Sunday, April 18, 2010

Motivation for Study

                                                 Motivation for Study
(i) Introduction:
 Motives are mental energy forces. They are the basis of the "mental effort" we put into our work. When they are strongly active you work hard and concentrate easily. When they are inactive, then the task is difficult to get down to and your performance is poor. To illustrate this point, take a simple example of motivation in relation to the need for food. If your need is great, you will be strongly motivated and find yourself unable to think of anything other than food. If, on the other hand, you have just had a meal, your motivation towards the food will be very small, perhaps non-existent, and far from actively searching for food, the thought or sight of it will disinterest or even repel you. Similarly, if you are in great need of sleep, you can't be bothered even to participate in activities which interest you. However, if you have just awakened refreshed, your need for further sleep is much less and you have energy to tackle new problems. These same principles apply to working, thinking, paying attention, learning etc. When you want to work, either because of a pressing need (e.g. just before an examination or from fear of punishment) or because you are interested in the job in hand, your performance will be much better than if you are disinterested and cannot be bothered. The fact that we all work harder and more readily than at others, why we can persist in the face of difficulties, etc. An awareness of the importance of motivation is fundamental to our investigation of "study-methods".
(b) What Motivates Us to Study?
We may well say that when we are discussing the motivation of eating, sleeping and so forth we are talking about “natural processes” for which there must be “natural motives” built into the mind. Surely, however, as “studying” is not the natural process there can be no motives designed to activate the mind towards it. The answer to this problem lies in the fact that many, if not all, motives are capable of adaptation to the circumstances in which they are to be used. The following motives probably play a large part in making us want to study, providing we are reasonably competent to tackle the material involved:
(1) Curiosity, i.e. the natural tendency to want to find out as much as possible about your surroundings;
(2) Ambition, i.e. the sophisticated manifestation of aggression turned not towards other people but towards problems, hurdles, promotion, etc;
(3) Competition, i.e. the desire for self-respect, social acceptance and respect from others by being able to cope with problem and life as well as if not better than they can;
(4) Interest, i.e. the feeling that a subject or problem is worth tackling and overcoming for its own sake;
(5) Self-Preservation, i.e. the need for a qualification to give you a job, money, possessions, etc., which will make life possible and congenial for you later on.
(iii) The Improvement of Motivation:
From what we have just said it is obviously very important that we should constantly strive to control and direct our motives in a manner most likely to improve our studying efficiency. This is a very difficult task to advise on by the following practical hints may be given:
(1)  Always try to understand the material you are studying, the reasons for studying it, the need for success, etc. A lazy student can often be strongly motivated by failure in a mock examination or terminal test when he realizes that a greater effort is required if eventually he is to succeed.
(2) Knowledge of how you are progressing acts in much the same way. To write essays and answer tests whose marks are not told to you or even to follow a two-or-three-year course with no definite assessments during its continuation can greatly reduce motivation in a student. To know how he is coping is the only real yardstick by which a student can decide whether his present effort is adequate or how much more is needed for success. Many teachers believe that for best motivation an encouraging mark (i.e. not too depressingly low but not to high that the student rests on his laurels) should be given wherever possible. When regular marks are available from a teacher there should be used by the student as criteria for deciding upon the future effort to be made. Do not make excuses to yourself about leaving revision and hard work to the end of the course. Constantly strive to improve the marks you get throughout the course.
(3) If you believe your work to be important or interesting motivation is generally good.
(4) Competition is an excellent form of motivation either with:
      (a) Other students in a similar situation to yourself (providing that you do not always excel or come bottom of the group);
      (b) Yourself by keeping records of how much you have improved during a given period of time.


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