For us adults, January and the New Year often provides us with a rejuvenated sense of motivation; maybe this will be the year you climb Ben-Nevis, master origami or finally get round to re-tiling the bathroom! Motivation is an important and positive element of adult life; however, educational theory suggests that motivation is an essential component of child development. Here at WOK we love seeing children getting excited about the prospect of engaging in new challenges and taking pride in their achievements. This blog entry will consider the various types of motivation and the influence this has upon development in the Early Years.
Leading Educationalist Albert Bandura produced a lot of influential work relating to motivation and what he termed as ‘self-efficacy’. Bandura described self-efficacy, as “People’s beliefs about their capabilities to perform.” Whilst Bandura perceived motivation as an essential component of learning and development, he believed that motivation could only be cultivated if children possessed a level of confidence and self-esteem. At WOK we try our utmost to foster a strong sense of self-esteem within our members through positive re-enforcement and lots of encouragement and affection.
Academics have established that motivation can be divided into two forms; intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation, as the name suggests, refers to motivation that comes from within. This could refer to a goal that a child has decided they want to achieve, simply to see if they can, as opposed to a belief they will receive praise or a reward because of achieving said goal. Intrinsic motivation plays a key role in helping children to develop a sense of autonomy and establish their personal passions and interests. I frequently see examples of intrinsic motivation in the woods when children set themselves ‘climbing challenges’: They can remember how far up a tree they climbed during their last visit to the woods and they want to know if they can go a bit further this time!
Extrinsic motivation is an external form of motivation. For example, if you tell a child they can have dessert if they eat all their vegetables, this is a clear form of extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation can be a useful way to help children learn about values and behaviour through positive re-enforcement and can help to focus a child when they are trying to complete a challenge. Staff at WOK do offer verbal encouragement, however, we are not a goal-oriented institution and acknowledge the greater value of children taking pride in personal unspecified achievements simply because they achieved them!
That’s it for this week folks! I apologise for the sizeable gaps between blog entries, I am hoping to be publishing more regularly in 2019! (My New Year’s Resolution and intrinsic motivation!).
Links and Further Reading
• Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1), 54-67.
• BOOK: Self Efficacy :The Exercise of Control – Albert Bandura
• More info on Bandura: https://www.learning-theories.com/social-learning-theory-bandura.html