Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

In the past weeks, I have heard people talk about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation so I decided to write about the impact they have one us as students. Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. Motivation is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge (Kendra Cherry, August 2017). Intrinsic motivation however is defined as performing an action or behavior because you enjoy the activity itself where as extrinsic motivation refers to performing an action or behavior to receive an external reward or outcome. (Yolanda Williams)

Motivation is very necessary in executing tasks and accomplishing goals but in education nowadays, extrinsic motivation has surpassed intrinsic motivation in the sense that most things if not everything expected of us as students is based on extrinsic motivation. For example, studying hard for good grades, going to university for a good job and taking particular courses just to boost our GPAs in some cases. Positive reinforcement is also an example of an extrinsic motivator because students are sometimes motivated to do well because of praises from teachers such as “well done” and “excellent work”.

Although intrinsic motivation in my opinion should be the preferred form of motivation as it is from within and has to do with activities an individual is interested in, the educational system is designed to gear students towards particular goals society has presented as what one needs to be successful (extrinsic motivator) and this most often than not causes students to let go of the things they are passionate about and are intrinsically motivated towards.

In my research, I found a paper that talked about a high school librarian, Barbra Bowling whose goal was to help students make visits to the library a habit. Barbra mentions that her personal research has found her students highly motivated by money and food, and these extrinsic rewards provide the spark needed to make visiting the library, and ultimately reading a habit. Others say that having a reward is preparing students for the world; employees will be rewarded for doing a job satisfactory, or else they will not get paid. Students work hard for those extra points, just as they will later work hard for a bonus check (Mader 147).

However, the writer of the paper, Michelle Anthuis stated that a repeating theory is that if one is to assign a “price” for reading or any task, then it will appear to students to be undesirable (Johnson 96). Another prevailing idea is that when a task has a reward, hen the student will tend to do the activity until the prize is reached. In other words, teachers will not be fostering intrinsic motivation as they had hoped when using rewards. Rather teachers could be discouraging it (Fawson and Moore 327). Another negative aspect of extrinsic motivation is that it can have an effect on more than intrinsic motivation. Research says that students who read with extrinsic motivation will more likely read at the surface level and are more likely to report illogical ideas.

In conclusion, I believe in as much as extrinsic motivation has an effect on students in relation to things they are passionate about or things they are intrinsically motivated to do, some students benefit very well from extrinsic motivators as it gives them the extra push they need to do better.

Do you guys think that one of the two should be exploited more or you think both motivators have their pros and cons and should just be balanced in a way that will help students excel in the educational system along side succeeding in the other things they are intrinsically motivated to do?





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