What is Motivation? - ETCSINES

What is Motivation? - ETCSINES

In my attempt at defining the concept of motivation, the first step I would take is to state it expressly that I can not and would not attempt to talk about all that motivation entails, to do this would mean embarking on a long journey of several articles Which is not likely in the end to exhaust the comprehensive concept of motivation.

I would rather deliberately narrow down and focus on the definition and basic underlying principles of motivation. This approach I believe will give enough information to enable the reader to become familiar with the concept of motivation and how it affects our students and their style of reading. Generally, motivation is the reason for people's actions, desires, and needs. Motivation is also one's direction to behavior, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior. A motive is what prompts the person to act in a certain way, or at least develop an inclination for specific behavior. Motivation has some theories and they can be classified into a number of bases:

√. Natural vs.Rational: This approach is based on whether the underlying theory of human cognition is based on natural forces (drives, needs, desires) or some kind of rationality (instrumentality, meaningfulness,self-identity).

√. Content vs. Process: based on whether the focus is on the content ("what") motivates vs process ("how") motivation takes place. Motivation can also be conceived of as a cycle in which thoughts influence behaviors, behaviors drive performance, performance affects thoughts, and the cycle begins again. This plays itself out in the fact that once a student practically crams a lot to take an exam and eventually passed, he or she is motivated to try it another time. Each stage of the cycle is composed of many dimensions including attitudes, beliefs, intentions, effort, and withdrawal which can all affect the motivation that an individual experiences. Most psychological theories hold that motivation exists purely within the individual, but socio-cultural theories express motivation as an outcome of participation in actions and activities within the cultural context of social groups.E.g. Most students adopt the reading style of their colleagues. Motivation can also be Further divided into two different theories known as intrinsic (internal or inherent) motivation and extrinsic (external) motivation.     

√. Intrinsic motivation:  Intrinsic motivation has been studied since the early 1970s. Intrinsic motivation is the self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges, to analyze one's capacity, to observe and to gain knowledge.It is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on external pressures or a desire for consideration.

The two necessary elements for intrinsic motivation are self-determination and an increase in perceived competence. In short, the cause of the behavior must be internal, known as internal local of causality, and the individual who engages in the behavior must perceive that the task increases their competence. Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will increase their capabilities.Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they: attribute their educational results to factors under their own control, also known as autonomy or locus of control. On the other hand, if they believe they have the skills to be effective agents in reaching their desired goals, also known as self-efficacy beliefs. An example of intrinsic motivation is when an employee becomes an IT professional because he or she wants to learn about how computer users interact with computer networks. The employee has the intrinsic motivation to gain more knowledge. Art for art's sake is an example of intrinsic motivation in the domain of art.

√. Extrinsic motivation: It refers to the performance of an activity in order to attain the desired outcome and it is the opposite of intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation specifically applies to the Nigeria context where most students are motivated to cram in order to catch up on the deluge of materials and pass exams. Extrinsic motivation comes from influences outside of the individual.In extrinsic motivation, the harder question to answer is where do people get the motivation to carry out and continue to push with persistence.Usually, extrinsic motivation is used to attain outcomes that a person wouldn't get from intrinsic motivation. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards (for example money or grades) for showing the desired behavior and the threat of punishment following misbehavior. Competition is an extrinsic motivator because it encourages the performer to win and to beat others, not simply to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. A cheering crowd and the desire to win a trophy are also extrinsic incentives. Incentive theory is a specific theory of motivation, derived partly from behaviorist principles of reinforcement, which concerns an incentive or motive to do something. The most common incentive would be a compensation.Compensation can be tangible or intangible, It helps in motivating the employees in their corporate life, students in academics and inspire to do more and more to achieve profitability in every field. Studies show that if the person receives the reward immediately, the effect is greater, and decreases as delay lengthens.

This can really help us understand why a student who passed exams in the first year through cramming is not likely to give it up because of the understanding that the method brought the desired results. Sociocultural theory of motivation emphasizes the impact of activity and actions birthed through social interaction, and within social contexts. An example of socio-cultural theory would be social settings where people work together to solve collective problems, such as athletic teams, study groups, work groups, and civic organization. Although individuals will have internalized goals, they will also develop internalized goals of others, as well as new interests and goals collectively with those that they feel socially connected to. I remember that while in The Nigerian law school some students felt it was proper for them to always go to read when their roommates are going, some of them almost failed and others almost failed because they were only struggling to adopt a style of someone they were socially connected to. They were motivated only by social interaction. There is still so much to talk about in the context of motivation, there are aspects of motivation that we have not even scratched the surface. But it is my considered opinion that the purpose of this write up has been achieved and that is to introduce us to the reasons why some students act in a certain way and readily embrace cramming. I believe this will help us to understand that the motivation that most Nigeria students have to cram is not limited to their person, they glean their motivation from their immediate surrounding, from their fellow students, from the need to achieve a particular result and from the society at large.

Thank you.

Writer: Tola Arawomo

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