In this 5th Semester, we welcome you to the new class of Motivation and Management of Students for Effective Learning (MMSEL). New friend, new clothes, new environment, new mood, but still with Ibu Maryam Mursadi, our lovely lecturer :). In the first week, we learnt about theoritical views of motivation. I have an interesting story that relates to the motivation issues to tell you about, wanna read? Ok, Enjoy.

There was an “X” mathematics teacher in my “Y” Junior High School who always came 5 minutes before the class started or just came on time as usuall. Do you know what he did to us at the first time we met in class?we called it, a questionrace. He always started to gave us a mathematical drilling question, it is the opposite to the problem solving one, from what we have learned in the previous meeting. Then he used to ask to all of his students who could be able to be the fastest one, found the answer/ students seemed not understand at all, they was asked to present what they’ve got in front of the class.

Do you know what heppened then?if students accomplish the mission (succeded to get the right answer and did good for the presentation) teacher asked to all of his students to give applause to them or he would give direct compliment such as “you are smart boy” or “good job, you did very good”. Sometimes he gave special gifts such as money (Rp1.000, for junior high school student like me in year of 2003, its big enough. You know, i can go home without thingking where can i get Rp 1.000 :D), chocolate, or anything.

In all of the session, it would be repeatedly as the same. In addition, usually when students met the new material in one math topic he just gave a very quick explanation in the most essential part, like formula, characteristics, etc. Then the learning process continued as the same as usuall, doing such a question-race. It happened in every class of his.

 Out of the class, it was a public secret that students who was better then other students (always did best performance in his mathematics class), their name would be remembered by the  mathematics teacher or sometimes he would ask them to buy him something. When the teacher met another school-subject-teacher, he would proudly tell “he is bright in my class loh”. Usually that “better students” would be more dilligent and active in class.

I did some kind of simple observation. For those students who were pretty smart in any subject and interseted in mathematics, they would be so energetic in math class, did harder, loud thingking, re-read material, such doing so many extra works.

But for those who did not interested in mathematics, they did extra work because they wanted the gifts, compliments, etc. But if this group of students failed to answer question-race, sometimes the teacher made a joke on him. So, they will “kapok maju”. It is different from the love-math student, if they failed they still try to do things to make it right even the teacher tried to make them down.”

When i learnt MMSEL in the first session, i tried to  relate this experience with the theories of motivation. In perspective of behaviorist, learner are unlikely to behave in ways that is consistenly lead to punishements (Jane, E.O. 2008). It happened in students who were “kapok maju”. They aren’t motivated because if they failed, they would be kind a joke by the class. It made them scared. The behaviors of others lead them to do “kapok maju”.

Learners who are exterinsically motivated may want the good grades, money or recognition that particular activities and accomplishment brings (Jane, E.O. 2008). Extrinsic motivation was reflected  with students that is “kapok maju”. They performed a task as a means to an end (the gifts-oriented in this case). They do something to obtain something else.

Students who was interested in math usually did their best in class, doing presentation in front of the class, sometimes they loved doing something that teacher did not ask such as brought teacher’s eraser, marker and friends’ paper to his desk. They did it lovely without complaining because they do have such intrinsic motivation. Learners who are intrinsically motivated may engage in activitiy because it gives them pelasure or seem to be ethically or morrally right things to do (Jane, E.O. 2008). About intrinsic motivation, It really suits to the the theory, right?

Once i had asked to the teacher, why he always did question-race? “kejar materi, tuntutan kurikulum”, he said. But now i understand, with the simple things he has implemented, question-race and the other things described above,  so many motivation theories in the books that probably he never found or read.  He just did not realize it. 🙂

M. Zaenudin