student’s motivation to learn is widely deemed as one of the most important
aspects leading to success in any learning environment (Mitchell, 1992). Motivation
is defined as a driving force which leads people to initiate and sustain goal-oriented
behaviour (Jenkins & Demaray, 2015), and is a fundamental construct in
education, as learning is facilitated if the student is driven to do so.
et al. (1983) discriminated intrinsic motivation, wherein a student
is stimulated by internal satisfaction from completing a task, and extrinsic motivation, as powered by outer
forces, such as the procurement of a reward or the avoidance of punishment.
to this, the Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002) posits that it
is in human nature to be inherently curious and interested in learning, and
puts emphasis on intrinsic motivation at one end of a scale consists of five
defined levels of motivation. This motivation is, thus, more beneficial as it
is founded in interest and enjoyment to learn (Ames, 1992).
of the source of the goal was specified, by differentiating between two types
of motivation. Intrinsic and identified impetuses are classed under autonomous motivation, and reflect
personal interests, whereas, controlled
motivation, encompasses introjected
and external incentives, and is reliant
on internal and external pressures (Sheldon & Elliott, 1998). Amotivation is found at the other end of
the scale and as its name suggests, describes a complete lack thereof.
& Deci (2002) distinguished between autonomous and controlled motivation by
answering the criteria: to what degree does the student perceive his or her own
behaviour to be autonomous? The authors argued that individuals need to satisfy
three basic needs in order to experience high levels of motivation: autonomy
(the belief that one is responsible for his or her own actions), competence (the
belief that one is effectual at interacting with the environment) and
relatedness (the need to be connected to and form relationships with others)
(Ryan & Deci, 1994).
in intrinsic motivation as children move from primary to secondary school (Harter,
1981), likely caused by the attribution of external stimuli, or overjustification effect (Lepper, Greene
and Nisbett, 1973), has put a ticking time bomb on research into motivation. This
essay will, therefore, explore the ways in which different environments can
prolong intrinsic motivation and thus, drive students to work more efficiently.
this decay, the attention has been put on teachers, overall, and what they can
do to maximise motivation. Many studies have explored the ways in which teachers
fulfil students’ basic needs (Ryan, Stiller, Lynch, 1994; Lyness, Lurie, Ward,
Mooney, Lambert, 2013). Assor et al.
(2002), namely, developed a Smallest Space Analysis, which indicated that children
can differentiate between enhancing and suppressing teacher behaviours, and
five major areas were investigated in the ways they promote autonomy,
competence and relatedness (Ryan & Deci, 1987).
was found that autonomy-enhancing teacher behaviours included giving students a
choice, encournaging independent thinking, and fostering relevance. The latter has been shown to enhance intrinsic
motivation because the learning process is made consistent with their goals,
whereas the other two cause an endorsement in the child’s autonomy (Zuckerman,
Porac, Lathin, Smith and Deci, 1978; Swann and Pittman, 1977).
the other hand, rewards, threats based on the incompletion of a task, and
surveillance, all fell under the category of autonomy-controlling teacher
behaviours. Rewards, commonly known
as positive reinforcement, tend to be experienced as in this way because they
are inherently provided to induce someone to do something they may not
necessarily want to do and, therefore, can be classed as extrinsic or controlled
motivation. As Deci & Ryan (1980) established, this causes the undermining effect, whereby intrinsic
motivation declines following the loss of a reward (Deci, 1971), meaning behaviour
becomes contingent on this extrinsic reward. Threats based on the incompletion of a task, also known as negative
reinforcement (Deci & Cascio, 1972), and Surveillance (Lepper and Greene, 1975; Plant and Ryan, 1985;
Pittman, Davey, Alafat, Wetherill and Kramer, 1980) cause this controlling
effect, which, likewise, undermines intrinsic motivation.
controversial topic, however, is the administration of Positive Feedback. Although it can be said to enhance motivation
because of its confirmation of competence, positive feedback can, also, be experienced
as controlling (Ryan et al., 1983),
thus increasing the child’s introjected motivation and reducing the intrinsic. Consequently,
we cannot say that this criterion either entirely supports or controls autonomous
has demonstrated that many pupils complete their homework, not due to intrinsic
motivation, but due to an identified sense
of duty, an introjected desire to
please other or an external desire to
avoid punishment (Walker, Hoover-Dempsey, Whetsel & Green, 2004).
a parent’s involvement in their child’s education is seen as beneficial and
though some studies agree with this statement (Hill & Craft, 2003; Walker et al. 2004), others have found that
parental participation can prove to be harmful to the student.
the controversy, Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1995, 1997) proposed a model of
the process of parental contribution, where factors, such as parents’
knowledge, skills, perceived invitation for involvement, and motivational
beliefs were considered. This study showed that there was a relationship
between parents who valued independence, choice and participation and children’s
efforts (Gonzalez-DeHass, Willems & Doan Holbein, 2005). This reemphasises
the importance of autonomy-support in the promotion of intrinsic motivation and
establishes that the quality of parental involvement is primordial.
(1971) distinguished three different typologies of parenting style: authorative,
authoritarian and permissive, which are differentiated with two tools for
measure: demandingness (expectations) and responsiveness (warmth). The scale
shows high responsiveness in authorative and permissive parents, and high
demandingness in authorative and authoritarian parents. It is suggested that
authorative parenting leads to more intrinsically-motivated children because these
parents provide more autonomy-supportive, affective relationships, thus fulfilling
the basic needs of autonomy and relatedness that are required to for motivation
(Pomerantz et al.).