s inside.

It all comes down to weighing things down and the best applications of the techniques.

In my experience, I believe, we need to have both! What do you think?

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