Effects of Intrinsic Motivation on
Eleventh Grade Student’s Achievement
Compiling an abundance of resources to review for this research was quite easy. It seems that since the beginning of time, employers and educators alike have tried to determine what yields the greatest output from their workforce or students. Every person that has ever read the newspaper or have visited a school can vouch that rewards are constantly being given for good work or attendance . However, we are starting to see a paradigm shift in educational philosophy that moves teachers towards a more intrinsic (internal) way of motivating students. Throughout this literature review, research hers had concluded almost unanimously that intrinsic motivation is the underlying factor in student success. Even more so, they found that extrinsic motivators (such as pizza parties, homework passes, and extra recess time) actually reduce intrinsic motivation in students and therefore have an opposite effect on student achievement (Kohn, 1992). Analysis of the literature begins with the research that shows that intrinsic motivation is the key to unlocking high student achievement. It will then be followed with research that explains how extrinsic motivation denatures the effect that intrinsic motivation can have on student performance. What is Intrinsic Motivation?
Every educator in America is trying to figure out the secret that can maximize student success. With the attitudes about American education declining, researchers are trying to determine our goals and what is the best way for students to master them. Gow and Kember (1990) stated that “There is a general consensus in the literature that the goal of education is to increase the students’ capacity to learn, to provide them with analytic skills and to increase their ability to deal with information and draw independent conclusions”. After citing this goal, the two researchers went on to determine what creates independent learners. They concluded that independent learners are student that are intrinsically motivated. These students develop critical thinking skills that are necessary in higher order learning and adopt a deep approach to education whether than a surface approach.
White (1963) argued for a new type of motivational concept. This motivational theory could account for why children like to play and explore. He explained that organisms are innately motivated to be effective in dealing with their environment. He concluded that the feeling of “effectance” that followed competence interactions with the environment was the reward and that this reward could sustain behaviors independent of any drive-based reinforcements. Basically, children are motivated to explore, play, and learn just for the mere joy of learning and it is this joy of learning that can motivate far better than any external motivation. This form of motivation was eventually coined intrinsic motivation. Deci and Ryan said that intrinsic motivation suggests that the energy (to learn) is intrinsic to the nature of the organism (1985). In the journal American Psychologist, Deci and Ryan again state that intrinsic motivation is highly valued in the real world because of its consequences: Motivation produces. They went on to express that “It is therefore of preeminent concern to those in roles such as manager, teacher, religions leader, coach, health care provider, and parent that involve mobilizing others to act (2000). As our community becomes globally connected, our students must be prepared for the future, and according to White, Deci, and Ryan, the only way that we can yield results that are demanding of the changing market are to get students intrinsically motivated. “No single phenomenon reflects the positive potential of human nature as much as intrinsic motivation, the inherent tendency to seek out...
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