Monday, 30 September 2013

Thought for the day

I've just started Chapter 6 of Understanding Motivation and Emotion (Reeve, 2005) and had the following thought:

I think of extrinsic motivators, in my professional practice, as things like, for example, stickers awarded for good behaviour, or effort, or examination achievements. However, is it not the case that anything that comes from outside of the student, and affects motivation, can be said to be an extrinsic motivator; the "Do this and you will get that" motivation (Reeve, 2005, p.134).
So, by extension of this hypothesis, the dance teacher must be a major facilitator of  extrinsic motivation in the dance lesson.
A second statement that might also be concluded from this statement is that, no matter whether the student is acting out of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, there will be cause and effect due to the teacher's approach to the class.

This is the diagram that I drew in my journal as I was thinking through these possibilities:
 The question of intrinsic or extrinsic motivational state in the student, therefore, could be almost irrelevant to the outcome of motivation in the learning environment (in this case, the dance class). The rate of increase or decrease could well be affected depending on which underlying factor is stronger in the student, for example, is it quicker to demotivate a student with negative feedback if achievement is the motivator versus a student who still derives pleasure from dancing even though the teacher is not very complimentary?
From the point of view of my inquiry then it is likely that, wherever each participant gets their motivation from, a majority of the causes of increasing or decreasing motivation will be something that the teacher affects. This gives my research a real importance to my own professional practice and also could prove helpful to other teachers who perhaps find their students lacking in, or losing, motivation in their dance classes.
I would be very grateful if you would comment on whether you agree, or disagree, with any, or all, of the above.
I am not suggesting that the dance teacher has all the answers, and there are other environmental/ extrinsic factors that will affect motivation - peers, parents, societal pressures, etc. - but it seems to me that the more I read, the more it falls to the dance teacher to inspire students through an understanding of motivational theory.

Reeve, J. (2005). Understanding Motivation and Emotion. 4th Ed. USA: John Wiley & Sons.


  1. Hi Sarah,

    I enjoyed this blog entry and I am now seeing where our inquiry topics cross over. I completely agree with the idea that the teacher's approach to teaching and on the students has a big affect on their motivation.

    Having negative feedback or upsetting remarks will cause students to almost be afraid of their teacher or not want to try hard for them if they will only hear hurtful words.

    I like your idea of rewarding, even if it were simply a positive comment. I feel that praise needs to be heard much more often within the studio. Yes, they need constructive criticism, but they also need those feel-good boosts along side it to make students realise that they are capable. This sudden increase of confidence leads to motivation as they will want to gain that praise again. Obviously students need a sense of self but the teacher holds responsibility for making the working environment a pleasant one.


  2. Hi Emily,
    I like your point about 'students need a sense of self but the teacher holds responsibility for making the working environment a pleasant one.'
    It is clear that a student will bring their unique world view and needs/ wants to every class - some of these will be fairly constant (personality traits, long-term goals, etc) and some will be flexible (that day's mood, what has been experienced the week before, etc.). The teacher's role, therefore, must be to try and understand, strategise, make allowances for, and enhance to each student's individual level, that particular lesson, as well as having in place supportive and competence challenging strategies for long-term achievement and development in her students.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how much our two inquiries do cross-over and to how much we can each gain from reading, sharing and commenting on each other's blogs and SIGs.