Sparking motivation in others can be a daunting task. I have been in situations that my efforts at trying to motivate someone else has fallen flat. It is discouraging and frustrating. Somehow despite my best efforts, my enthusiasm and passion was not transmitted.
I was interested in to read in “How to Motivate Someone” that this is common problem for educators, managers and parents alike. Reiss (2012) states that the key to motivating others is appealling to their values. Most often we attempt to motivate others by attempting to indoctrinate them to our values rather than appealing to theirs. A key component of motivation is relationship building.
The above article discusses the benefits and drawbacks of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation, although beneficial in the long run, may be difficult to establish with students that are overwhelmed with personal difficulties and have little room for energy for academic enthusiasm.
In reflecting upon some of my past experiences with students, I have a greater understanding of my frustration and lack of success. I believe in some of my interactions with past students, I had an unrealistic expectation for them to be intrinsically motivated and attempted to indoctrinate them with my passion and values. However their values were different than mine and due to personal issues they did not have the “room for academic enthusiasm”.
Rather than being disappointed with their desire for extrinsic rewards, a more helpful activity would be explore what extrinsic reward would motivate them, with the hopes that perhaps by achieving the extrinsic reward they may be motivated to pursue intrinsic rewards in the future.
Also key with motivation is the recognition that BOTH intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are important! It is crucial with motivation to know the individual, what a person wants and what a person needs.