Question: Are there any proven methods that can inspire intrinsic motivation? My students (11-16) seem to respond to various degrees to the old "carrot - stick" adage, but it damages the relationship with my students and costs me money to do! I'm keen to get them to take more responsibility and passion for their learning. It's a poor socioeconomic school.
Sean Talamas answered on 29 Apr 2015:
There are some economics studies on how extrinsic motivation (carrot-stick) can actually damage intrinsic motivation. It makes sense – if you reward something extrinsically, you take away the desire to want to do it for intrinsic reasons. Here is a good Ted Talk on it:
I would encourage students to develop intrinsic motivation by showing your own intrinsic motivation and excitement for the content. Making content relevant and sparking curiosity at the start of each lesson. I realize this is much easier said than done and you probably know most of this from experience anyway, but it seems as though the literature supports this idea.
I don’t know much literature in this area, but I did find one pretty comprehensive article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1207/s15516709cog0504_2/asset/s15516709cog0504_2.pdf?v=1&t=i91xe066&s=ba19e6770631fab06d36a4f9e8b221e802e94954
It starts off with the following:
“First, a number of previous theories of intrinsic motivation are reviewed. Then, several studies of highly motivating computer games are described. These studies focus on what makes the games fun, not on what makes them educational. Finally, with this background. a rudimentary theory of intrin- sically motivating instruction is developed, based on three categories: challenge, fantasy, and curiosity.
Challenge is hypothesized to depend on goals with uncertain outcomes. Several ways of making outcomes uncertain are discussed, including variable difficulty level, multiple level goals, hidden information, and randomness. Fantasy is claimed to have both cognitive and emotional advantages in designing instructional environments. A distinction is made between extrinsic fantasies that depend only weakly on the skill used in a game, and intrinsic fantasies that are intimately related to the use of the skill. Curiosity is separated into sensory and cognitive components, and it is suggested thot cognitive curiosity can be aroused by making learners believe their knbwl- edge structures are incomplete, inconsistent, or unparsimonious.”
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