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Motivation is described as the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way, or the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. Essentially, motivation is something that energizes, directs and sustains behavior. In the classroom, motivation gets students moving, points them in a particular direction and keeps them going. A student’s motivation can be revealed through their investment in behavioral, cognitive, and emotional engagement in school activities.

There are four primary indicators of student motivation: Choice of Tasks, Effort, Persistence, and Level of Achievement.

Choice of Task: Choosing a task freely indicates motivation to perform that task.

Effort: High amounts of effort towards a particular task indicates motivation.

Persistence: Working on a particular task for longer periods of time indicates motivation.

Level of Achievement: Choice, persistence, and effort raise task fulfillment.

These indicators exhibit the motivational levels of individual students, allowing educators to reinforce the interests and activities that each student already enjoys.

Motivation and Learning

Motivation can impact a student’s learning and behavior in many different ways. A lack of motivation leads to negative behaviors and a distaste for learning, while a strong sense of motivation can improve a student’s grades and classroom involvement.

Motivation, Effort, and Energy. Motivation leads to increased energy and effort. Students are far more likely to expend effort and energy on activities that correspond with their personal goals and needs, whereas a student’s motivation might dissipate when required to be involved in areas outside of their interest. Motivation determines whether students approach a task with indifference or enthusiasm.

Motivation Directs Behavior. As stated in the four indicators of student motivation, choosing a task freely indicates motivation to perform the task. In other words, motivation determines the specific goals that learners strive towards. Students who are artistically motivated will look for different technique classes to take or art clubs to join.

Motivation & Cognitive Processes. As discussed, students make choices based off of the things they have an interest in, which leads to further fulfillment and effort. Because of this additional effort and fulfillment, learners are more likely to give the utmost attention and effectively process the material. Therefore, they are more involved and retain more information on the subject.

Motivation Enriches Performance. Motivation increases a lot of positive behaviors in students: effort, energy, productive behaviors, and persistence. As a result of these positive behaviors, a student’s performance is most often enhanced.

Motivation largely impacts students learning capabilities. In fact, motivation (on its own) can establish whether a student will pass or fail. No matter the case, all people involved in learning and education need to understand how motivation affects learning and how motivation can be cultivated to increase student involvement.