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MOTIVATION 1 and 2 See webpage for listing of readings associated with this topic). This PPT is in two parts: Initial part focusses on theories and data.

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Presentation on theme: "MOTIVATION 1 and 2 See webpage for listing of readings associated with this topic). This PPT is in two parts: Initial part focusses on theories and data."— Presentation transcript:

1 MOTIVATION 1 and 2 See webpage for listing of readings associated with this topic). This PPT is in two parts: Initial part focusses on theories and data from psychology. Second part is classroom considerations (see themes A and B, next slide)

2 TWO RELATED THEMES A. What can teachers do to assist student motivation to learn? B. What are the major theories of motivation than apply to student learning? Lectures will focus moreso upon B. But in pracs, you can cover A, especially in the second prac session. We expect the two pracs to overlap, which is a good aspect.

3 WHY ARE COMPUTER GAMES SO MOTIVATING? CHALLENGE- adjustment of difficulty level to prior performance. CURIOSITY- "what happens when I do this?" SENSE OF CONTROL- "what I do controls something". FANTASY- wonderful imagery, things to look at, noises, multi-media, etc EXPLICIT RECOGNITION OF SUCCESS- immediate feedback principles. CHANCE TO COMPETE OR COOPERATE GOAL SETTING-personal best expressed via numbers or levels.

4 What motives do we have? Those that stem from our basic animal tendencies. Those that stem from social and cultural needs. Baumeister, R. F. (2005). The cultural animal: Human nature, meaning and social life. New York: Oxford University Press.

5 Our animal needs include: Pleasure/ pain Food Self-preservation (avoid injury) Understanding and control of environment Money Power, possessions, territory

6 Our social and cultural needs include: Belongingness (identity, control of sex and aggression). Nurturance, generativity, and helping. Self-esteem maintenance. Morality. Success (as defined by the individual). Meaningful life.

7 The self-esteem industry The National Association for Self-esteem represents the traditional humanistic approach. Also see for a blog wherein you can get free ‘psychological’ advice on enhancing your self-esteem. Contrast to view from social psychology. Represented by Roy Baumeister, recent papers in journals such as Scientific American, and Psychological Science in the Public Interest. (note: quite good coverage in Wikipedia) esteem#_note-5 esteem#_note-5

8 Link to Baumeister paper 11BE-AD B7F BE-AD B7F0000 (He and his team have published in Scienfic American twice: Unfortunately it was ‘free’, but no longer, and the UNISA Library gets you there, but minus the graphs and pictures) Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger,J. I., & Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does high self esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4, 1–44.

9 A Classic Self-esteem Scale (Rosenberg; uses Likert 5-pts) At times I think I am no good at all. I take a positive view of myself. All in all, I am inclined to feel I am a failure. I wish I could have more respect for myself. I am able to do things as well as most other people. I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself. I feel I do not have much to be proud of. I feel that I have a number of good qualities. I certainly feel useless at times.

10 Findings from research: 1 reasonably (a) The majority of people do in fact have reasonably high levels of self-esteem, even those we may arbitrarily label people “low self-esteem” in experiments. (b) Self-esteem correlates with many measures of achievement, motivation, exam success, adjustment, happiness, mental health and absence of social pathology, low anxiety, and general social success. HOWEVER,,,,,,,

11 Findings from research: 2 (c) Correlations between esteem and other factors are statistically low. Hence, many people are highly successful without showing high on self-esteem measures. (d) There is no solid evidence showing self-esteem as an antecedent factor in achieving (ie predicting) favourable outcomes. In statistical terms, changes in self-esteem tend to follow rather than precede changes within other dimensions. FURTHER,…..

12 Findings from research: 3 (e) Large body of research has documented a ‘dark side’ to high levels of self-esteem (E.g. crime, inconsiderate and anti-social behaviour, bullying, narcissism, and sexual experimentation, and in-group bias effects). (E.g. Baumeister’s work on violent pride. People are aggressive when feedback fails to match up to a person’s self-rated worth. In this regard, high self-esteem becomes a personality liability to be protected at all costs).

13 Diverging views on self- esteem: A and B. A: It represents an essential component of well-being that has to be nurtured, protected, built-up, and respected. It mediates our entire functioning. B: it is simply a meter, just like a petrol gauge, and no more. The only impact it has directly is upon your happiness.


15 Bandura’s approach: Three levels of confidence A. Global self-esteem General, holistic feelings B. Perceived Competencies Applies within significant life domains (Are you good at music? Or cricket? School?) C. Self-efficacy Situation-specific judgements made in response to tasks

16 WHAT IS SELF-EFFICACY? The belief that the NEXT TASK within your life is one you can succeed or achieve upon. It’s a judgement, takes place in REAL TIME. (maybe a second or longer?) It is not what you are, not what you have, not what you want to be, not what your think of yourself. It is a judgement where you match your capabilities, as you can recall them, to this task that life has thrown in front of you.

17 CONSEQUENCES OF SELF- EFFICACY JUDGEMENTS Willingness to select difficult tasks Level of effort expenditure Response to setbacks (ie adjustments in effort) Emotional thought reactions (whether adaptive or maladaptive cognition is activated)

18 WHERE DOES SELF- EFFICACY COME FROM? Past experience and knowledge: ie the remembered history of success in relevant situations. Vicarious experience: ie the impact of salient models of action, strategy, and perceived consequences. Verbal information or persuasion Physical state

19 Bandura’s theory of goals LESS EFFECTIVEMORE EFFECTIVE Targets vagueTargets specific Long term focusSeries of linked short term goals Too easy, or hardModerate difficulty Set by externalSet by self External rewardsPersonal pride To impress others (ego orientation) To learn new skills (task orientation)

20 So, what theories do we have? That all our motives relate to high self-esteem (dubious validity). That we set goals, albeit unconsciously (Bandura). That the type of goal we set is critical especially in contexts where we might fail (e.g. Dweck’ mindset theory, entity vs incremental views). That we need to protect our feeling of self-worth (Covington). That we need to feel in control (Self- determination, Deci).

21 Findings from research with goal theories (A) Although both can be very strong motivational sources, task-involvement is a much "safer" source of motivation, as ego-orientation makes us emotionally vulnerable. (B) Younger children naturally tend toward task- involvement, with a "conflict" coming in perhaps by 9 to 10 years. (But many young children still cannot cope with failure). (C) Although the two dispositions are not primarily correlated with ability, it is apparent that many high achievers have BOTH dispositions together. (D) Some classrooms may have unacceptably high levels of ego-threat operating, which drives students into ego- orientation.

22 Ego orientation is promoted when (A) there is a period of “trying” but without success. (B) task demands exceed current skill capacities. (C) performance is public. (D) others are seen to be doing better. (E) competition is emphasised. (F) almost perversely, when others (eg teachers) express sympathy for your failures.

23 Task involvement (learning goals) occurs when (A) person already has requisite knowledge and strategies for the task, and so can shift attention away from self-focus. (B) teacher is using directive cues to scaffold new learning, and actively endorses the “can do” approach. (C) learner has adequate time, and opportunity to practice under guided conditions. (Ie feedback is fairly immediate, corrective, and friendly). (D) evaluation and competition are not salient at the time of learning.

24 DWECK'S RESEARCH: HOW HELPLESS CHILDREN RESPOND TO FAILURE HELPLESS CHILDREN: Activate BOTH helpful and poor strategies at same time. Blame failure on ability (a fixed trait: known as entity perceptions). Generate negative emotions Often daydream (sing, doodle, etc)

25 DWECK'S RESEARCH: HOW HELPLESS CHILDREN RESPOND TO FAILURE In contrast: The mastery children Increase use of adaptive strategies Do not acknowledge "failing”: A lack of success is result of task structures, or lack of effort and opportunity. (Incremental). Generate positive emotions Refocus upon task

26 MARTIN COVINGTON’S RESEARCH: MOTIVATED EFFORT REDUCTION -When one feels under ego threat 1. Try to avoid the threat by opting out. 2. If this is not possible, then increase effort to maximum but hide this from others. 3. If this still does not bring success then redefine the meaning of success. (Eg participation itself is the goal). 4. If this is not possible, then reduce level of effort. Some strategies could be misbehaviour, responding to distractions, getting drunk before the exam, or even “virtuous” actions. 5. Failure occurs, but the person has available attributions which enable ego to be maintained. That is, one’s ability status remains uncertain.

27 MER THEORY Question: does this theory actually suggest that as adults we learn to never, never, try our absolute hardest at anything?

28 Self-determination theory This invokes the human need to take pride in intrinsic motivation, as defined by the individual’s perception of elective choice: The “I did it my way” factor. (vs perception of being ‘forced’ by others). Many of our interactions involve information and control. Individuals need both. But as the children gain skills, then less external control is needed. And too much external control invites low motivation. However, it is untrue that reducing external control automatically will produces self-control. However, healthy environments provide autonomy support.

29 An example of our UNISA research: From Karen Annear’s honours project (2007): Relation of family variables to child’s attitude to school.


31 General climate factors The teachers maintains calmness, but models positive emotions intermittently (every few minutes?). Teacher models attitudes such as a general love of learning and thinking. Down-playing of any public criticism or ridicule. Competition is generally discouraged. Students rights are respected (ie on questionnaires they say the teacher is "fair").

32 Goals are explicit These teachers tend to set definite objectives which are communicated via "can do" statements. High expectations for all are communicated, along with the incremental theory of learning (as distinct from the entity view).

33 Fair management These teachers have very clear procedures and rules of conduct, ie a system of control is in place which is run via body language cues (often quite unconsciously). Misbehaviour is dealt with via clear and fair procedures.

34 Available instructional support Teacher uses language to great effect. Clear brief expositions embedded within well- structured lessons. But there are plenty of opportunities for students to respond and get feedback (i.e. guided practice). Teacher monitors to ensure high levels of task engagement, and takes steps to ensure all students have tasks adjusted to their level.

35 Youtube This is a bit ‘American’, but sensible information given on goal setting. This is a great clip, showing Dr Rosenthal describing the original Pygmalion study. Snippets from an interview with Dr Carol Dweck. Very good. Conversations about parenting, but very good use of research findings here. About Dweck’s mindset theory. Same as previous, also see others in this series. Talking heads, but very sensible.

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