The work of an internal quality assurer is both an art and science. We have to borrow a number of theories mainly from the pyschology sector to try and give us meaning and better understanding of phenomena and the world around us.
Assessors should be encouraged to use a variety of resources and learning methods to try and appeal to a number of different learning styles. Understanding concepts such as peer pressure, group dynamics and behaviour management might also help with epuiping us the best way to respond and meet needs.
We will revisit a few a few theories below which might apply to the world of internal quality assurance.
Definition of motivation
There are several definitions of motivation available to us; however, the simplest and most useful in the context of this unit is the dictionary meaning that defines motivation as an inner drive or impulse that causes an individual to act.
We attribute human behaviour to a number of cognitive processes usually referred to as thinking, problem solving and information processing all these events take place internally and are not directly observable. In the literature psychologists usually define motivation as an internal force that initiates, regulates and sustains behaviour toward a goal. How would you define motivation? We need to examine several aspects of motivation and its effect on learning outcomes. It is also designed to provide answers to the adult learner on how to stay focused and motivated in a non-traditional learning environment.
Why is motivation important?
The successful outcome of any venture is grounded in the drive and motivation of the individual or group. In other words, an activity that is assumed to be intentional and voluntary has a purpose or is goal directed. The concept of motivation is key to the continuous attainment or desired expectancies or outcomes. This concept implies that a certain amount of energy is required to activate or ignite you to perform an appropriate behaviour. It is vital that you comprehend its importance to your persistence over time so your efforts to succeed can occur in spite of obstacles or setbacks. As you achieve each of your goals, you may decide to change direction or set your sights on loftier, but not always attainable, goals, so that there is always some goal to strive toward. Bear in mind that what motivates some individuals may not work for all. Furthermore, it is said that motivation is selective, and does not activate equal responses from all of us.
How motivation affects teaching?
You will discover that all of your students possess a number of differences both socially and intellectually. Your task is to determine how best to accommodate these differences in your teaching while simultaneously maximising your ability to effect student learning. When students observe a teacher, they often acquire new patterns of behaviour. These behaviours range from curiosity, enjoyment and alertness to disinterest and boredom.
Why such a broad range of behaviours?
One might deduce that the teachers inability to motivate the students, and hence sustain interest, is a major factor. The effectiveness of a teacher is determined in part by his/her ability to help support the students efforts and build their self-esteem. This factor alone is highly motivating to the learner. Good relationships with your students also promote motivated learning. Your effectiveness also increases when your students like you as a person, respect you as a teacher, and are convinced that you are prepared. With these characteristics they can instinctively sense your commitment to their growth and development.
There are many principles that can be employed to increase students willingness and motivation to learn:
-Set achievable training goals
-Get student feedback and points of view
-Listen actively to their questions and concerns
-Stay focused on lesson objectives
-Evaluate students progress
-Reinforce key points of the lesson
A motivated teacher invariably motivates positive behaviours in his/her students. Behaviour modelling is a powerful way to provide teachers with the skills to facilitate motivated learning.It is an important fact that motivation does not affect the nature and type of instruction; however, it is essential for teachers to practise what they teach.
Much of your job as a teacher is to create conditions and structure activities that will motivate students to achieve their full potential. Knowledge of the motivational theories can assist you in the process.Many theorists and psychologists dating back to the early 1800s wrote a number of papers on the fundamental behavioural phenomenon of human motivation. While some agreed that there were obvious similarities in biological needs, considerable disagreement regarding internal and external stimuli led to yet further analysis and studies.Psychologists assume that behaviour is largely determined by needs, drives and incentives that are closely related concepts. We shall now examine six of these theories.
The Need Theory
Abraham Maslow developed one of the most widely used and studied theories in the 1940s. He suggested that the behaviour of human beings was directly proportionate to their current needs.According to Maslow, all of us follow the same path of needs, and we are motivated to meet a higher level need only when the lower level has been satisfied. This path of needs he terms The Hierarchy of Needs.
All of us have the same basic needs for adequate food, shelter and clothing. However, when any one of these is missing, irritability and discomfort become evident. The only solution to this dilemma is to satisfy these needs. The teacher is in a very good position to assist students in satisfying these needs, by providing information, tools and techniques. As a major knowledge resource in the classroom, the teacher has the ability to motivate students to learn. It is this information that is the foundation for acquiring jobs or starting careers that will help prepare for meeting their own basic survival needs.Also, the idea of sticking it out or surviving the pressure of the class or school for that matter, over the long haul, despite the difficulties, is part of the desire to survive.
The desire to feel safe is inherent in all human beings, not only for themselves but for their families as well. Freedom from danger, pain or personal threats is an immense motivator to create a secure environment. To promote a sense of security for students, the teacher needs to create a welcoming and non-threatening environment. This includes ensuring that no student is persecuted or victimised by the group, or made to feel isolated.
Included at this level of the hierarchy is a combination of love, affection, friendship, and a general feeling of belonging and acceptance. During class, a teacher often acts as a quality assurer for class projects, discussions and related learning activities. The notion of group work is to help students learn the skills necessary for forming relationships as they work out problems, find solutions to cases, and related group work. It is critical that all students feel a part of the class, and are accepted as equals within the group of students. This acceptance will produce feelings of confidence and a willingness to participate fully in all class or group activities. The teacher must be alert to any sign that a student is being overshadowed or ignored by the more dominant members of the group.
The motivation to satisfy the ego of human beings rests in the nature of what is experienced and achieved. These include the need for status, recognition and personal achievement, all of which gives us a form of self-respect and dignity. The human ego is very fragile, and even more so when competition with others is present. It is the teachers responsibility to monitor the behaviour and responses of all students, to ensure that feelings are not crushed by harsh words. It is also imperative that the teacher recognises his/her power and hence exercises fairness and sensitivity when grading papers, giving recognition and responsibility to students. Failure to do so could result in a decreased level of self-esteem for the students.
The need to reach our highest potential is at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of needs. Not all persons attain this level of expression, but those that do are motivated by an internal drive to accomplish goals beyond their own expectations. This level of attainment is not necessarily propelled by money, recognition, or social needs.
These theories stress human beings ability to anticipate a vast number of circumstances, which have a direct correlation to the behaviours they exhibit, and the drives that motivate particular action. It is a generally accepted principle that drives push and incentives pull; both complement each other by giving a motivational explanation of human behaviours. The theories have further evolved to a relationship of incentives and the conditions of reinforcement on behaviour. It is general knowledge that most individuals, employees, and students perform better in their respective environments when rewarded with something they value. While rewards of value are significant motivators of performance, the actual work or study environments play a substantial role in improving the behavioural outcome of that performance.
Suggestions have also been put forth that a major contributor to the ensuing behaviours is the expectation of the reward, which heightens such things as competition, satisfaction and recognition for a job well done. A simple example is the student who works harder in school because of the expected rewards. These rewards range from grades, to acceptance as being intelligent, capable and responsible. At a higher level, these expectations can bring about scholarships, a nomination as class valedictorian and similar forms of recognition.
On a broader scope, we are also motivated to carry out certain behaviours that produce good feelings. Whenever stimuli are present which produce feelings of excitement, we are more inclined to participate in these activities. While incentive theories do not answer all of the other questions on motivation, they do provide some insights to the varying differences that emerge when we are faced with differing sets of circumstances. These circumstances elicit different types of behavioural responses. A teacher who is aware of the value of incentives will use this knowledge and exercise good judgement in determining which form of incentive is appropriate, to produce the required behaviour from students.
Attribution Theory Robert Weiner
This theory is concerned with the process individuals utilise to analyse the causes of behaviour. It also addresses the premise that people desire order in their lives and will pay particular attention when things are unclear. For example, when a student receives an excellent grade on a test, this is attributed to hard work and long hours of study. The reverse of this scenario occurs when a student receives a poor grade attributed to insufficient effort put into the task.
Weiner believes that we attribute performance to one of four elements: ability, effort, task difficulty and luck. A teachers knowledge of how students attribute success can help them to improve students self-esteem.
A simple example is a case scenario of two students. A is the high achiever and B is the low achiever. Student A tends to approach achievement opportunities while student B shuns them. Why is this? The consensus is to attribute any success to internal factors like effort and ability. Student B on the other hand feels that success is too far to reach and does not make the required effort to succeed. The notion that you are able to succeed lies in the belief that you can, and the result is a more rewarding outcome.
The student who is aware that success lies within naturally accepts challenges; and in spite of repeated failures will still try to succeed. However, students that know their limitations under the same circumstances are more likely to give up. From the two comparisons cited, we can see that motivation to perform at optimum levels can be attributed to our own behaviours and attitudes regarding capability. Teachers attribution can damage students motivation for learning. Teachers should therefore help students to make appropriate attribution.
Expectancy theory Victor Vroom
This theory argues that motivation depends on a persons expectations about his/her ability to perform tasks and receive desired rewards. The theory is not concerned with identifying types of needs but with the thinking process that persons use to achieve rewards. It is based on the relationship among effort, performance and value placed on outcomes associated with high performance.
The strength of a persons tendency to act in a certain manner depends on the strength of the expectancy that the act will be followed by a given consequence. No matter which choices individuals make, the outcome of those choices, can be viewed as a cognitive process or learned habits of expectancy. Teachers can capitalise on the expectancy theory by stating the outcome or consequences of students choices to study hard or not to study at all.
Equity theory (J. Stacy Adams)
We all have an innate sense of right and wrong, fairness or unfairness, and, in essence, seek some form or level of social justice. This determination is based upon our interpretation of two comparative sets of situations that we have experienced. These experiences motivate us to act out certain behaviours or take some form of action in response to emotions felt. For example, when parents pay a higher price for tuition for their children, the value attached to the education is greater, because of the perceived expectation of the worth of the institution which is relative to the price paid. Should this expectation prove contrary to their belief,the general feeling would be that they had been cheated. The belief is that there should be some measurable difference of value to justify the expense.
In a classroom environment, the treatment of one student will naturally be expected by other students. Should this not be the case, students will react by displaying disruptive behaviours because the treatment received is a direct violation of their basic expectations for consistent and equitable treatment.
In the classroom this means that the teacher must exercise fairness in all their dealings with students, and whatever treatment is given to one must be given to all. The idea that teachers often play favourites is a common cry from many students. In order to avoid this label, a teacher must be alert to the possibility of being perceived by the students as unfair.
We have already assessed the importance of motivation at all levels. Given two students with equal ability and the same opportunity and achievement conditions, the motivated individual will produce a positive outcome. This theory describes achievement motivation as a desire to excel in a field for the sake of achieving and not for some reward. The persons who have a high need for achievement possess the following characteristics.
Simply put, the desire to achieve, to accomplish, and to learn, is in direct proportion to the level of motivation the individual possesses. As the evidence suggests, motivation and educational achievement is consistently and positively related.
Teachers at all levels have proven repeatedly, that when students are achievement-oriented and motivated during the learning process, there is a smoother flow, greater communication, diminished anxiety and heightened creativity. These factors make the learning environment more enjoyable for both the student and the teacher. Students who successfully complete a learning experience are more satisfied with their achievement and are more likely to set future goals based on their experiences. Teachers can assist students to feel that they have achieved by providing immediate feedback on their work, and by recognising their efforts and accomplishments. While all of these are positive, we recognise that part of their effectiveness is the students ability coupled with the quality of instructors. Knowledge, rapport, and attitude of the teacher also play an important role.
The need theory refers to the motivations of people to follow a path of five key needs. Survival is at the lowest level with the highest level in the hierarchy being self-fulfilment.
Incentive theories focus on human beings ability to anticipate circumstances that relate to the exhibition of certain behaviours.
Attribution theory is the process that people utilise to analyse causes of behaviour, their levels of satisfaction is attributed to success or failure of an action.
Expectancy theory emphasises behaviour as it relates to a persons perceived expectation that a particular outcome will result.
Equity theory argues that people evaluate various situations relative to others. It further suggests that people are concerned about fairness and social equity, and will speak out if this belief is violated
Achievement motivation is based upon the premise that students with the same learning capabilities will produce different outcomes depending on their levels of motivation to learn.
Work on the cognitive domain was completed in 1956 and is commonly referred to as Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain
|Competence||Skills demonstrated||Question cues|
|Observation and recall of information
Knowledge of dates, events, places
Knowledge of major ideas
Mastery of subject matter
|list, define, tell, describe, identify, show, label, collect, examine, tabulate, quote, name, who, when, where, etc.|
Translate knowledge into new context
Interpret facts, compare, contrast
Order, group, infer causes
|summarise, describe, interpret, contrast, predict, associate, distinguish, estimate, differentiate, discuss, extend|
Use methods, concepts, theories in new situations
Solve problems using required skills or knowledge
|apply, demonstrate, calculate, complete, illustrate, show, solve, examine, modify, relate, change, classify, experiment, discover|
Organisation of parts
Recognition of hidden meanings
|analyse, separate, order, explain, connect, classify, arrange, divide, compare, select, explain, infer|
|Use old ideas to create new ones
Generalise from given facts
Relate knowledge from several areas
Predict, draw conclusions
|combine, integrate, modify, rearrange, substitute, plan, create, design, invent, what if?, compose, formulate, prepare, generalise, rewrite|
|Compare and discriminate between ideas
Assess value of theories, presentations
Make choices based on reasoned argument
Verify value of evidence
|assess, decide, rank, grade, test, measure, recommend, convince, select, judge, explain, discriminate, support, conclude, compare, summarise|