Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MOTIVATION - Continued

The elements of the model for developing expertise feature five key areas, Metacognition, Knowledge, Motivation, Learning, Thinking (Sternberg, 2005). Each area is fully interactive with influence in either direction. For example, knowledge leads to thinking and further thinking facilitates further knowledge (Sternberg, 2005). At the center of this model is motivation. Without motivaiton all the other key elements would remain static (Sternberg, 2005). Motivation is the driving force for metacognition which triggers learning and thinking which then cycles back to metacognition for review. This cycle demonstrates that the learner who is motivated to seek higher levels of knowledge through increased learning, thinking and metacognition has the ability to go from novice to competent to expert and increase self-efficacy in the particular areas of interest to the learner.
Urdan and Turner (2005) examined the implications for best practice in relation to competence motivation in the classrooms. The authors have included in their definition of competence motivation the concept of mastery. The intention of education is competence and mastery of skills and abilities (Urdan & Turner, 2005). However, some schools are still missing the fact that they are not actually developing competence in certain skill areas but instead focused on only motivating by using token economies and other tangible reward systems to behave well, be punctual or finish assignments (Urdan & Turner, 2005).
Urdan and Turner (2005) investigated key theories in competence motivation that have predominately been researched with an educative framework and application within the classroom. They have reviewed empiracal data for the following theories as they related to K-12 setting; acheivement goals, interest and intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, expectancy-value theory, self-determinination theory and attribution theory. The authors found both important theoretical implications for the classroom as well as some cautionary advice on applying motivation principles in the classroom due to a lack of research specifically completed within the classroom in the area of competence motivation.

The first theory examined by Urdan and Turner (2005) was the theory of Achievement Goals. The premise of this particular theory states that people will engage or not engage in activities depending on the individual’s purpose for doing so. The individual’s purpose for achievement is referred to as the individual’s goals or goal orientations. Achievement goals are of three types, mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance (Urdan and Turner, 2005).

Mastery goals represent a need to become competent by acquiring skills and through the understanding of new knowledge (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Mastery goals are considered goals that encourage positive feelings, motivation, and learning (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Researchers have stated that classrooms should incorporate more mastery goal structures within the classroom, to advance students effort, persistence, and use of sophisticated cognitive strategies (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Studies have found that teachers who incorporate more mastery goal orientated structures within their classrooms have more students that adopt personal mastery goal orientations, which promote achievement, self-efficacy, and positive affect in school (Urdan & Turner, 2005).

Performance goals are concerned with appearing able or unable to complete particular tasks. Urdan and Turner (2005) state that it is important to recognize that classroom goal structures which come out of a student’s adoption of personal achievement goals in the classroom do not distinguish between the approach and avoidance elements. Performance goal practices within the classroom typically make it obvious who the smarter student is, who is doing well and the comparing of one student to another. Studies have indicated that the more emphasis on performance goals within the classroom the more detrimental to motivational and behavioural variables (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Further research would be required to investigate whether defeated and discouraged youth develop more performance avoidance goals than mastery or performance-approach goals, which may affect competence in the academic setting and lead to a greater risk of leaving school.

Interest and intrinsic motivation are two concepts that play a significant role in competence motivation. People engage in certain activities because they have an individual interest in that particular activity. They also engage in situational activities that require a shorter attention span. Intrinsic motivation occurs without anyone exerting pressure to complete a task or activity. People intrinsically motivated engage in activities because they love the activity and wish to participate. Urdan and Turner (2005) state that intrinsic motivation comes from a variety of sources “the need for competence, interest in the material or activity, or perceptions of autonomy” (pg. 301). Urdan and Turner (2005) suggest that teachers focus on creating an environment that catches and holds pupil’s situational interests as individual interests are vast and varied, through the adaptation of the learning environment.

Self-efficacy is the perception of the skills and abilities of an individual to perform tasks in specific situations (Urdan & Turner, 2005). Students who perceive that they can accomplish a task or activity tend to exert more effort to complete the task and succeed at the activity. Self-efficacy beliefs can be a powerful predictor of achievement within an academic setting and as defined by Bandura (cited by Urdan & Turner 2005) created by “experience, vicarious experience through modelling success and failure, verbal persuasion from a respected source, physical cues” (pg. 302). Defeated and discouraged students need to experience success in activities that they believe they are not competent in, to increase their self-efficacy.

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