Motivational Theory and Self-Efficacy
Motivation is the force that drives a person to do something. It includes varying emotions such as: initiative, drive, intensity, and persistence; that inhibit, neutralize, or promote goal-directed behaviors.
It is internal.
Students may choose to learn or escape from learning. If they choose to be active in school and learn, they have a belief in their efficacy to learn and the power of knowing. They are ready to learn.
If they have a belief that they are incapable of learning and powerless to change, they will choose not to be actively involved, or withdraw, and their learning and performance is reduced.
In actuality people are somewhere between these two extremes, represented by the line between the arrows in the diagram:
Outstanding teachers use interactions that invite, encourage, and assist students to set and achieve goals as ways to motivate student participation. Teachers achieve this through manipulating the environment and assisting students in new learning experiences. This is achieved by challenging students with a learning experience, maintaining high expectations, assisting students to resolve conflicts and to achieve success. Students' involvement is crucial and degrees of involvement are illustrated in the following model.
Learning is an integral part of our total body and brain's physiology. This physiology is controlled not only by the intellectual responses a person is capable of making, but the perceptual and emotional responses that are subconscious and may be beyond the control of the conscious mind. However, both conscious and subconscious events influence our actions or inactions. Responses which are not singular in nature, but more like an explosion that ripples changes throughout the body creating internal changes that inititate and accompany external observable behaviors.
The point is, we must recognize that what appears as a simple external response is accompanied by internal chemical and neurological responses that have been constructed by each of us individually over our lifetime starting with the genetic material inherited from our parents and its interactions with our environment even before our conception. These interactions, both positive and negative, have created the individual we are over our lifetime. As teachers we will find some students more acceptable to change than others. To understand the influences on what motivates change let's consider variables from a couple of theories and a model.
William Glasser, in Choice Theory, identified what he believes are five variables that influence the choices people make:
- fun, and
James G. Wilson, in Moral Sense, identified what he believes are four variables that influence the moral decisions people make:
- self-control, and
Students will engage in an activity or attempt to learn a behavior they value or feel is worthwhile and believe they can be successful. As they participate in similar learning experiences they establish an understanding of their ability, which they will use to judge how their participation in future activities will unfold and the likelihood of their the consequences of their actions. This perception is self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy can be understood by considering attributes that contribute to the perception of success or failure to achieve goals. The following flow chart shows how attributes can affect self-efficacy and self-confidence. (adapted from M. Kay Alderman, 1990).
Goal setting and self monitoring plays an important part in cultivating self-motivation (Bandura, 1986) and self-efficacy. When students first encounter a task they consider what their goal will be.
- They may decide the task is hopeless and decide not to try or if forced to try, elect to fail.
- They may decide a task is worthwhile or is a challenge and desire to engage in it.
- They may have successfully finished a similar task and seek similar experiences for enjoyment or to continue to gain greater understanding or to excel in particular performances for the power learning provides.
- They may be indifferent about a task, but respect or care for who is asking them to participate so they accept the opportunity to cooperate and complete the task. Or
- They may have just failed a task and have low expectations of success, but caring encourages them to try again.
Through self-talk and self-monitoring students decide goals while anticipating their success or failure based on their ability, effort, the difficulty of the task, or the luck they feel they might have while attempting the task. Their anticipation of success or failure is based on these variables.
If they anticipate failure, they may reason the failure to be attributed to: lack of ability, lack of effort, difficulty of the task or bad luck based on illogical reasons. What they believe contributes to their failure or success determines how they approach a task. If they believe success or failure requires effort and they lacked effort, then they might set a different goal requiring less effort or increase their effort to achieve the same goal. If they attribute success or lack of success on the strategies they used, they might seek and select a new strategy or give up believing they are incapable of using the strategy successfully.
A motivational theory and attribution model can be used to understand student's reasons for success and failure to make better choices to assist students in setting goals, selecting learning strategies, and positively affecting students' motivation.
Reason and Reasoning Related to Success and Failure
- Students who perceive the cause of their failure as a lack of effort or poor selection of a strategy are more likely to be motivated to set positive goals for similar tasks in the future.
- Students who perceive a cause of their failure as a result of bad luck or conditions beyond their control are less likely to be motivated to set positive goals to learn.
- Success builds on success leading to intrinsic motivation. self-confidence, and self-efficacy increasing student's efforts, risk taking, and hence learning.
- Failure that follows failure reduces intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy decreasing student's efforts, risk taking, and learning.
- Extrinsic motivation may increase motivation creating a desire to achieve the reward, but usually not a motivation to learn.
- Over time students who fail will learn maladaptive behaviors to avoid certain tasks, which creates a maladaptive self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Student success is not enough. They must personally know what contributed to their success. They must understand it was or wasn't effort, strategy, luck, ability, or the task.
- Most often effort is a condition for success. However, many times students equate effort with inability in that if a person has to use a lot of effort, then they are less able, than those who appear to require less effort to achieve similar goals. We must understand and help students understand that failure, is not always caused by lack of effort, and effort alone will not insure success. The idea, "if it takes a long time to master a problem, then the person must be dumb," must be overcome.
- All people learn. However, they may not be motivated to learn what we want them to learn. We need to explore what students know and what they want to learn and then discuss with them how to learned it. Remembering it has to start from what is known and what is valued. If it is video games, then that must be the place to start.
- Effective teachers can use verbal interactions (positive statements, encouragement, specific praise, and feedforward - Billy Sharp) to help students decrease maladaptive behaviors, set goals for success, create plans to attain them, and achieve initial and continual success by enabling students to learn positive behaviors to become successful and understand how effort and ability increase; knowledge, skill, and use of learning strategies.
Suggestions to motivate, set goals, and develop self-efficacy
- Discuss with students what and how variables such as ability, luck, effort, strategy selection, and framing of tasks contribute to success.
- Emphasize all students can learn and progress.
- Give students opportunities to create knowledge from their present knowledge.
- Provide opportunities for students to relearn concepts and correct errors.
- Create a risk free environment.
- Have students concentrate on how they feel about...
- Use much encouragement, small amounts of specific praise, give most praise privately, and public praise for the total class sparingly.
- Do NOT repeat students' answers.
- Listen to students.
- Teach students how to listen to others.
- Help students feel the classroom belongs to them.
- Maintain high expectations.
- Have students discuss how they solve problems and develop thinking strategies.
- Change if, then - reward orientation to now, that - celebration of progress.
- Use vicarious experience - provide experiences for students to view modeling of others actions of successes and failures.
- Provide verbal persuasion - pep talk, encouragement, feed forward
- Teach physiological body monitoring - heart rate, calm, steady, emotions, nerves, arousal, depression, anxiety from fear of inability to cope, remove anxiety of doubt.
|Productive accomplishments and performances||Counter productive|
|Self-efficacy||Confusion, unambitious, avoidance, unwilling to attempt or try, with draw, weak, anxiety, believe in luck|
|Goal oriented||Care free, lackadaisical|
|Effort||Lack of effort|
- Identify skills and unpack information needed to be successful and measure students’ efficacy (confidence or doubt of ability) of each skill or competence indicator
- Teach and model each skill
- Practice each skill with corrective feedback with tips and coping strategies
- Integrate skills into a cohesive performance
- Practice with tips and hints multiple times
- Practice realistic situations with authentic obstacles and corrective feedback
- Provide confidence in ability for successful productive use
- Set goals
Self-regulation requires fore thought, reflection, co-regulation through observation, imitation, and self-control through behaviors such as:
- Recognize and set goals
- Identify tasks and strategies to use
- Diagnose abilities to use strategies
- Self-instruct on strategies and skills needed
- Imagine environments, behaviors, and consequences for success and failure
- Initiate strategies to improve and progress
- Management time to achieve desired progress
- Evaluate progress and adjust as necessary
- Seek help as necessary
- Set goals
- Select and use effective strategies
- Monitor effective use
- Evaluate and make adjustments