The importance of motivation: Motivation is the engine that moves our world. We often talk about our children and students not being motivated in class. It is difficult for them to start studying, you have to be on top of them to do their homework, we fight daily to learn the lesson… However, the name of 300 different Pokémon is learned wonderfully. In this article we explain what motivation is, its importance in learning and education and 10 tips that allow you to increase and encourage motivation in the classroom.
Importance of motivation What is motivation?
Motivation is an internal impulse that directs action toward an end. It underlies the action and drives and guides this action. Without motivation there is no action.
Motivation is very important, because it leads us to actively seek the resources to ensure our subsistence. We are motivated by foraging and eating and looking for a sexual partner. These would be the basic motives, which are innate and manifest themselves regardless of culture.
But we can also be motivated to do our hobbies, favorite activities and by learning. These are the secondary reasons, which depend on the culture.
We are not motivated to learn everything. We may not be motivated by the syllabus of the school/institute/university, but of course there are things that motivate our learning, whether it is the way of life of dolphins, a new recipe or changing a wheel of the car.
Maybe the motivation comes from our own interest in the subject or because we need that knowledge for something (for our work or for our own survival, such as changing a wheel in the car).
In this aspect we can differentiate two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. It is now thought that, more than two different types of motivation, they are two opposites within a continuum, and that they rarely occur in a “purely intrinsic” or “purely extrinsic” way. Intrinsic motivation: occurs when people are internally motivated to do something, because we believe it is important or because we find it pleasurable. Students with this type of motivation will be excited to perform their tasks because of the challenge of completing them, rather than any incentive or reward. Intrinsic motivation decreases as children climb courses. To increase this type of motivation you can make abstract material more concrete and put it within a context. Extrinsic motivation: It appears when a student wants to perform a task due to external factors, such as rewards or punishments. However, it has been seen that punishments produce more harm than good and rewards have the power to create dependency. Therefore, it is best to gradually reduce the rewards, orienting them towards a more intrinsic motivation. The importance of motivation in education
Motivation is the impulse that leads us to act and achieve what we set out to do.
Motivation plays a fundamental role in our learning. According to one study, motivation influences our math performance more than our IQ.
Specifically, the researchers found that intelligence was strongly related to students’ achievement in mathematics, but only in the initial development of competence in the subject. The importance of motivation and study skills were more significant factors in the development of later mathematical skills. Students who felt competent were intrinsically motivated, used skills such as explaining, synthesizing, making connections with other materials, avoided learning by memorization, and showed greater development in mathematics than those who did not feel motivated. Conversely, students’ intelligence is not related to development in mathematics.
Why is it important to keep children motivated by learning? Motivation increases effort and persistence in the task Motivation increases your initiative Motivation improves your cognitive processing skills Motivation improves overall performance How do we know if our children or students are motivated?
According to Rodríguez Moneo, people’s behavior can serve as an indicator to measure motivation. It is a fairly reliable indicator, which teachers can use to estimate the motivation of students and be able to act on it. The preference or choice of one activity over another. If I choose to watch TV and instead of doing homework, my choice reflects my motivation. Latency, that is, the time it takes to produce a response since a stimulation has occurred. The longer we take to start doing the work we have been told to do, the less motivation we will have for the task. The effort, the greater the physical and cognitive resources invested in the development of a task, the greater motivation there will be. Persistence in the task. There will be more motivation the longer the time between the start of a task and its completion. The sooner we give up on the task, the less motivated we will be. The expressive indicators of emotions. The actions we perform are usually accompanied by emotional expressions that indicate the pleasure or displeasure caused by the activity. Attending to the expressions of our students give us a lot of information about motivation.
How do we know if our children are motivated? How to encourage motivation in the classroom? 1. Attitude influences motivation
Research has shown that the interaction between teacher and student is more important to the learning process than structural factors such as educational materials and class size. This relationship between student and teacher is important not only in the early school years, but also later, when the challenges become greater.
According to a study by the University of Eastern Finland a positive and warm atmosphere in the classroom, created by the teacher, increases the child’s motivation to learn.
An empathetic attitude on the part of the teacher, not only protects the image that children have of themselves as students, but also against social exclusion by their peers.
How to encourage motivation?: Shows a positive attitude and mood. Create bonds of affection with students. It shows that you care about them personally, and their learning process. Never ridicule them if they don’t know or understand something. Be empathetic and understanding for them. Use humor and relaxed activities. 2. Value the effort
It is much more important to value the effort than the final product. If they are valued much more the result, they will focus on that, forgetting that for a good product they will need to strive. In addition, many times the result also depends on other factors, such as luck.
How to encourage motivation?: Focus on the learning process of children, encouraging them to strive and rewarding those who try hard: “You are very focused, you can tell you are enjoying”, or “You are trying hard, you are going to learn a lot”. 3. Keep children involved
If children feel that they are useful and that they have responsibilities, they will be much more motivated.
How to encourage motivation?: Give responsibilities to students, make participation in class something fun. Assign each one tasks, such as keeping the classroom collected, cleaning the blackboard, distributing the material… When working in a group, let each one take care of one thing. 4. Use incentives
Although it is more important to reinforce and reward effort, children need certain tangible rewards for a good result. Children are not able to see the long-term benefits of getting good grades and learning, they need more immediate rewards. Incentives motivate them to work and strive, with one goal in mind.