Educational Psychology: What do different theories advocate in relatin to motivation?



7a ii). Discuss the different theories advocated in relation to motivation.

What do different theories advocate?

Theoretical Approaches

Motivation is a vast and complicated subject encompassing many theories. We shall explore some of the theories in our endeavor to throw some illumination in this are. We intend to suggest certain things teachers could try out as they apply concepts derived from each of the following:

      • The behaviouristic approaches
      • The humanistic approaches
      • The cognitive approaches
      • The social learning approaches
  • The Behavior approaches

The behavioristic approaches advocate the use of reinforcement. Reinforcement refers to the use of rewards or incentives. A reward is an attractive object or event supplied as a consequence of a particular behavior. An incentive is an object or event that encourages or discourages the behavior. For example, the promise of an A+ is an incentive.

The threat to punish is also an incentive. According to the behavioral approach, an understanding of student motivation should begin with a careful analysis of incentives and rewards present in the classroom. These could be:

        • Affection,
        • Money,
        • Praise,
        • Privileges,
        • Grades or even stars.

The teacher should also identify the behaviors that need to be reinforcement. These could be outstanding performance,

          • Punctuality,
          • Neatness,
          • Attentiveness

        • Good conduct,
        • Proper language use,
        • Non-aggression,
        • Honesty and showing respect for others.

This list is by no means exhaustive but it gives the teacher the general idea of what he could do. He could come with a catalogue of desirable behavior and a list of possible reinforces.

The application

The teacher should always be alert and notice when the desired behavior occurs. Its occurrence should be accompanied by a reinforcer. A student who shows improved performance could be praised or rewarded. One who shows improved grooming should be rewarded appropriately. The idea here is to acknowledge the desired behavior and accompany it with reinforcing stimuli. The principle is that reinforcement strengthens behavior and gives it the chance to occur again. The teacher should remember that any behavior, which is ignored, goes through the process of extinction; it dies off. So, if you want any behavior to recur, reinforce it by all means.


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