1. Consider the theories of motivation that we discussed in class. Which theories are most helpful and instructive for you? How can they enhance motivation and affect your students?
Many of the motivational theories we discussed in class are very helpful to me in my profession as an elementary teacher.
Although not a "theory," I found the information on both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation very useful. The text talks about how we need to build intrinsic motivation in our students rather than focus on extrinsic motivation (such as a reward for reaching a certain AR point goal). I really think that we are responsible for showing students that motivation needs to come from within, in order to better yourselves, rather than teaching them that when you behave a certain way you will receive a reward for it. Teachers are responsible for teaching children that the way to accomplish goals is to motivate themselves, rather than being motivated by a outward object.
I think that Maslow's hierarchy of needs is another important theory of motivation (although not COMPLETELY correct). I think that a school setting is such an important area where you can satisfy all of the basic needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and needs for self-actualization. As talked about in class, Maslow said that these happened independently and in a sequence, but, other studies have shown these are not independent of each other and happen in no sequence. As a teacher, I think that it is really important to satisfy all of the needs of children so that they can strive towards self-actualization. When they reach self-actualization (which Maslow says is very rare) students will be intrinsically motivated to strive to be the best that they can be. An example of this is the Pond Gap video that we watched in class. In this video, we were shown an example of an after school program in Knoxville. Pond Gap is a school where 80% of students are on free and reduced lunch. Many students have hard home situations, and Pond Gap has reached out to them with a free after school care program that tailors to their needs. Pond Gap's after school staff focuses on providing a safe, happy, and stable environment for children, much like those hierarchy of needs that Maslow listed. Hopefully, this Pond Gap program will make a huge difference in the lives of the children it reaches out to and, in turn, give them a love of learning that motivates them to be the best that they can possibly be!
I also think that cognitive theories are really important to motivation. Teacher's have a responsibility to find out what interests students and then build on that. When children are interested in a topic they will be much more motivated to learn it. I also think that setting goals is so important within a classroom. When children set a tangible goal, they will strive to reach that goal (motivated to reach that goal).
Overall, I found the motivational theories discussed in class and chapter 11 very useful. As a teacher, I will strive to find what motivates my children and provide a safe and happy environment where they can feel comfortable enough to push the boundaries!