Train The Teacher had a great evening of broad and thoughtful exchange with a group of teachers on Motivation Principles and Practice. The core of the delivery for the night was if you can identify the needs that a group has, you go a long way to resolving issues of motivation.
The evening looked at fundamental factors in motivation including the needs hierarchy proposed by Maslow; Dörnyei’s vision of how motivational factors can be enhanced in a learning environment; the importance of recognizing the influence of Multiple Intelligences in determining who will be motivated to do what; a nod in the direction of the contributions learning styles have on effective uptake; and a review of Myers Briggs personality profiles - all with a view to raising our awareness that motivation in a learning environment is understandable and workable if we know the needs of people we are teaching.
Part of the discussion reviewed how each of Maslow’s needs could be addressed in the classroom; and underlined the pivotal importance of the teacher as the leader who can create a motivated group (see earlier training on classroom management). We very briefly reviewed the same training in which Rod Ellis was quoted as saying that ‘social interaction (is)… the matrix within which (language) acquisition takes place.’ Clearly groups need to want to interact to allow this acquisition to occur.
We spent a little time on Self Determination Theory which maintains that ‘satisfaction of students’ basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness is critical for their internalization of academic motivation.’ In short, if you attend to students’ feeling that they influence their own learning, that they have reasonable formative measurement of their competence, and vitally, that they really belong to the learning group, they will drive their own motivation to learn.
One fascinating moment in the talk was the recognition that people from their very earliest childhood are motivated to learn, even without reward: being motivated is a natural state for a human being.
We concluded by looking at list of factors Dörnyei identified as significant contributions to motivation in a learning environment.