Avoidance Achievement Motivation In Everyday Life Education Essay

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Motivation can be defined as the driving force behind all the actions of an individual. The influence of an individuals needs and desires both have a strong impact on the direction of their behavior. Motivation is based on your emotions and achievement-related goals. There are different forms of motivation including extrinsic, intrinsic, physiological, and achievement motivation. There are also more negative forms of motivation. Achievement motivation can be defined as the need for success or the attainment of excellence. Individuals will satisfy their needs through different means, and are driven to succeed for varying reasons both internal and external.

Main Body

Motivation is the basic drive for all of our actions. Motivation refers to the dynamics of our behavior, which involves our needs, desires, and ambitions in life. Achievement motivation is based on reaching success and achieving all of our aspirations in life. Achievement goals can affect the way a person performs a task and represent a desire to show competence. These basic physiological motivational drives affect our natural behavior in different environments. Most of our goals are incentive-based and can vary from basic hunger to the need for love and the establishment of mature sexual relationships. Our motives for achievement can range from biological needs to satisfying creative desires or realizing success in competitive ventures.

Achievement Goals and Information Seeking. Theorists have proposed that people's achievement goals affect their achievement-related attitudes and behaviors. Two different types of achievement-related attitudes include task-involvement and ego-involvement. Task-involvement is a motivational state in which a person's main goal is to acquire skills and understanding whereas the main goal in ego-involvement is to demonstrate superior abilities. One example of an activity where someone strives to attain mastery and demonstrate superior ability is schoolwork. However situational cues, such as the person's environment or surroundings, can affect the success of achieving a goal at any time.

Avoidance Achievement Motivation. In everyday life, individuals strive to be competent in their activities. In the past decade, many theorists have utilized a social-cognitive achievement goal approach in accounting for individuals striving for competence. An achievement goal is commonly defined as the purpose for engaging in a task, and the specific type of goal taken on creates a framework for how individuals experience their achievement pursuits. Achievement goal theorists commonly identify two distinct ideas toward competence: a performance goal focused on demonstrating ability when compared to others, and a mastery goal focused on the development of competence and task mastery. Mastery goals can lead to a motivational pattern that creates a preference for moderately challenging tasks, persistence in the face of failure, and increased enjoyment of tasks.

Most achievement goal theorists conceptualize both performance and mastery goals as the "approach" forms of motivation. Existing classical achievement motivation theorists claimed that activities are emphasized and oriented toward attaining success or avoiding failure, while the achievement goal theorists focused on their approach aspect. More recently, an integrated achievement goal conceptualization was proposed that includes both modern performance and mastery theories with the standard approach and avoidance features. In this basis for motivation, the performance goal is separated into an independent approach component and avoidance component, and three achievement orientations are conceived: a mastery goal focused on the development of competence and task mastery, a performance-approach goal directed toward the attainment of favorable judgments of competence, and a performance-avoidance goal centered on avoiding unfavorable judgments of competence. Performance-avoidance goals, however, are characterized as promoting negative circumstances. This avoidance orientation creates anxiety, task distraction, and a pattern of helpless achievement outcomes. Intrinsic motivation, which is the enjoyment of and interest in an activity for its own sake, plays a role in achievement outcomes as well. Performance-avoidance goals undermined intrinsic motivation while both mastery and performance-approach goals helped to increase it.

Most achievement theorists and philosophers also identify task-specific competence expectancies as an important variable in achievement settings. Achievement goals are created in order to obtain competence and avoid failure. These goals are viewed as implicit or self-attributed and direct achievement behavior. Competence expectancies were considered an important variable in classical achievement motivation theories, but now appear to only be moderately emphasized in contemporary perspectives.

Presently, achievement goal theory is the predominant approach to the analysis of achievement motivation. Most contemporary theorists use the frameworks of Nicholls' revised models in two important ways. First, most theorists institute primary orientations toward competence, by either differentiating between mastery and ability goals or contrasting task and ego involvement. A contention was raised toward the achievement goal frameworks on whether or not they are conceptually similar enough to justify a convergence of the mastery goal form (learning, task involvement and mastery) with the performance goal form (ability and performance, ego involvement, competition). Secondly, most modern theorists characterized both mastery and performance goals as approach forms of motivation, or they failed to consider approach and avoidance as independent motivational tendencies within the performance goal orientation.

The type of orientation adopted at the outset of an activity creates a context for how individuals interpret, evaluate, and act on information and experiences in an achievement setting. Adoption of a mastery goal is hypothesized to produce a mastery motivational pattern characterized by a preference for moderately challenging tasks, persistence in the face of failure, a positive stance toward learning, and enhanced task enjoyment. A helpless motivational response, however, is the result of the adoption of a performance goal orientation. This includes a preference for easy or difficult tasks, effort withdrawal in the face of failure, shifting the blame of failure to lack of ability, and decreased enjoyment of tasks. Mastery goals are expected to have a uniform effect across all levels of perceived competence, leading to a mastery pattern. Performance goals can lead to mastery in individuals with a high perceived competence and a helpless motivational pattern in those with low competence.

Three motivational goal theories have recently been proposed based on the tri-variant framework by achievement goal theorists: mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance. Performance-approach and mastery goals both represent approach orientations according to potential positive outcomes, such as the attainment of competence and task mastery. These forms of behavior and self-regulation commonly produce a variety of affective and perceptual-cognitive processes that facilitate optimal task engagement. They challenge sensitivity to information relevant to success and effective concentration in the activity, leading to the mastery set of motivational responses described by achievement goal theorists. It creates sensitivity to failure-relevant information and invokes an anxiety-based preoccupation with the appearance of oneself rather than the concerns of the task, which can lead to the helpless set of motivational responses. The three goal theories presented are very process oriented in nature.

An alternative set of predictions may be derived from the approach-avoidance framework. Both performance-approach and mastery goals are focused on attaining competence and foster intrinsic motivation. More specifically, in performance-approach or mastery orientations, individuals perceive the achievement setting as a challenge, and this likely will create excitement, encourage cognitive functioning, increase concentration and task absorption, and direct the person toward success and mastery of information which facilitates intrinsic motivation. The performance-avoidance goal is focused on avoiding incompetence, where individuals see the achievement setting as a threat and seek to escape it. This orientation is likely to elicit anxiety and withdrawal of effort and cognitive resources while disrupting concentration and motivation.


Personal Goals Analysis. In recent years, theorists have increasingly relied on various goal constructs to account for action in achievement settings. Four levels of goal representation have been introduced: task-specific guidelines for performance, such as performing a certain action, situation-specific orientations that represent the purpose of achievement activity, such as demonstrating competence relative to others in a situation, personal goals that symbolize achievement pursuits, such as getting good grades, and self-standards and future self-images, including planning for future goals and successes. These goal-based achievement motivation theories have focused almost exclusively on approach forms behavior but in recent years have shifted more toward avoidance.

Motivation is an important factor in everyday life. Our basic behaviors and feelings are affected by our inner drive to succeed over life's challenges while we set goals for ourselves. Our motivation also promotes our feelings of competence and self-worth as we achieve our goals. It provides us with means to compete with others in order to better ourselves and to seek out new information to learn and absorb. Individuals experience motivation in different ways, whether it is task- or ego-based in nature. Some people strive to achieve their goals for personal satisfaction and self-improvement while others compete with their surroundings in achievement settings to simply be classified as the best. Motivation and the resulting behavior are both affected by the many different models of achievement motivation. These models, although separate, are very similar in nature and theory. The mastery and performance achievement settings each have a considerable effect on how an individual is motivated. Each theorist has made a contribution to the existing theories in today's achievement studies. More often than not, theorists build off of each other's work to expand old ideas and create new ones. Achievement motivation is an intriguing field, and I find myself more interested after reviewing similar theories from different perspectives.


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Question 2


The term educational technology refers to the use of technology in educational settings, whether it be elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, corporate training sites, or independent study at home. This discussion, however, will focus on educational technology in grades.

Educational technology has both general and specialized meanings. To the lay public and to a majority of educators, the term refers to the instructional use of computers, television, and other kinds of electronic hardware and software. Specialists in educational technology, in particular college and university faculty who conduct research and teach courses on educational technology, prefer the term instructional technology because it draws attention to the instructional use of educational technology. This term represents both a process and the particular devices that teachers employ in their classrooms. According to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, one of the principal professional associations representing educational technologists, "Instructional Technology is a complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organization for analyzing problems, and devising, implementing evaluating, and managing solutions to these problems, in situations in which learning is purposive and controlled."(p. 4). Educational technologists often employ the term instructional media to represent all of the devices that teachers and learners use to support learning. However, for many educators the terms educational technology, instructional media, and instructional technology are used interchangeably, and they are used so here. In addition, the principal focus will be upon the most modern computational and communication devices used in schools today.

Main Body

History of Educational Technology. The history of educational technology is marked by the increasing complexity and sophistication of devices, exaggerated claims of effectiveness by technology advocates, sporadic implementation by classroom teachers, and little evidence that the technology employed has made a difference in student learning. Although technology proponents have from time to time claimed that technology will replace teachers, this has not occurred. The typical view among educators is that technology can be used effectively to supplement instruction by providing instructional variety, by helping to make abstract concepts concrete, and by stimulating interest among students.

The terms visual education and visual instruction were used originally because many of the media available to teachers, such as three-dimensional objects, photographs, and silent films, depended upon sight. Later, when sound was added to film and audio recordings became popular, the terms audiovisual education, audiovisual instruction, and audiovisual devices were used to represent the variety of media employed to supplement instruction. These were the principal terms used to describe educational technology until about 1970.

The first administrative organizations in schools to manage instructional media were school museums. The first school museum was established in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1905. Its purpose was to collect and loan portable museum exhibits, films, photographs, charts, stereographic slides, and other materials to teachers for use in their classrooms. District-wide media centers, common in school systems today, are descendants of school museums.

Despite these efforts, films never reached the level of influence in schools that Edison had predicted. From evidence of film use, it appears that teachers used films only sparingly. Some of the reasons cited for infrequent use were teachers' lack of skill in using equipment and film; the cost of films, equipment, and upkeep; inaccessibility of equipment when it was needed; and the time involved in finding the right film for each class.

Radio was the next technology to gain attention. Benjamin Darrow, founder and first director of the Ohio School of the Air, imagined that radio would provide "schools of the air". In 1920 the Radio Division of the U.S. Department of Commerce began to license commercial and educational stations. Soon schools, colleges, departments of education, and commercial stations were providing radio programming to schools. Nevertheless, radio did not have the impact on schools its advocates had hoped. In the beginning, poor audio reception and the cost of equipment were cited as obstacles to use. When these problems were overcome in later years, the lack of fit between the broadcasts and teachers' instructional agendas became more important factors. Ultimately, efforts to promote radio instruction in schools were abandoned when television became available.

Educational television stations continued to provide some programming, and school systems and state departments of education formed consortia to pool funds to provide for the cost of program development. Congress also provided funds to support instructional television via satellite transmission in an effort to help rural schools, in particular, to obtain courses that might not otherwise be available to their students. However, instructional television appeared to prosper only where there was substantial public, corporate, or commercial support. Schools found it difficult to meet the substantial costs incurred for program development and the purchase and maintenance of equipment. Moreover, despite repeated efforts, it proved nearly impossible to broadcast instruction when individual teachers needed it.

Technology and Learning. A primary purpose for employing instructional technology in schools is to enhance student learning. Has technology been successful in helping students learn more effectively and efficiently? Much research has been done on this question, but the answer is far from certain. Most research on educational technology has consisted of media comparison studies. After assigning comparable students to control groups or to experimental groups, the researcher presents the experimental group of students with instruction that employs the new media, while the control group experiences the same content without the new media. The researcher then compares the achievement of the two groups.

After reviewing hundreds of such studies, educational technologist Richard Clark concluded that "there are no learning benefits to be gained from employing any specific medium to deliver instruction," and that "media do not influence learning under any conditions," but are "mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition. According to Clark, any positive results that were gained by experimental groups over the control groups were easily accounted for by differences in instructional strategy.

Clark's findings were controversial and have been disputed by other reputable scholars. Nevertheless, Clark's opinions are useful in clarifying technology's role in instruction. Technology is neutral; there is nothing inherent about the media that assures learning. A poorly designed computer program is unlikely to advance learning and may even hinder it.

This relationship between learning and technology is further complicated by disagreements over what constitutes learning. During the first half of the twentieth century, transfer-of-learning theories were popular among classroom teachers. According to these theories, the principal task of the teacher was to transfer the teacher's knowledge and textbook content to the students' minds and, through periodic examinations, determine if the transfer occurred. The task of instructional media was to assist in that transfer process by means of accurate and compelling presentations of content.

During the second half of the century, educators embraced other theories of learning. At least two of these theories have influenced the development of instructional media for schools. One of these theories is behaviorism; the other is constructivism.

The interest in behaviorism occurred about the same time that the first computer-assisted programs (CAI) were being developed. It is not surprising that the first CAI programs were essentially computer applications of printed, programmed learning books. Computers appeared to offer a good solution. Students could be assigned to a computer to work at their own pace, and the computer would keep track of students' work and provide a record of each student's progress for the teacher. Such programs evolved into what were later called individualized learning systems (ILS). ILS software and hardware were installed in school computer laboratories; they provided drill and practice exercises that were judged valuable, especially for students with learning difficulties. The behavioral movement also had an impact on the educational technology profession. The belief that it was possible to design instruction so that all students could learn led to an interest in the design of learning materials and in a systems approach to instruction.

During the last half of the twentieth century, cognitive theories of learning gained ascendancy over behaviorism among psychologists, and some of the views of cognitive psychologists, represented by the term constructivism, began to influence education. Constructivists argued that learners must construct their own understanding of whatever is being taught. According to this perspective, the teacher's task is not primarily one of promoting knowledge transfer, nor is it one of ensuring that students perform consistently according to a predetermined description of knowledge and skills. The teacher's role is to create an environment in which students are able to arrive at their own interpretations of knowledge while becoming ever more skillful in directing their own learning.

Many constructivists were initially critical of the use of computers in schools because they equated the use of computers with behaviorist theories of learning. Other constructivists recognized the computer as a potential ally and designed programs that took advantage of constructivist beliefs. The result has been computer-based programs that promote higher-level thinking and encourage collaborative learning.

Current Technologies Used in Schools. Whatever learning theory a teacher may embrace, many technologies exist in schools to enhance instruction and to support student learning. While teachers vary greatly in their use of these technologies, teachers select media they believe will promote their instructional goals. Following are a few examples of computers being used to support four goals: building student capacity for research, making student inquiry more realistic, enabling students to present information in appealing forms, and offering students access to learning resources within and beyond the school.

Student research. Students once relied upon local and school libraries and their printed reference materials to research topics. Now, however, computer technologies provide access to digital versions of these referencesâ€"and to libraries worldwide. Encyclopedias on CD-ROMs provide information, digital images, video, and audio, and also provide links to websites where students access tools such as live web cameras and global positioning satellites. Dictionaries and thesauruses are built into word processors. Through the Internet students can gain access to a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, including government documents, photographs, and diaries.

Student inquiry. Educational reformers believe education needs to be real and authentic for students. Technology can engage students in real-world activities. In the sciences, electronic probes allow science students to collect precise weather or chemical reaction data and digitally trace trends and answer hypotheses. Graphing calculators, spreadsheets, and graphing software provide mathematics students with the ability to visualize difficult mathematical concepts. In the social sciences, electronic communication tools example Internet conferencing, e-mail, electronic discussion groups allow students to communicate with their peers from many parts of the world. In the language arts, students use handheld computers and wireless networks to create joint writing exercises and read electronic books that allow them to explore related topics. Concept-mapping software provides all students with the opportunity to build the framework for a story or report and to map out linkages among complex characters, such as those in a play by Shakespeare. In the arts, students can explore images of original artwork through the Internet; with appropriate software they can create original digital artwork or musical compositions. Physical education students can use electronic probes to learn about the relationship between the impact of physical movement and physiological changes.


Authentic student inquiry extends beyond data collection. It also implies the opportunity for students to investigate questions or issues that concern them. Communications technology allows students to contact experts such as scientists, book authors, and political leaders. Electronic communication tools support interactions and increase the probability of prompt responses. Students who want to learn more about a current event, such as an experiment on an international space station, scientific endeavors in the Antarctic, an international meeting of environmentalists, or a musher during the Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska, can use the Internet to investigate the topic, participate in a virtual field trip to the event, and watch the event as it unfolds through a web camera. In this manner, instructional technology assists students who wish to investigate their own questions and concern.