Theorical bases of motivation in children

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3. Theorical bases of motivation.


We can find a lot of theories an authors that give their point of view about motivation. We are going to see three different approach about it; the behaviorist theory, the cognitivist theory (that includes the social learning theory, the achievement motivation theory, the attribution theory and the social cognitivist theory) and thehumanist theory.



The behaviorist approach defend the use of reinforcements to increase the behavior, and to eliminate the reinforcements to remove a behavior. We can apply those ideas to motivation.
Conductist authors suggest that the external consequences can increase, decrease, maintain or remove motivation.
According to conductist theory, there are twokind of reinforcements, the primary ones (they attend to any basic need) and the secondary ones, like praises or salary…
That means, according to conductist what motivates the students is the possibility of reinforcement.( Kenneth et. Al . 2000)
The conductist approach use to be related with extrinsic motivation, namely, that comes since the outside. Of course there are critics about it, andsome educators are against those reinforcements , because they fear that reinforces can reduce the intrinsic motivation.(Kohn, 1993)


The cognitivist approach of motivation is based on the supposition that thougths of a person related to activities, namely, the source of the intrinsic motivation, have influence in his answers and results. That means that results are owingto the believes that the student have from himself and his own capacity.
That approach say to us that student’s motivation is not only because of the reward they’ll have (like said the conductist theories) , but also to some facts like the interest, the curiosity o the desire of knowledge. That’s why teacher needs to know how their pupils feel respect themselves, what’s interesting for them andwhat kind of tasks can make them be succesful and make them feel capable. ( Darling- Hammond, 1998)

Inside of the cognitivist approach are included the social learning theory, the achievement motivation theory, the attribution theory and the social cognitivist theory .

* Social learning theory (Bandura)

Bandura (1982) proposed the theory of self-efficacy, based on the idea thathuman needs to feel able to perform tasks efficiently. He made a distinction between expectations of efficacy or self-efficacy and results expectations.
Self-efficacy expectations refer to the conviction that the person has to carry out successfully a determinate behavior, required to obtain results. The expectations of results, which are influenced by external factors, and refer to the result ofthe previous action.

The difference in the self-efficacy expectations is what makes that two people in the same conditions have different results.
That make necessary to help the students to have self esteem, and to trust on their capacities, to put them into practice and be able to use all the resources..(Bandura 1982)

The origins of the self-efficacy expectations are:

a) Achievement in pastexperiences. Successes and failures repeated increase or decrease the expectative of efficacy.

b) Learning by observing a model. The influence that exert a model is bigger when the model is important for the student.

c) The learning context. Depending on the kind of help that the pupil receives from the teacher, the perception of the own capacities is increased or not.

d) Verbalpersuasión. That method can increase the expectative of successes or failure, depending on the importance that the pupil gives to the words of the persuader.

e) emotional excitement. We have to teach how to control emotions, because an stress situation can be as consequence bad results. That’s why we have to teach them how to be as relaxed as possible, for instance, before an exam. In a calm...