Motivation refers to initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of behavior.
Motivation is having the desire and willingness to do something. The motivation for learning starts with a desire to achieve. Problems in being motivated starts where the learning experience created, for the transferring of new learning content, is not complementary to the learners learning personality and therefore the learning experience does not link to the learner’s natural talent and existing knowledge framework, the learner is struggling with the content of the learning material in linking this new content with their reference framework, which is the basis for learning, and as a result, the learner does not show any initiative and interest in this new learning content shared with the learner.
The feeling by the learner that they are not accepted or part of the natural environment, as well as the conflict that is been created between the new learning material and the learners existing framework of knowledge, skills and or experiences, leads to a lack of participation in the learning process by the learner. Motivation is a temporal and dynamic state that should not be confused with personality or emotion.
This feeling of not being part of the learning process, or the learning environment that is been created as part of the learning process, highlight memories of rejection, previous failures and as a result, the learner is expecting to fail. These negative past experiences, as well as the learner’s perception of being rejected, is now the actual environment the learner finds themselves in. These experiences within the learning environment eliminate the will and opportunity for the learner to take the risk. The initiative, direction, intensity and persistence in the learner’s behavior are absent. The most critical part of the learning equation is absent – Motivation.
The key to education for a productive lifestyle is motivation. It is of utmost importance for learners to want to be part of the learning process. It is therefore critical to create learning opportunities that will create learning experiences within the learner that will be in harmony with the learners learning personality, their natural talent and their experiences which define their reference framework and the basis for new content to be structured to make sense and stimulate initiative, direction, intensity and persistence in the learner’s behavior which is of utmost importance. As these positive elements of the learners, behaviour is complementary to the learning environment. It is very important that these positive elements of the learner’s behaviour are rewarded and reinforced.
When these positive elements of behavior are present and are complementary to the learning outcomes the reward must be intended to encourage the behavior to happen again. There are broadly two kinds of rewards, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic are external to the individual, for example, praise or money. Intrinsic on the other hand is where the rewards internal to the individual, for example, satisfaction or accomplishment. Intrinsic Motivation is evident when people engage in an activity for its own sake, without some external incentive present. Studies have shown that intrinsic motivation is associated with enjoyment by the learner. Although the ideal situation for education for a productive lifestyle is intrinsic motivation, there is value to be added in some aspects of extrinsic motivation – a learner improves their grades and the parents give them incentive. A worker gets better remuneration when they complete a qualification. This qualification is needed to obtain the person’s vision which is a promotion, dream job or a better remuneration. These examples show positive extrinsic motivation however in the later chase intrinsic motivation of job satisfaction, self-fulfillment, and accomplishment is also factored on its own that is a strong motivating factor to achieve.
Through self-reliance and self-development, there emerges a tremendous feeling of resourcefulness, pride, self-respect and superiority which is the basis for being motivated in achieving a productive lifestyle and as a result creates a love to learn. Individuals that maintain a love to learn and see learning as a lifelong process, are people who change the world.The first step to effective and lasting motivation is self-discovery. By continuously exploring and identify opportunities to discover oneself, we awaken our inner self, which creates a desire to learn more about the world around us and set in motion the establishment of a vision. By knowing more about what is happening around us and how things fit together, we start to identify our own role and the purpose we need to fill in the world we live in. By taking charge of our own life, we must be aware of our own strengths and our weaknesses as well as the barriers that could keep us from achieving our goals.
If any individual has an open mind, a love to learn and they maximized opportunities that are presented to them they will discover their own natural talent. When one discovers their natural talent, their personal development becomes like a fast-moving freight train, there is no way of stopping development.
To maximize self-discovery, we should guard against self-imposed limits. As we change from a passive mode to a self-discovery mode we should allow our self to rise higher than the limits we place on ourselves. We need to clearly define and formulate our dreams for our self, it must be so real when we close our eyes we must feel, taste, smell, hear and see success, and we must have confidence in ourselves. Once we have confidence in ourselves we will be able to define our dream and set clear goals.
Creating Your Dream
Socially Acceptable Dreams: – Socially Acceptable Dreams are based on professional skills that are looked upon, by society, with high esteem. Parents want their child to be a doctor, engineer or lawyer.The question is what is it that we want to achieve, is it the ideal job, financial freedom, happiness? To be able to achieve we must have a dream or a vision. This dream or vision must be clearly defined. We must realize that dreams are the starting point for formulating and identifying opportunities. There are basic three categories for dreams Socially Acceptable Dreams; Socially Unacceptable Dreams; and Wishful Thinking Dreams.
Socially Unacceptable Dreams: – Socially Unacceptable Dreams cannot be comprehended by the public. Original ideas attract criticism and are considered unrealistic until proven valid. Many people cannot face criticism therefore, they avoid innovative ideas. This is where the innovators find opportunity.
Wishful Thinking Dreams: – Wishful Thinking Dreams is the start of all dreams. It is the starter that gets the motor running. This type of dream is very normally used for the wrong reason or in the wrong context. Because of greed people dream to get something for nothing in return. There is no way to learn how to buy a winning lottery ticket. Normally opportunity does not fall into people’s lap without giving something in return such as skills, knowledge or know-how. Many people think their days of learning are over when they master the basics and then they revert to Wishful Thinking.
So it is very important to have a dream, a vision where we see ourselves, with our dream or vision we normally think in terms of fear. I am afraid of failing; I am afraid what other people will say if I fail. The problem with this type of thinking is that fear alone is not actionable. If we do not act to eliminate our fear, it feeds on itself and drains our motivation.
If you are caught up in fear-based thinking, the first step is to focus that energy on a well-defined goal. By defining a goal, you automatically force yourself to define a set of actions. If you have a fear that you will not achieve your dream, you revert to wishful thinking. Break this dream up into achievable goals and create a love to learn. As part of your actions to achieve your goals, you might have to gain more knowledge, skills, know-how or experience. By focusing your mind on a positive goal instead of an ambiguous fear, you put your brain to work. It instantly begins devising a step by step plan for success. Instead of worrying about not achieving your dream you start to do something about it. This is the first step in motivating yourself – to act. When you know what you want, you become motivated to act.
It is inevitable that you will encounter periods of low energy, bad luck, and even occasional failure. If you do not discipline your mind, these minor delays or fallbacks will turn into mental monsters. By being on guard ensuring that you are confident, have a dream and keeping direction on achieving your dream, you can preserve your motivation and propel yourself to success.If your dream and goals are clearly defined and you know where you are going, you have to have a day-to-day action plan how to get there. A lack of direction kills motivation because without an obvious next action we succumb to procrastination. By identifying short-term activities for each goal and working on them on a day to day basis complementing the longer-term objective which can only be achieved once all these short-term activities are concluded, this creates a positive momentum. After the short-term activities are successfully concluded and the sum of these activities contributes to the bigger goal. Action need to be taken to recognize this short-term achievement and consolidate the activities towards achieving the overall goal and eventually achieving your ultimate dream or vision. It is of utmost importance to write these activities, short term goals and medium-term goals down with time frames by when to complete these activities and consolidations the outcomes of these activities to keep track of the direction you are going and to keep a record on achieving your ultimate dream or vision. Keeping a record of your achievements, rewarding yourself for these achievements create positive reinforcement and keep motivation strong for long-term plans, goals, and dreams.
Prepare for Setbacks
The key to harnessing your emotions is to understand your emotions and to become emotionally intelligent. The natural pattern of human emotions is peaks and valleys. When we start a new project, we are filled with tremendous optimism. All we think about is the expected benefits, but we are not yet aware of the potential difficulties that could be involved in achieving the expected benefits. This natural high causes a surge of mental and physical activities. A peak is great, and we need to embrace this energy peak as this energy boost gets projects off the ground. During this period, you feel like nothing can stop you.
Emotions, by nature, lose its power once you understand your emotions. When we get angry and we take a moment to reflect on the reason behind the emotion only to see that the anger was caused by insecurity, selfishness, jealousy, etc. After we understand the cause of the anger we can deal with our emotions and channel our energy positively to add value to the situation.
The same principle applies to the loss of motivation. Instead of giving into negativity, step back and analyze the negative emotion. Look at what is the cause of the negative emotion which result in a loss of motivation. Are you tired, burned out, disappointed by the results you have achieved up to date? Are these feelings justified, or are they a by-product of a low point in the emotional spectrum? Understand the origin of our negative emotion is the first step of dealing with our emotions.
When you understand your emotional patterns, you will realize that optimism would give way to depression and you will be prepared for the impending motivational battle. The passing of these emotional peaks is a blessing in disguise because it allows us to re-evaluate your plans from a fresh perspective. At first, you are blinded by your own optimism. When you lose your motivation, you must use it as an opportunity to review your plans and identify the gaps in your plans and used these negative emotions to address these gaps. Having a pessimistic attitude should open your eyes and make you realistic about your abilities and expectations. Emotional valleys bring us back to reality.
Dealing with emotional highs and lows is an experience common to all people. We generally accept our emotions as beyond our control. They are powerful and mysterious and appear quite irrational. But if we contemplate our emotions, if we explore the inner workings of our minds, we find that like all things, emotions obey the law of cause and effect. Armed with this knowledge, we can continue to allow our emotions to dominate our lives, or we can use them to our benefit (we will review Emotional Intelligence key to success in more detail in Chapter 7).
Do not be surprised by a loss of motivation and do not be disappointed by it. Understand the reason behind the loss of motivation and the natural effect of the human mind, and utilize this knowledge of yourself to make your emotions work for you.
Motivation and Education
There are many people who drop out of high school and become self-made millionaires. HOW and WHY, you may ask? These achievers are focused and master the ability to stay motivated no matter what. They identify learning opportunities, for themselves, that link to their natural talent to develop valuable skills for their future.
There is still a very strong drive from society and the government to push failed policies which is not complementary to the diversity of learning personalities and in some cases result in learners being frustrated. The policy makers and society want to believe that academic based education systems where students succeed in a passive environment are the formula to find success. There is also perception within society that successful people are based on classroom compatibility. The fact is super achievers are learners who are interactive with the learning content which is in harmony with their natural talent. Their achievements are based on dreams, goals and/or creative ideas. Finding a way to develop self-inspired ideas and get it right. To get it right is a powerful motivating drive to achievers and if they do not succeed the first time, they keep on until they get it right, while learning the important lessons for not getting it right the first time and correct these areas where constraints and a lack of knowledge and skills exists.
Interactive and continuous learning are the power of people who have above average income. Learning which is in harmony with the learner’s natural talent is when you get maximum interactivity as the learner becomes part of the learning process and the learning content becomes their own.
For learners who want to maximize learning or interactive learning the following basics steps should be used as guidelines:
- The first step is to have a burning idea/ goal that motivates. This goal needs to be based on natural talents and must be free of outside pressure.
- Develop a list of smaller goals and/or objectives with action plans that will complement the achievement of the overall goal.
- Ensure you develop the habit of finishing what you start. Starting and not finishing small projects leads to nowhere. One must know to complete smaller tasks and achieve the outcomes of the smaller projects it will ensure that the larger projects and the overall goal will be achieved.
- Research to accumulate acquired knowledge related to the selected projects, objectives and tasks/functions. When knowledge is gathered the process followed to gather information need to be in harmony with individual learning personality. If the classroom is a turnoff, then use other learning methods, research, self-education, team education or whatever is in harmony with the learners learning personality and his / her natural talent.
- Develop creative knowledge with the help of intuitive forces. The level of creative ability depends on one’s ability to reject negative opinions and status quo pressures. By applying critical thinking skills and analyze new knowledge it does not just fit better in your reference framework, but it also allows for the development of creative knowledge
- When resources are available, experiment, trying and failing are learning tools. No one has ever become an achiever without first experiencing failure. By applying new knowledge and experience the application of the knowledge it is then that the knowledge becomes an integral part of the learner.
- Ensure to bounce back from failure. Thomas Edison had a thousand failures while inventing the light bulb. What if he quit at 900?… That’s not likely because achievers are motivated to keep pushing when on the right track, even if it is failure number 900. One only changes direction when it is obvious that your progress is blocked or in the wrong direction.
- Develop the ability to be persistent. The winners are the one’s who hang in there when everything goes wrong. The above steps are based on interactive learning. Many failing students would find a productive lifestyle if they had an interactive learning opportunity.
The argument is that students must learn academics and communication skills first. It is obvious that the so-called dropouts, who found success, did not go that route. They first focused on what motivated them, link the required learning to their natural talent as well as learning personality and the academic as well as the communication skills they need, becomes an integral part of their learning process where they are highly motivated. These learners depended on themselves to acquire the knowledge they needed, as the actual learning that the learner is involved with is complementary to their natural talent and their overall goal. It is known that these learners are challenging to a typical classroom environment as they reject people who wanted to control them they want to have a say on what they learn and how they learn for their own future. The challenge is to create a learning environment where the learner is led and directed rather than dictate to. In a lot of cases, these learners are referred for medical treatment and are diagnosed to have dysfunction.
Interactive learning is a learning methodology with powerful benefits for all learners. They do not only learn the art of processing knowledge, they understand the need for skills through experience. This motivates them to learn and not be dependent on others or be limited by the opinions of others. Interactive learning is man’s natural learning method and it is in harmony with the forces of nature.
In this Chapter, we refer to achievers, people that really make a difference in the world like Thomas Edison. His mother took him out of school because he did not cope with the school system and she put him in a workshop. It is easy to understand how Thomas experience with electricity to eventually invent the light globe. To develop interactive learning skills can be compared to the saying – “if a person is hungry do not give him a fish, teach him how to fish and he has food for life”. With interactive learning, the learner becomes part of their own destination. Interactive learning skills would give the learner the tools which will ensure maximum learning and the individual can reach his/her highest potential as they are focused and the learning is in harmony with the way they experience learning as well as their natural talent. Every person will not become a super achiever, but they would find ways to develop skills that would increase the value of their personal productivity as they will be able to reach their ultimate goal.
People by nature have a desire to learn and to be productive; they need an opportunity that is in harmony with their learning personality to maximize their learning potential. Opportunities where the content and or information needed to be learned is complimentary or could be offered in a way that it is experienced to be complementary to the learner’s interests or natural talent it is the ultimate way to unlock the natural desire to learn where the learning would be beneficial to Learner and society.
Why do Learners Fail?
In today’s pressing times there are three main reasons why Learners are failing. These fundamentals have a great impact on the young Learner. The basis for a love to learn is established at this younger stage which linked to the basics of the pedagogical process.
These factors that influence the love to learn in the early stages of the learner’s life could be justified as a result of all the different circumstances which families and people are placed under in the time we living in, we could even attempt to find ways of explaining and even justifying some of these factors that influence the learning process that results in the creation of negativity towards achievement. The reality is that once these factors, negatively influences the learner and the learner do not achieve the set targets and objectives within the environment they find themselves in, they believe they are failures as they are not excepted in the broader social communities, the result is they lose the natural love to learn and it is very difficult to get that natural love to learn back as the environment keep on demanding results and the learner keep on feeling lost and unable to fit into the environment. This becomes a vicious circle which ultimately destroys the learner’s natural love to learn.
It is also true that each child or individual experiences these factors that contribute to the loss of their love to learn in a different way and it has a different effect on each person. Generally, these issues have very negative effect on the lives and stability of child development. After the child reaches a specific level of maturity and accepts some of these factors, they tend to have less negative impact. However, it is during this time when these factors have the maximum impact on the child’s natural love to learn that leaves scars in a child’s life.
We must accept that education is a right for all children we have to ensure that we, “train up a child in the way he should go: and when his is old, he will not depart from it”. It is therefore of utmost importance to eliminate the possibility of negative influences and maximize the learning opportunities for our young learners and for those learners that are more matured, we have to manage the effects so that we create a maximum impact of each learning opportunity that we or the environment create. Every parent or guardian have a responsibility to minimize the exposure of our children to these factors and provide them with a support system that underpins their natural talent so that they can link their learning exposures to their natural talent and their learning personality which will stimulate their natural love to learn.
The three main reasons why young learners lose their love to learn which culminate in the learner being identified as a failure which is then transferred to the later stages of learning and in some cases even have a negative impact on the adult Learner. These areas that need special attention are Depopulation of Families, Intellectualization of the Child and the Perpetuation of Exclusion of the Child.
Depopulation of the family: A typical depopulated set of families are those with only one parent. In some cases for various reasons most families today have both the parents who work outside the home and most of these parents both work full time and children are increasingly growing up with no one to care for them or in the care of strangers or people that are not related to them at all.
Families are also depopulated through the fact that brothers and sisters are increasingly scares and the average child has less than one sibling. As the family has a direct influence on the natural learning by creating an environment for growth and development and natural learning through exposure to this environment where people who love one another interact, give advice, share experiences, learn from one another we have now the opposite where the exposure is eng and interaction are by appointment or occasion and not spontaneous. The depopulated families create various problems and constraints for the learner as it put limitations on their reference framework of knowledge, skills, and experience which a learner from an active, loving, caring and populated family have as a result of broader interactive participation on natural spontaneous learning activities.
Intellectualization of the Child: While we have been depriving our children of what they might obtain from a complete and vital family, what have we been doing to them at school? I do believe that we are witnessing the creation, through our school system, a breed of children whose value and progress are judged primarily by their capacity to do well on the test. Although children are whole people full of imagination, physical grace, social relationships, initiative, love and joy, our systems of learning and development largely ignores these other human potentials to concentrate on the cultivation of a narrow form of intellect.
We measure the success of schooling not by the human beings they promote, but by increases in reading scores. We have allowed quantitative standards, so central to our economic system and our way of thinking about it, to become the central yardstick for our definition of our children’s worth.
The perpetuation of exclusion: The two reasons for children failing mention above affect all children. Now I would like to focus on the problem of the excluded. Where children are born in the cellar of our society and systematically brought up to remain there. The exclusion referred to include the majority of our countries future leaders, business people and educators.
I am referring to children who are being deprived of the opportunity to realize their human potential, who are actively injured, hurt, deprived at times even the right to live. This is happening to our children as a result of race differences, poverty, handicap, and being born of parents too overwhelmed by life to be able to care responsively and lovingly for their children.
With the diversity of people living in any one single country race and cultural differences is a reality especially where the majority is overwhelming. There is many families that lives below the minimum budget for living as established by the relevant Government Department. There are large numbers of children that do not have access to adequate health care and millions of children live in substandard housing and millions attend deplorable schools.
What makes these facts even more disturbing is the frequency with which they occur together. The single-parent is likely to be poor. Poverty is irrevocably linked to inadequate medical care, poor housing, hunger, and a hungry child can rarely do well in school. The most powerful form of exclusion is not physical but social and psychological.
In summary excluded children are systematically trained to be failures. As people, they are defined as no good, inadequate, dirty, incompetent, ugly, dumb, and clumsy. They learn that the best strategy for coping is never to venture out, to take no risks, or constantly to be on defense. This pathetic sense of self and this view of the real world is, in fact, a perception of the messages our society gives these children and furthermore it is this perception that condemns them to lives of failure in social if not in human terms.
The themes that dominate our social and political future sing with our commitment to equality and fair play. How then can we understand the perpetuation of exclusion? It is the time that we see the potential in each individual and through the creation of opportunities linked to their natural talent so that we can be part of creating a love to learn in all learners. We are all created to be achievers, each in our own area of interest to maximize our potential.
The fact is that distribution of wealth and income has not changed materially in 150 years. Exclusion persists not because of evil motives of robbers, barons or the wicked intention. It persists because we all live in a system that is driven by the quest for innovation, growth, and profit.
But it is indispensable to realize that the profit has been reaped at costs which can not be quantified by intelligence ratings or a money value which is the reason why we must take them into account.
There are some prices we should not be willing to pay. The price of exclusion is enormous – not only in Money laid out for remedial services, for prisons, for mental hospitals, but in the anguish and pain exacted by social tension, unrest, and discontent. Finally, the people or the nation pays a continuing price far more serious: the moral and human price we pay simply by tolerating a system that wastes a significant portion of the potential of the next generation, wherein the advantage of some rest on the systematic deprivation of others.
It is clear for us to see that there are millions of people who suffer unmet needs for care and opportunities. These people should not be blamed; neither should their parents for crippling situations that are wrought by all of us within the system. It is, therefore, time that we do not behave like a collection of competing individuals but like a family of related people that care and love one another.
All Children acquire their fundamental “codes for learning” or “learning sets” in the family and their environment during the period ascribed to primary socialization. One Learning Set is the language code, the other Learning Set the value code. The language code gives the child the categories for structuring and communicating his experiences. The value code tells them what in their experiences is important. In a sense language becomes the medium through which the child perceives and expresses experiences, on the other hand, the values code to determine what part of their experience they will accept or reject.
Typically, education requires an achievement ethic, with consequent high values in the future, deferred gratification and symbolic commitment to success. Education assumes that every learner has had an opportunity to acquire beliefs; every person can be an achiever if they work hard if they are committed they also can reach the top.
It is the future, not the present that counts. One must use the present to prepare for the future. Time is valuable and must be maximized to the benefit of everyone. There is a perception that all individuals have the same view on the value of time and the preparation for the future. It is expected that learners will be able to defer gratification through a symbolic commitment to success; they will study Math now to become an engineer later. These are the values not only of the school; they are also the values of the families in which many of the children are raised. These children acquire from their earliest years a value code compatible with the school values, just as they acquire a language code compatible with the school language. There is no reason for them to change and the school provides no model for change.
In contrast to the learners that is focused on the future we have learners that experienced primarily a survival or subsistence ethic, with consequent high valuation on the present rather than the future, on immediate rather than deferred gratification, on concrete rather than symbolic commitment. For these learners there is no appeal to symbolic success as the only success the learner has seen can be measured by subsistence and survival. These learners face discontinuities when they engage in learning activities these discontinuities have a profound effect on their behavior toward learning.