#UGUmbrella – This April we are looking at Intrinsic Motivation
March 30, 2021
GUELPH, Ontario – April’s Umbrella Project theme is “Intrinsic Motivation.” For those who are unsure exactly what that means, intrinsic motivation is the act of doing something without an external reward.
Intrinsically motivated people can look back on their journey and feel fulfilled, regardless of the final outcome. They persevere with tasks for the benefit of completing the tasks and learning, rather than the reward of completing the task.
As parents and educators, we can create optimal environments for students to explore and discover their “motivation muscles.” This allows each student to identify their own unique interests. It is also an opportunity to discuss social justice and social action as a way to do something that is satisfying and without external reward.
Here are some factors that increase intrinsic motivation:
- Challenge: People are more motivated when they pursue goals with personal meaning and when attaining the goal is possible but not necessarily certain. These goals may also relate to their self-esteem when performance feedback is available.
- Control: People want control over themselves and their environments and want to determine what they pursue. Engage your students in having choice as much as possible and also participation in decisions from activity content to classroom set up.
- Cooperation and competition: Intrinsic motivation can be increased in situations where people gain satisfaction from helping others.
- Curiosity: Intrinsic motivation is increased when something in the physical environment grabs the individual’s attention (sensory curiosity). It also occurs when something about the activity stimulates the person to want to learn more (cognitive curiosity).
- Recognition: People enjoy having their accomplishment recognized by others, which can increase intrinsic motivation.
- Make room for mistakes: Always encourage students/children and yourself to keep trying.
- Celebrate successes: Enjoy and share in successes as a classroom or family; celebrating success is the ultimate reward.
Remember, just having the simple conversations as a class or family about what we find intrinsically and extrinsically motivating is always a good start.