“How many of you would study as hard as you have now if there were no tests, and if the class were ungraded?”

Someone who answered, “I will still study hard”, seems so naive and unrealistic. However, it is not necessarily wrong. It is possible that this person’s intrinsic motivation is so high thus he/she does not really need extrinsic motivation such as tests and grades.

The others may answer, “Maybe I think I will be lazy since I won’t get bad mark or grade D although I don’t study”. Yeah, that’s common answer. People may have less intrinsic motivation to study so that the existence of extrinsic motivation (e.g. tests, grades, etc) is essential.

I learned that extrinsic and intrinsic motivation is related to and affecting each other. Someone may have so-so intrinsic motivation so that he/she needs extrinsic motivation to keep balance.

Do you remember theories we learned in Educational psychology class? Yup, I think all SSE students are familiar with behaviorist, cognitive, sociocultural, and humanistic theory of learning. But in this time, it was slightly different. We, as students of MMSEL section A, were asked to recall those theories but on their view of motivation.

We did a group work to discuss these theories. Unfortunately, recalling those theories was not that easy. I feel like the files in my brain were hiding and messy. But that’s what I like from group work. When you cannot do it by yourself, you can ask others. That’s probably one of my extrinsic motivations to love group work.

Finally, we got all the theories!

First one is the most popular which is BEHAVIORIST. Keywords for this theory are reward and punishment. This theory stated that reward and punishment is very important in dealing with students’ motivation. First time I thought this theory was so old-fashioned. I did not realize that it is still happening nowadays. Yes, it is happening. Grade is one example. When you are active in class and teacher gives “additional” mark for you, it shows that teacher give you a reward. Since you know that you can get additional mark, you become more active in class. Just see how powerful this reward to motivate students.

The second one is SOCIOCULTURAL. In sociocultural view, the feeling that someone can comfortably interact with others is important. When students feel like their surrounding supports them, they will be more motivated.

The third one is HUMANISTIC. In this view, students will be motivated if they feel like they can fully develop their potential. The fact that students are not merely intellectual robot that does not have physical and emotional needs, raise this theory. Based on this view, students also should be treated as human being as a whole.

The last but not least is COGNITIVE. This view concerns more on students’ competence as a source of motivation. Teacher should make students realize their own internal ability so that students may say, “I can do it”.

These theories are not separated to each other. I thought all people behind these theories care on students’ motivation. What I should learn is that I cannot underestimate one theory from another and I cannot only praise one theory, too. I think I should be more flexible and apply these theories in class. Maybe sometimes behaviorist theory works, sometimes not. Or maybe sometimes the combination of some theories works well in class. The most important thing is students’ development. When the application of the theory indeed increases students’ motivation to learn so that they can develop their learning too, I think that’s the most expected outcome in applying theories of motivation.


Namirah F