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Methods of Motivation





















Learning Standards

Students will demonstrate their understanding of methods of motivation by participating in class discussions and completing a written analysis of a character's motivation.


I will use academic vocabulary to discuss and analyze methods of motivation in literature, such as "incentive," "characterization," and "plot development."


What will our learning look like today?

I will understand the methods of motivation and how they can be applied to enhance my own learning and achievement.





After an initial reading and discussion of the essays, students will be able to identify key ideas and cite details that support those key ideas.

Lesson Objective

"Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them"-Carmelo Anthony

Read the quote to the right about Motivation.reflect on the quote and write down some thoughts in the chat about how it relates to your own lives and academic goals.

Warm Up

Can you imagine living a life without any rewards? All of us crave them—whether it’s a parent’s approval, a high-five from our coach, or a promotion at work. But what do we lose when our yearning for rewards and recognition becomes our dominant source of motivation? In the two essays presented here, the authors examine the benefits of internal versus external sources of motivation. Their essays pose questions about what drives people to perform, achieve, and improve. As you read their arguments, ask yourself, what motivates you?*Watch StudySync Video


  • the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
  • the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

What is motivation?

tangible: able to be physically touched or perceived

judicious: marked by the exercise of good judgment or common sense

intrinsic: belonging to something or someone’s basic nature

incorporate: to include or contain as a component

incentivize: to provide a reason to do something

anticipate: to think of or predict what will happen in the future


If you are energized and actively working toward a goal, you are motivated to reach that goal. Lately, employers and educators have recognized the vital importance of intrinsic motivation —working toward a goal because it is inspiring, exciting, fascinating, and satisfying. Intrinsic motivation is the best way to ensure creative problem solving and steady, continuous achievement.Examples of Intrinsic MotivationIt is possible to break down intrinsic motivation into three basic types:

  • Knowledge-based. If you perform a task purely for the joy of learning or the satisfaction of understanding something, your motivation is knowledge-based.
  • Accomplishment-based. If you perform a task for the pleasure of completing, creating, or achieving a goal, your motivation is accomplishment-based.
  • Stimulation-based. If you perform a task because of the excitement or gratification it gives you, your motivation is stimulation-based.
Imagine that you are planning a trip and hope to learn some key phrases in Italian so that you can explore Rome with some degree of understanding. Your motivation is knowledge-based; just the satisfaction of learning those phrases is enough to motivate you to complete your task.

Methods of Motivation: What’s more effective—intrinsic or extrinsic motivation? Point: A Job Well Done Is Its Own Reward

Anyone who enjoys completing crossword puzzles understands motivation that is accomplishment-based. Filling in that last square gives you a feeling of success; you need no other reward.Stimulation-based motivation often appeals to our most basic needs. If you cook a delicious meal for yourself, your key motivation is the stimulus to eat something delectable. It is certainly true that a certain element of extrinsic reward can add to the enjoyment of these various tasks. You can show off your finished crossword puzzle and receive praise, or you can reward yourself with an Italian ice for having learned twenty new Italian phrases. The most effective source of your motivation is internal; however, you are interested in the task and do it just for the sake of doing it. Intrinsic Motivation in the Workplace Shrewd employers refuse to tie every workplace achievement to an extrinsic reward. It would be expensive, and it might result in employees’ ceasing to work hard unless they anticipate some kind of remuneration. Instead, employers should emphasize the kinds of intrinsic motivation that make workers want to be productive. Some businesses offer flexibility of scheduling and more autonomy, so that workers feel empowered to make choices and decisions. Some workplaces offer professional

development that gives workers a feeling of accomplishment and appeals to their joy in learning. Others ensure that all staff are cognizant of the business’s goals and how each worker fits into the realization of those goals. Allowing opportunities for collaboration and interaction with others can appeal to workers’ stimulation-based motivation. Using intrinsic motivation to engage employees is an effective way for companies to get their employees to do great work. Providing workers a sense of choice and a feeling of progress are two ways to ensure they are intrinsically motivated. Every employee is motivated by a sense of control and progress. If employees feel successful and empowered to make an impact on the organization, they will feel excited to come to work and try their best. Of course, there are still extrinsic rewards involved in work of any kind because they remind employees of their value. No professional works for free, and everyone expects to be compensated, praised, and thanked for a job well done. However, extrinsic rewards are not sufficient. Employers must supplement them with intrinsic motivators to ensure that employees feel engaged and trusted.According to a Gallup report, employees who are asked by their managers to share in the company’s process of setting goals are almost four times more likely to feel engaged at work than other employees. This statistic demonstrates intrinsic motivation is the primary tool for creating motivation and a strong work environment for employees. Not only does this type of intrinsic motivator empower employees to feel trusted by their superiors, but it also costs a company nothing.

Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom The philosophy of Lehman Alternative Community School in Ithaca, New York, is to encourage “students to use freedom responsibly, and to make educational choices appropriate to their individual levels of development.” LACS long ago got rid of gold stars, stickers, and even most grades in favor of intrinsic motivation. At an All School Meeting every week, students make decisions on issues facing the school. They make choices about their courses of study and reflect on their learning and achievement. They complete community projects and take trips outside the classroom. Experimental and field research shows that students are more likely to complete a task and more likely to take on a challenge if they are intrinsically motivated. They are also more likely to retain the concepts learned. Students need to feel competent, and they need to feel connected to a task. The more they can make decisions and choices around their learning, the greater their intrinsic motivation becomes. A 2015 study that looked at low-income high school students from low-income high schools (64.7 percent from immigrant families) found that intrinsic motivation consistently predicted their intention to pursue health-related careers. It seems likely that intrinsic motivation is a key predictor of everyone’s employment paths, no matter what his or her background might be.Not every school can be as enlightened as LACS, but every school should try. Teachers must either incorporate intrinsic motivation into their classrooms or be left with a system of rewards and punishments that stifles creativity and students’ desire to learn. Teachers'

behaviors may even affect student achievement. A 2014 study that clustered intermediate-level students into three groups—high intrinsic and high extrinsic motivation, high intrinsic and low extrinsic motivation, and low intrinsic and high extrinsic motivation—found that the students who were primarily intrinsically motivated outperformed their fellow students and showed the greatest increase in achievement over the course of a school year. Some people argue that extrinsic rewards can help a child build intrinsic motivation by associating a positive feeling with a task the child finds unappealing. For example, if a parent takes his or her child out to ice cream after every swim lesson, that parent might assume that the child will eventually learn to love swimming. However, research has disproven this argument in favor of extrinsic motivation. In fact, incentivizing a child’s behavior with rewards actually lessens their intrinsic motivation and makes the child less likely to pursue the activity on his or her own in the future. Fun and the Brain Scientists have performed some interesting recent experiments in the area of neuroscience to study how the brain reacts to “boring” and “fun” tasks and to try to determine the neural mechanisms of intrinsic motivation. In a 2015 study of 16 Chinese graduate and undergraduate students, who were hooked up to electrodes and faced with two separate tasks, researchers found a significant difference in electrophysiological response depending on the task being offered. So clearly the brain is most motivated by fun—a biological reason to rely on intrinsic motivation to achieve and succeed as we work and learn.

Counterpoint: Positive Reinforcement Is Powerful Rewards: Simple, but EffectiveEveryone loves recognition. For that reason, the best way to get your children, your students, or your workers to do what you want them to do is to reward them for doing it. Without it, however, the people in your life simply have no reason to perform up to their potential or to your expectations. If you want someone to perform a task, you have to give them a reward or else they won’t have a reason to feel invested in the task. A common concern with offering extrinsic rewards is that they are expensive and time-consuming to purchase and assemble. It’s not reasonable to expect teachers to spend their own money on candy or prizes to give their students just to get them to do their homework. Similarly, parents should not have to bribe their children with expensive toys or an allowance just to get them to clean their rooms. What people need to understand is that rewards need not be monetary, edible, or even tangible; it could be as simple as a word of praise or a round of applause. Research has proven that praise from a teacher has the power to improve student behavior and enhance academic achievement. Praise is an example of an extrinsic motivator that costs nothing to a teacher, but has a significant impact on a student.Operant ConditioningThe American psychologist and behaviorist B.F. Skinner is widely associated with the theory of operant conditioning, which connects learning to behavioral changes in response to environmental stimuli. According to Skinner, when a certain response pattern is rewarded, the individual learns to respond similarly in the future. One classic experiment had pigeons

conditioned to hop as food was presented at 15-second intervals. Skinner defined motivation in terms of such reinforcement, explaining that behavior that receives reinforcement will recur, and behavior that receives punishment will cease to occur. Reinforcement may be positive, as in the addition of something pleasant such as praise or treats. It may be negative, as in the removal of something unpleasant when a certain behavior occurs. Punishment, too, may involve application of something unfavorable or removal of something favorable.

Extrinsic motivation, then, is a form of operant conditioning, because it relies on a reward system to stimulate a preferred response. For example, a well-known grocery store chain that regularly ranks high on Fortune’s list of 100 top places to work offers scholarship programs for loyal employees and special awards that employees can give to co-workers who are living up to the store’s values. Such motivators are examples of positive reinforcement. The store offers a certain form of negative reinforcement as well—most employees participate in community service programs because to avoid doing so might lead to certain unpleasant judgments by fellow employees. The Perks of Perks We have all seen the awe-inducing photographs of some of Silicon Valley’s most famous businesses—the day care centers, the state-of-the-art gyms, the meditation rooms and arcades, the free food and recording studios. Those businesses do not spend their money foolishly. They want to incentivize their workers to feel comfortable working long hours, and they know they are competing with other businesses that can offer good workers solid benefits, so they do their best to create an environment that is fun and playful and offers extrinsic motivation to stay and work. The usual benefits of dental insurance and two-week vacations seem old-fashioned as businesses strive to engage employees and ensure their loyalty. Rewards vs. Intrinsic MotivationPsychologists have posited for decades that rewards can, over time, decrease a person's

internal desire to do a task. They based this notion on a couple of studies that showed children becoming less interested in a “fun” task after they were rewarded for doing it. However, a 1994 review of the research determined that any negative effects of rewards took place only under very restricted and easily avoided conditions. Intrinsic motivation is excellent if it exists, but it appears quite likely from this review that verbal rewards may enhance intrinsic motivation and that physical rewards do not affect it. After all, if you enjoy a job that you are doing as a volunteer, would you be likely to despise it suddenly if you were offered a paycheck for the same work? Effective Use of Rewards You may be thinking about students you know whose parents paid them for each A they received on a report card and wondering whether that sort of reward is ever appropriate. After all, the grade itself is a form of extrinsic motivation, or at least it should be. It is certainly possible for rewards to go too far and for students or workers to become addicted to them and to function primarily in hopes of an expected reward. But it is also possible to use rewards more effectively to attain the behavior you are striving for. Some psychologists suggest using surprise rewards as a very successful means of bumping up motivation. For instance, Mark Lepper and David Greene’s 1973 psychological study on preschoolers found that children who received a surprise reward for drawing were more likely to draw on their own than those who received no reward and those who received an expected reward. Judicious use of extrinsic motivation can lead to happier, more productive children, students, and workers, and it doesn’t even need to cost a lot.

One author argues in favor of intrinsic motivation, because working toward a goal that is inspiring, exciting, and fascinating is its own reward. For instance, when employees are not simply working for a paycheck but can helping to determine a company’s goals, they are more likely to feel engaged. Likewise, in the classroom, students feel more connected and retain more information when they are given the opportunity to pursue their interests. The counterpoint argues that extrinsic reward also can be an effective motivator, because studies have proven that a simple word of praise can provide sufficient motivation to a student. The author cites a B.F. Skinner experiment showing that positively reinforced behavior will recur. Furthermore, judicious use of extrinsic rewards, such as surprise rewards instead of expected ones, can serve as an even more effective form of motivation.


  • Of the two arguments, which do you find more persuasive and why? How does this essay make a stronger case for the argument it presents? Explain your position in a 150-250 word essay. Cite the text to defend your position.
  • In your own experience as a child, student, or employee what has been your guiding source of motivation? What factors influenced how you were motivated to do the task at hand? Cite scenarios presented in the text as you analyze your own experience with intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation. Write at least 200 words.

choose one


Thank you