Intrinsic Motivation: Edward Deci and Richard Flaste, in Why We Do What We Do (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons), report on 25 years’ worth of research into human motivation, including student motivation. They summarize the three things necessary in an environment for intrinsic motivation to exist: autonomy, personal relatedness, and sense of accomplishment. In teaching terms, this means your students must feel some control over their own learning (you can provide choices of learning tasks, for instance), sense that the material in the course somehow relates to their own lives, and periodically become aware of their own progress in mastering the material (something you can do easily by showing the progression of student work across the term; as the teacher, your objective viewpoint makes student progress easy to spot, but from students’ subjective viewpoints, the recognition is often missed).

 

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