Terrell Bell, former Secretary of Education, once said, “There are three things to remember about education. The first is motivation. The second is motivation. The third is motivation.” And yet, anyone who’s given motivation any serious thought knows it’s a slippery eel.
In my reading, I’ve come across over twenty recognized theories of motivation. Despite this complexity, I’m proposing that we examine and discuss motivation from both the theoretical and the practical perspective. In other words, let’s look at motivational theory and see what practices it tells us are effective in motivating students to achieve more of their potential: academically, personally, professionally.
Here are three:
“Despite its intuitive importance, there is much we do not know about motivation. Professionals disagree over what motivation is, what affects motivation, how motivational processes operate, what effect motivation has on learning and performance, and how motivation can be improved.” –Paul R Pintrich & Dale H. Schunk, Motivation in Education
“The proper question is not, ‘How can people motivate others?’ but rather, ‘How can people create the conditions within which others will motivate themselves?’” –Edward Deci, Why We Do What We Do
“I am convinced that one of the logical reasons why ineffective and unmotivated learning so frequently occurs is because of the lack of motivation planning on the part of many instructors…. I contend that for an adult to learn and want to learn (motivated learning), motivation planning is necessary. …Blaming the learners for being unresponsive to instruction that is actually poorly designed or implemented in terms of its motivational influence is a common reaction among many instructors.” –Raymond J. Wlodkowski, Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn
–Skip Downing, Facilitator, On Course Workshop, Skip@OnCourseWorkshop.com