Friday, November 9, 2012

Behavior Theory of Motivation

The behavior theory of motivation uses reinforcement to help motivate the students. When used correctly, the reinforcement will help students connect their actions with what they are doing correctly. Hence, they are more likely to copy this action again in a similar situation. In the behavior theory of motivation, two types of motivation are present. One type, intrinsic motivation, is what teachers would love all students to have. It is the students natural curiosity that makes them eager to learn. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is when students perform a task or complete an assignment because they will get a sicker or prize etc. Because intrinsic motivation is so important, often times extrinsic motivation is used to encourage intrinsic motivation. For example, a teacher might use the indoor recess option as a motivator for students to complete work. However, this can be taken in the wrong way, where students might just rush through their work. To keep this from occurring, a few factors should be kept in mind.

Factors that affect the perception of the reward:

  • The purpose of the reward
  • How the students perceive the reward
  • The context in which the reward is given

Some guidelines that will not affect intrinsic motivation but will help encourage it would be:

  • Only present the award/sticker to the student if they actually deserve it
  • Use unexpected rewards sparingly
  • Use rewards only when necessary so students do not use that as their only reason to work
I actually just helped my teacher with encouraging intrinsic motivation today when I went to teach. The students were working on their morning work and I was assigned the great task of giving a sticker to the students who were working quietly and diligently. A few of the students did this very well, and I gave them a sticker and said, "Thank you for workings so hard and quietly." They continued to work in this manner. However, other students saw that I was handing out stickers for being a "model student" (as they call it) and began to also work quietly and diligently. This shows that the sticker was used to help encourage intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation. 

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