The Importance of Motivation: What Is It and Tips to Promote It
The importance of motivation: motivation is the motor that moves our world. You may often hear about a lack of motivation at school or at work, where people have difficulty studying, doing homework, staying focused, or getting work done, but the same kids have no problem learning all 300 Pokemon. It’s not up to cognitive abilities in this case. In this article, we’ll talk about what motivation is, the importance of motivation in school, and 10 ways to improve motivation at school.
The Importance of Motivation: What is Motivation?
Motivation is an internal impulse that brings us to complete an action. Without motivation, there is no action.
Motivation is important because it is what causes us to actively look for resources to guarantee our success. While some motivation requires a conscious effort, others, like looking for food, eating, and finding a sexual partner are innate motives that we are born with and allow us to stay alive. Secondary motives keep us motivated to do activities and learn, which depend on each person’s culture.
Anyone who has struggled through the dreaded History, Chemistry, Math, or English class knows that not everyone is motivated to learn the same things. You might find that sitting through English class was a breeze, but your classmate struggled to read all of the books in time for the exam. Maybe you can learn a recipe with ease, or maybe you learned how to build an engine on your own. These kinds of tasks show your motivation to learn and can highlight an important part of your learning process.
Motivation may come from your own interest, or it may come out of necessity (having to learn something for work or survival, like changing a car tire).
In this aspect, we can talk about two different types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. These two ideas might not be two different ideas after all, but rather opposites of the same idea, and are rarely ever “purely intrinsic” or “purely extrinsic”.
- Intrinsic motivation: This kind of motivation occurs when you are internally motivated to do something because you believe that it is important or because you enjoy doing it. Students with this kind of motivation will be happy and excited to do their homework because they find it an exciting challenge, even though they might not receive any reward or compensation. Intrinsic motivation may wane through schooling as children are required to learn subjects that may be of little or no interest to them. In order to improve this kind of motivation, it’s possible to make abstract material more concrete and put it in context.
- Extrinsic motivation: This kind of motivation is when a student wants to study or learn because of external factors, like punishment or reward. However, it’s been shown that punishment is more harmful than helpful, and that rewards have the potential to create a type of dependency. For this reason, it’s best to give less and less rewards while building intrinsic motivation.
The Importance of Motivation in education
Motivation is the impulse that brings us to carry-out and achieves what we propose and plays a large role in learning. According to a study, motivation influences math performance more than IQ.
Researchers found that while IQ is a factor in the successful acquisition of math, it mostly applies to the basic concepts that you learn in early schooling. Motivation and study skills become more of a determining factor as you continue to develop math skills. The students that felt competent were intrinsically motivated to learn, and used skills like explaining, synthesizing, and making connections to other materials, while avoiding memorization.
The Importance of Motivation: Why is it pertinent to keep children motivated to learn?
- Motivation improves persistence and effort
- Motivation improves initiative
- Improves cognitive processing skills
- Motivation improves overall performance
The Importance of Motivation: how can you tell if your kids or students are motivated?
According to Rodriguez Moneo, behavior can be an accurate barometer for motivation. Measuring behavior and comparing it to other students or times of the day can be a reliable to check on students’ motivation throughout the day. The importance of motivation and measuring it in students is key in a successful learning environment. Check for these signs to see if your students are motivated.
- Preference or choice of one choice over another. If I choose to watch TV instead of doing my homework, my choice will reflect my motivation level.
- Latency, or the time it takes to create a response to a stimulation. The longer it takes you to do a task, the less motivation.
- Effort. The more physical and cognitive resources invested in the task, the more motivation there is.
- Persistence. There is usually more motivation when the takes longer to finish a task and do it well. The sooner you give up, the less motivated you are.
- Expressive indicators of emotions. Actions are usually accompanied by emotional expressions that indicate pleasure or displeasure that the action causes. Being aware of your student’s expressions can give a good indicator of their motivation.
Watch a motivational video from a person that dropped out of high school and then realized that through education anything is possible.
The importance of Motivation: How can you improve motivation in the classroom?
1. Attitude influences motivation
Research has shown that the interaction between her and student is more important than structural factors like educational materials or class size. This relationship between student and teacher begins when they start school and is just as important as the student advances and the academic challenges become more difficult.
According to a study at the University of Eastern Finland, a warm and positive atmosphere can help improve children’s motivation to learn.
An empathetic teacher doesn’t only help protect the student’s image of themselves as student, but it also helps prevent social exclusion by classmates. Teacher burnout can lead to a downfall in motivation and the students can be affected by the teacher’s anxiety symptoms and job stress.
How can you promote motivation?: Show your students that you’re positive and excited about learning. Create ties and connect with your students. Make sure they know that you care about them and their academic success. Be sure to stay away from embarrassing or criticizing them if they don’t understand anything, and be empathetic and understanding with them.
2. Value their effort
It’s more important to value effort than the final product. If you put too much importance on the finished product, you’ll forget to reinforce all of the hard work that the student has put in.
How can you promote motivation?: Concentrate on the child’s learning process and encourage and reward them for a working hard. “You’re concentrating really well and I can tell that you’re enjoying it!”, or “You’re working really hard, you’re going to learn a lot today”.
3. Keep the children involved
If children feel useful and involved, they’ll feel responsible and more motivated.
How can you promote motivation?: Give students responsibilities and make participating in class fun. Give each student a task, like keeping the classroom organized, cleaning the whiteboard, handing out material, etc. When your students work together, they’ll feel responsible and motivated to get their task done.
4. Use incentives
While it’s important to reinforce and reward effort, children need tangible things to reward a job well done. Children aren’t always able to understand the long-term benefits of getting good grades and learning- they need instant feedback. Incentives motivate them to work hard and really try because they’ll be thinking about their final goal.
How can you promote motivation?: Recognize little wins and reward them. In the classroom, this may mean special privileges or little things like stickers. However, it’s important they’re rewarded when it really matters, or else they won’t see these kind of rewards as special, but rather commonplace and expected. Ideally, you’ll wait some time between each reward. For example, you could give one reward a day in Kindergarten, but should wait about a week for older children.
As time goes on, try to give less and less prizes so that they don’t get used to getting them and start to expect rewards. Rather than objects, give them a smile or a high five.
5. Change things up
Kids get bored easily, and if they’re not adequately stimulated in the classroom, you could see behavioral issues and lack of motivation, even if their cognitive abilities are at normal levels. Kids are especially used to technology and the constant stimulation of games.
How can you promote motivation?: Be creative. Teach using games and activities, have them argue and interact with one another. Passive learning is not only boring, but has been shown to be ineffective. Think about using photographs, videos, movies, murals, etc.
6. Explain why it’s important
Kids can often lose motivation if they don’t know how what they’re learning relates to the “real” world. This is why it’s so important to explain why they’ll need to know what they’re learning.
How can you promote motivation?: You can create an introduction to each section that talks about real-world application. This way they’ll start the chapter knowing what they’re learning about and why it’s useful.
7. Don’t talk down
“Talking down” to kids and making them feel stupid, slow, or lazy will only hurt their motivation and upset them. Using names and labels like these can damage their self-esteem and make them feel useless.
How can you promote motivation?: Try to avoid using negative labels, and instead talk about their strengths. Make sure they understand that just because they’re not the best at one thing, doesn’t mean that they’re a failure, it just means that they have other strengths.
8. Use CogniFit, leader in brain-based learning platforms
Brain-based learning is based on a new vision for learning, which takes cognitive research and applies it to the classroom, allowing to analyze and improve learning processes. CogniFit is a leader in brain-based learning and has a program that was specifically designed for educators around the globe.
What are the different parts of the brain?
CogniFit’s technology is based on neuroplasticity or the idea that the brain is malleable and can be trained and changed. The program and activities are easy to use and fun for the user. The clinical brain games can be played on a computer, tablet, or phone, and is a brain training solution for professionals who don’t have the specific training required for other types of cognitive training.
How can you promote motivation?: CogniFit identifies each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and motivation, and helps to improve and train the skills that need work. By improving some cognitive skills, the student has a better chance of performing well in school and thus improving motivation.
9. Help manage anxiety
Many children have a hard time staying motivated because they’re anxious and worried that they will fail or perform poorly.
How can you improve motivation?: Be calm and make sure they know that failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Making mistakes helps you learn better and think of new ways to solve a certain problem.
10. Show them how to be motivated
It’s great to motivate children, but it’s even better if they learn how to motivate themselves.
How can you promote motivation?: Help them think of reasons why they should want to learn what they’re learning. Is it going to help them in the real world? Will it be important when they go to college? Will it benefit them in their day-to-day lives?
Do you have any questions? Leave me a comment below 🙂
This article was originally written in Spanish and was translated by Molly Minchew
Psicóloga General Sanitaria y sexóloga. Deseosa de mejorar la calidad de vida de las personas mediante la práctica clínica y la comunicación a través de la red.