Selasa, 29 Januari 2008

Motivation to Learn

Motivation To Learn
by: Connie Frith

Motivation can be defined as the internal drive directing behaviour towards some end. Motivation helps individuals overcome inertia. Inertia is a property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force. External forces can influence behaviour but ultimately it is the internal force of motivation that sustains behaviour.

Components of the Motivation to Learn

1. Curiousity
People are naturally curious. They seek new experiences; they enjoy learning new things; they find satisfaction in solving puzzles, perfecting skills and developing competence. A major task in teaching is to nurture student curiousity and to use curiousity as a motive for learning.

2. Self-Efficacy
The term self-efficacy can be said the power of positive thinking. Always ask student to believe in their ability to win. Students that harbor doubts of their ability to succeed are not motivated to learn.
Dividing tasks into chunks and providing students with early success is a method of developing confidence in the students. Driscoll call this method as performance accomplishments. There are four possible sources of self-efficacy said Driscoll (1994): performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Vicarious experience is when the learner observes a role model attaining success at a task. Verbal persuasion is often used as others persuade a learner that he or she capable succeeding at a particular task. Physiological states are the “gut feeling” that convinces a student of probable success or failure. For example a student may feel physically sick when they arrive at an exam.

3. Attitude
Every educator has encountered students who are labeled as having a bad attitude. Attitude is an illusive commodity. The attitude of a student toward learning is very much an intrinsic characteristic and is not always demonstrated through behaviours. The positive behaviours exhibited by the student may only occur in the presence of the instructor, and may not be apparent at other times. The behaviour is contrary to the attitude.
Three approaches to attitude change by Fleming and Levie (1993): providing a persuasive message, modeling and reinforcing appropriate behaviour and inducing dissonance between the cognitive, affective and behavioural components of the attitude. They suggest that if a person is induced to perform an act that is contrary to that person’s own attitude, attitude change will result.

4. Need
There are five levels of needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. (1) Physiological –lower level – (2) Safety – lower level – (3) Love and belongings – higher needs – (4) Esteem – higher need – (5) Self-Actualization – higher need. Students will not be ready to learn if they have not had their lower level needs met. Children who are sent to school hungry, are not able to learn. Their lower need must be met first.

5. Competence
Competence is an intrinsic motive for learning that is highly related to self-efficacy. Success in a subject for some students is not enough. For students who lack a sense of efficacy teachers must not only provide situations where success occurs but also give students opportunities to undertake challenging tasks on their own to prove to themselves that they can achieve.
Learning a skill without an understanding of the process is doomed to be lost. External support, respect and encouragement are important for the student to achieve competence. The achievement of competence itself becomes the intrinsic motivating factor.

6. External Motivators
Learning strategies should be flexible, creative and constantly applied. Reinforcement is another form of an external motivator. The value of reinforcement as a motivator is questioned from those who suggest that once the reinforcement is removed the behaviour stops. Critics suggest students must have intrinsic motivation to accomplish certain activities. In intrinsic motivation the “doing” is the main reason for finishing an activity. With extrinsic motivation the value is placed on the ends of the action.
The value of reinforcement is on the road to intrinsic motivation. Students need confidence building reinforcement such as praise and encouragement to guide them. Students can also provide their own self rewards for accomplishing goals they have set.
External motivators must be accepted, valued and endorsed by students. They must feel that their perspectives are valued, and they have opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings.
External conditions that support these internal conditions include; provisions for relevancy, choice, control, challenge, responsibility, competence, personal connection, fun, and support from others in the form of caring, respect and guidance in skill development.” (McCombs, 1996)

Connie Frith
Educational Communications and Technology
University of Saskatchewan