Motivation is an essential aspect of learning since it facilitates the student to retain information and view learning as a positive activity. There are several theories that highlight the different approaches to motivation promotion and enhancement. Thus, educators can practically apply the approaches, which correlates with higher satisfaction in the information that is being shared and the teaching model itself. Using the theories of attribution, flow, and self-determination, teachers can ensure students have high motivation levels and engage in classroom activities.
The attribution theory is one that highlights people’s attribution of certain results to actions, people, or events (Yao & Siegel, 2021). For example, a student may attribute poor retention to the teacher’s inability to explain the subject while disregarding personal lack of desire to learn. Thus, motivation can be achieved if poor or high results are attributed to personal involvement in learning. Another theory illustrating the importance of motivation is self-determination. Based on this principle, autonomy, connection, and competence are to be achieved for motivation to prevail (Vasconcellos et al., 2020). A student is more self-determined when the decision to study is autonomous and does not correlate with force or obligation. On the other hand, the flow theory highlights the importance of the presence of a particular mindset in which one is fully emerged in the process, which ultimately creates motivation (Oliveira dos Santos et al., 2018). Thus, the person who studies a subject they find interesting and enjoys learning about the particular topic is truly motivated.
It is also essential to differentiate between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The intrinsic one correlates with the individual’s perception of an action with an internal reward (Ryan & Deci, 2020). On the opposite, extrinsic motivation is linked to rewards and praises. Thus, students who learn for enjoyment and interest are intrinsically motivated, while those seeking high grades or avoiding confrontations with parents or teachers have extrinsic motivation. Furthermore, some of the factors that affect motivation are the educator’s teaching style, the reward system, the intrinsic values of students, and the method in which information is being shared. For example, a student who knows that the teacher will praise them for a well-written essay is more likely to be motivated to learn more on the subject. Moreover, teachers who have an individual approach when it comes to each student’s needs are more likely to increase intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Based on the aforementioned sources supported with evidence, applying certain theories into practice can be used to help motivate students and increase engagement. For example, teachers are to attribute one student’s low information retention to that person’s lack of desire to learn. On the other hand, if the entire class is not engaged, the teacher is to apply different teaching models since there may be a correlation between the style and the lack of motivation. Moreover, the self-determination theory suggests that making the classes more enjoyable through various methods may help educators achieve higher student motivation. Last but not least, the flow theory implies that teachers are to be cautious when it comes to finding a balance between challenging students and rewarding them.
As exemplified prior, the teacher’s effectiveness is crucial in applying the theories into practice to promote motivation and interest in the subjects. For example, an educator who does not create an environment in which students are being challenged, rewarded, and supported as a team cannot improve one’s will to participate in discussions. On the other hand, a positive example would be the environment in which pupils know that school is a pleasant experience, hard work is being rewarded, and educators are willing to put effort into sharing information in an entertaining yet educational manner.
Based on the frameworks and evidence-based examples illustrated in the relevant literature, teachers can apply the attribution, self-determination, and flow theories to support students with their academic premises. Moreover, the approaches correlate with higher satisfaction and an increasing interest in the subjects that are being discussed in class. Thus, the aforementioned theories have been proven to be effective in terms of increasing classroom engagement and student motivation and are to be applied by the mentors for a more favorable academic environment.
Oliveira dos Santos, W., Bittencourt, I. I., Isotani, S., Dermeval, D., Brandão Marques, L., & Frango Silveira, I. (2018). Flow theory to promote learning in educational systems: Is it really relevant? Revista Brasileira De Informática Na Educação, 26(02), 29.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2020). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation from a self-determination theory perspective: Definitions, theory, practices, and future directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 61, 101860.
Vasconcellos, D., Parker, P. D., Hilland, T., Cinelli, R., Owen, K. B., Kapsal, N., Lee, J., Antczak, D., Ntoumanis, N., Ryan, R. M., & Lonsdale, C. (2020). Self-determination theory applied to Physical Education: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 112(7), 1444–1469.
Yao, E., & Siegel, J. T. (2021). The influence of perceptions of intentionality and controllability on perceived responsibility: Applying attribution theory to people’s responses to social transgression in the COVID-19 pandemic. Motivation Science, 7(2), 199–206.