The knowledge of how to stimulate the students to participate meaningfully in classroom will go a long way in assisting the teachers. This unit therefore provides the learners the opportunity to understand different theories of motivation and how to apply these theories to their day-to-day classroom teaching/learning activities.
a. Motivation in learning
Motivation can be defined as an inspiration that propels someone into an action. It is an internal state or condition that activates and gives direction to our thoughts, feelings, and actions (Lahey, 1995). In the opinion of Oladele (1998), motivation is a process by which the learner’s internal energies are directed toward various goal objects in his/her environment. These energies or arousals push an individual in achieving his goals. An individual may be highly motivated to perform well in a task and completely unmotivated in another. This means that when people are motivated, they will work tirelessly to achieve their aspirations.
Maslow (1970) believed that motivation leads to growth and development, and that need satisfaction is the most important sole factor underlying motivation. Maslow furthered explained that man is perpetually in needs and that the resources to satisfy those needs are limited. In view of this, man places his/her wants on the scale of preference, that he/she selects the most pressing need. After this need has been satisfied, it becomes less important, paving way for the next on the rank.
The needs of man may either be primary or secondary. Primary needs are the physiological wants of man. It may be the need for water, rest, sexual intercourse, hunger and thirst. Secondary needs are the desire for autonomy, affection, or the need for safety and security. For example, the desire of a labourer to take a glass of water after thirst is a primary need. At the same time, craving of the students to stay in a serene classroom environment is a secondary need.
There are two types of motivation or arousals. They can either be internally or externally driven. The desire for food or sex arises from within us (intrinsic), while the yearning to obtain recognition or approval is influenced by the conditions in our environment (extrinsic). In view of the above explanation, motivation is divided into intrinsic and extrinsic.
1. Intrinsic Motivation in learning : Is an internal force or motive within the individual which propels him/her into emitting certain behaviour. It is an innate or genetically predetermined disposition to behave in a particular way when he/she faces a particular situation. This type of motivation can make an individual to have the feelings of self-confidence and competence (Deci and Ryan, 1985). A student who is intrinsically motivated may carry out a task because of the enjoyment he/she derives from such a task. In another way, a dog that sees a bone and runs for it, did that because of the satisfaction it derives from eating bone. This type of behaviour does not require any prior learning. Sighting the bone changes the behaviour of the dog and propels it to act.
2. Extrinsic Motivation in learning : Is the external or environmental factor which sets the individual’s behaviour into motion. It is the incentive that drives an individual’s behaviour towards a goal. A student that is extrinsically motivated will execute an action in order to obtain some reward or avoid some sanctions. For example, a student who read hard for the examination did so because of the desire to obtain better grade.
The case also goes for a runner who wants to win a prize, he/she will need constant practice than a person who wants to run for the fun of it. Extrinsic rewards should be used with caution because they have the potential for decreasing exiting intrinsic motivation. For example extrinsic incentive may spur a student to actively participate in the task for which the student has no interest, but may undermine intrinsic and continuing motivation in him/her (Deci et al, 1985). Therefore, students’ motivation automatically has to do with the students’ desire to participate in the learning process. It also concerns the reasons or goals that underlie their involvement or non-involvement in academic activities.