Motivation is the all-ensuing mechanism that determines how much and how well a student will learn. Treating it as strictly an internal mechanism, explain how learners; needs, goals, beliefs, interests, and emotions can influence their motivation to learn.


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Motivation is something that looks different in everyone. When we look at what motivates one person and assume we can teach based on that, we will not be successful in reaching all students. Looking at motivation strictly from an intrinsic lens, meaning a student’s needs, goals, beliefs, interests and emotions, teachers need many resources. I think that one of the biggest tools that teachers need is relationships. Understanding where a student’s motivation is coming from, or not coming from, can lead to engagement. For example, if a student’s basic needs are not being met, they will not be motivated to learn their math facts because they have greater needs. This is where the relationship and understanding of where students are at is so important for a teacher. They have the ability to create goals with these students. However, on the flip side, a student that knows they want to go to college may be motivated based on their goals for themselves and will engage because they want to do well and achieve a goal in the future.

Motivation can create opportunity as well as hinder progress. It is so important in education. A student’s belief in themselves can create these opportunities or hinder their progress as well. Understanding how a teacher can use motivation through an intrinsic lens can help all students in their class.

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Motivation is defined as the processes that initiate, direct, and sustain behavior. Motivated students put out more effort, persist longer, learn more, and score higher on tests (Lazowski & Hulleman, 2016). Intrinsic motivation is the natural human tendency to seek out and conquer challenges as we pursue personal interests and exercise our capabilities. When we are intrinsically motivated, we do not need incentives or punishments, because the activity itself is satisfying and rewarding (Anderman & Anderman, 2014; Deci & Ryan, 2002; Reiss, 2004). When I think of intrinsic motivation I don’t associate it with younger children as much as I would with older children. I can relate to intrinsic motivation myself because just learning something new motivates me to learn more. Also, seeing those A’s and B’s keeps me wanting to learn more. I feel the more I learn the more I’ll be able to teach someone in the future. That is motivation enough for me to keep going. The students I currently work with get excited when they are able to identify numbers and letters and this motivates them to keep learning. You can see the excitement on their faces when they answer something correctly.

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