How Motivation Leads To Cognition English Language Essay

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The definition of motivation according to Pintrich Motivational theories are concerned with the energization and direction of behavior. The term motivation is derived from the Latin verb movere, which means to move. In other words, motivational theories attempt to answer questions about what gets individuals moving (energization) and toward what activities or tasks.

From the above definition, we can shortly define motivation as "what makes a students move". In fact, it is the role of the teachers to know what activities suits some students than others, so if they know what students prefer or master or want, they can determine the suitable activities for each of them in order to motivate them. On the other hand, the good teacher uses good ways in education which must suit students' age, phase, gender, and their environment. Also teachers must take in account multiple intelligences theory, in which every student has certain intelligences which distinguishes him in the class. If teacher plans for each student's intelligence a suitable activity, the student will be motivated and hence achieved the goals of the lesson (cognition).

Types of motivation:

As Ryan and Deci (2000) said, "The researches suggest that motivation is hardly a unitary phenomenon. People have not only different amounts, but also different kinds of motivation. That is, they vary not only in level of motivation (i.e., how much motivation), but also in the orientation of that motivation (i.e., what type of motivation" (p. 54). There are two types of motivation that the teacher must notice every lesson Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Self-Determination Theory, distinguishes different types of motivation based on the different reasons or goals that give rise to an action. The most basic distinction is between intrinsic motivation, which refers to doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable, and extrinsic motivation, which refers to doing something because it leads to a separable outcome (Ryan and Deci, 2000, p.55). Intrinsic motivation is stemmed from instinct. It is the student natural curiosity to know, to explore and to learn things. As Ryan and Deci (2000) pointed out, "intrinsic motivation is not the only form of motivation, or even of volitional activity, but it is a pervasive and important one. From birth onward, humans, in their healthiest states, are active, inquisitive, curious, and playful creatures, displaying a ubiquitous readiness to learn and explore, and they do not require extraneous incentives to do so" (p.56). In other words intrinsic motivation is what every person feels and deeply thinks of toward something. The other type is extrinsic motivation, which is gained from the surrounding environment or people. It could be achieved in many ways, verbally, nonverbally, or by rewards. For example the teacher may ask students a question and says: "I will give an extra grade for you if you answer it quickly" (reward). He may encourage outstanding students after succeeding in an exam or answering a question by saying "good, excellent, or perfect" (verbally). Also he may give gifts for outstanding students and honors them in front of the whole class (reward). Richard & Ryan (2000) defined extrinsic motivation as "a construct that pertains whenever an activity is done in order to attain some separable outcome" (p.60). Extrinsic motivation thus differs from intrinsic motivation not just in the meaning but rather in the outcomes. Intrinsic motivation refers to doing an activity simply for the enjoyment of the activity itself but the outcome of extrinsic motivation is for instrumental value. Regarding rewards, Pintrich (2003) study clarified that: "rewards (such as grades, points, or panel honor) will not disappear in future because of their effect on student's motivation which could be supported and maintained" (p. 675). Teachers and supervisors are more and less concerned with extrinsic motivation because of its outcomes. These outcomes may be translated in the high results in exams, the creativity of making wall boards or any educational tools and using technology in explaining the preferred subject. Extrinsic motivation varies in the degree to which it is directed by a way or another to the personal objectives. This means, how important is the motivation to the student's life and personal needs. For example, when a student does his homework because he is afraid of his parent's or teacher's punishment (relatively personal). Another example is when student does his homework because he believes it is important in the matter of gaining grades or simply because it benefits him in later stages, university or works (totally personal)

As Paul Pintrich (2000) said, "Both examples involve instrumentalities, yet the latter case entails personal endorsement and a feeling of choice, whereas the former involves mere compliance with an external control. Both represent intentional behavior, but the two types of extrinsic motivation vary in their relative autonomy" (p. 60). The previous quotation asserts what we previously mentioned about degrees of extrinsic motivation in relation to individual intentions and aims. Current research has differentiated four types of extrinsic motivational styles that controlled or self determined .They are external, controlled by others; introjections, it is the start of internalizing values, but the person receives orders from others; identification, the start of internal control and approval of values and goals; and integration where a person possesses the internal control and knows what goals and values he needs (Pintrich, 2003, p.672).

The most important stage is the identification stage in which the student can identify what goals he wants to achieve from a certain lesson and how he could achieve this. Although it is an internal process but still it needs an extrinsic motivation from the teacher. Therefore it is very important for teachers to be aware of the development of these stages in their students' identity to give appropriate encouragement and reward as needed. In fact, the individuals who see themselves aware of their self-efficacy can plan for their future and behave in different way than those who have a low awareness of self-efficacy, who predict their future but not plan for it (confused identity).

What motivates students?

There are many social-cognitive models and researches that answer this question. The researches focused on achievement, classroom, and school-related beliefs of students and their role in motivating them in learning context. (Pintrich, 2003, p. 670). Teachers all the time seek to make students participate effectively in lessons, to do activities and hence to be motivated to do them. The motivation of students is connected in some ways with the multiple intelligence theory. When a student prefers a certain activity than another , the teacher must take in account this activity (intelligence), and develop it. Music Students, prefer all types of musical sentences and tasks. The teacher should put in his plan a suitable task for this group of students.

So in order to motivate students, teachers can do the following suggestions:

Teacher should focus on each student and notice his needs, and to give him/her the instruction for doing activities." As Toshalis and Nakkula pointed out, "This is better than (catch-all) technique" (p. 1). Because by this way teacher can reach each student and gives him his right in participation and then achieve the lesson's goals.

Teacher should create a suitable and creative environment in the classroom, he mustn't be critical all the time. Otherwise, students will not accept him, participate in activities or even give any attention to learning process. "Also, if the environment is physically, mentally, or emotionally unsafe, then it will be hard for the student to put all of his or her attention on learning" Williams & Williams, 2008, p. 3).

As mentioned previously, motivation and intelligences are connected and each one affects the other. As Toshalis & Nakkula ( 2012) stated: "it helps students understand that they can acquire new skills and improve existing skills through effort, regardless of past achievement, increases their motivation to try"(p. 1).

Teacher must give each student opportunity to choose the group he /she prefers to be with. Also the teachers should give him/her the right to speak about what he learned from group, because students are likely to be motivated and engaged within group when they feel that they have a voice and a role.

Use cooperative and collaborative groups to achieve both social and academic goals.

To teach students self-regulating skills and managing themselves in order to be rewarded from teacher and others also, to display his abilities in the classroom and to give attention to learning and doing tasks.

Use the benefits of technology, encouraging students to use it at home such as facebook, YouTube, phone applications and valuable websites to get information and participate it in the classroom. Of course the teacher should praise and reward these students.

Teacher can use collaborative quiz which the students engage in classroom experiences and can get and give answers to other students. So he will be given the opportunity to answer in front of the class and to get grades which motivates him in the next time to seek for answers individually with out depending on others.

Summarizing all this, the strategies of motivation are a lot and teachers can use what suit him and his students. He can choose the effective and successful one. So to understand motivation, teacher must take in account all theories about motivation and tries to understand them. As William & William (2008) pointed out:

The best way to gain some new understandings about motivation is to hold all of these theories simultaneously in mind, much like a giant puzzle, and see where there is good understanding and where there are gaps. These new ideas then could be translated into the classroom, using those specific items that are effective and useful in each instructor's unique classroom situation. At the very least, it seems that motivation in the classroom is a function of five components: student, teacher, content, method/process, and environment" (p. 18).

The previous quotation asserted the importance relation of the five components, student who are the core of the teaching learning process. The teacher who is the adapter of the whole process. The content, which is used by both the teacher and students. The method which the teacher should use best to motivate his students and environment which the teacher should develop and change to be safe and comfortable for his students.

Cognitive Engagement

After discussing motivation's definitions, types and ways to enhance motivation, we'll going to discuss an important issue. That is the importance of Cognitive Engagement inside the classroom. In fact, Cognitive Engagement is similar to the multiple intelligences theory which we've discussed in our cognition course. Multiple intelligences theory asserts that each person has one type or more of intelligence. Teachers during class should consider these types of intelligences and on their basis, plan their lessons and their tests. Cognitive Engagement approach highlights the role of student in the class, his interests, goals as well as his participation in the teaching - learning process. The following lines summarize this approach.

The Cognitive Engagement Model (Taylor, Pearson, Peterson, & Rodriguez, 2003) is an approach that identified the importance of student engagement and motivation in learning (Guthrie, 2004; Pressley, 2006). It is also based on the research on effective reading instruction that stressed the need to teach for meaning (Knapp, 1995; Taylor, Pearson, Clark, & Walpole, 2000). From this previous work, scientists have identified a model of instruction cognitive engagement. This model encourages teachers to consider HOW they teach ( instruments and techniques) as well as WHAT they teach( subject and students backgrounds) by asking them to reflect on the following issues : firstly, the student's engagement in higher level thinking during talk or writing about text (i.e. connections between the text and their lives). Secondly, whether the teacher teaches reading strategies (i.e. word recognition strategies, comprehension strategies) in addition to reading skills. Thirdly, whether teacher teaches reading with a student-support stance (i.e. modeling, coaching, listening/watching/giving feedback) in addition to a teacher-directed stance (telling and recitation). Fourthly, whether students engaged in active responding (every child read, write, manipulate, or orally respond with a partner) vs. passive responding (Listening to the teacher, reading turn-taking, oral turn-taking) during this reading lesson. Fifthly, whether the teacher clearly identifies and explains the purpose of the lesson to the Students (i.e. will the lesson help individual students grow in literacy abilities).

Several studies have shown that the more teachers include higher order talk and writing about text, strategy instruction, a student-support stance, and active responding, the more growth and achievement their students demonstrate on standardized reading tests (Taylor, Pearson, Peterson, & Rodriguez, 2002, 2003, 2005).

In short the Cognitive Engagement Model produces experience teachers who can use better and effective instructions and teaching strategies. This of course activates and strengthens students' cognitive engagement to the subject goals. Slavin and his associates (2009) found that what matters for student achievement are approaches that fundamentally change what teachers and students do together every day [emphasis added] such strategies had outcomes that were clearly and consistently more positive than those found for curricula or IT [Instructional Technologies] alone( p. 1453). Therefore, it is highly advised that using this model of cognitive engagement increases the student's growth and achievement in any grades, and in any field of study.


From our readings and understandings about motivation in classroom, we found many important issues. Motivation is a helpful instrument to be applied inside our classrooms... Research has shown that the more teachers give their students choice, control, challenge, and opportunities for cooperation, the more their motivation and engagement are likely to rise. It is also very important in the criteria of motivation to shed some lights on the importance of complex thinking it is very important for teachers to improve students', particularly the adolescents, sense of critical thinking. As Toshalis and Nakkula (2012) pointed out, " Research shows that increasing levels of self-determination give rise to greater integration of the students' own sense of purpose, interest, and desire with what may be required of them from outside forces"(p.2). In other words, Increasing levels of motivation and critical thinking shape and build adolescents' inner self regulation as well as their identity. There are many mainly two types of motivation intrinsic and extrinsic motivation which we have discussed earlier. Through understanding these types of motivation teachers can directly achieve the high levels of students' cognitive learning.

From our experience as teachers there are many techniques we use to motivate and engage students in the classrooms. Praising pupil's works (verbally) is one of these. For example, we keep saying the words "excellent and well done "when students successfully accomplish a task. These flattering expressions encourage the specific student as well as his classmates to produce and do better jobs in other tasks. Another good example of motivating students is giving them various kinds of gifts, prizes, certificates, money and others. Through these gifts we encourage the students and others to study and work hard. Other kinds of motivations include, drawing stars, writing enthusiastic expressions like "may God bless you", clapping, calling the student's name in the morning assembly. Through the various kinds of motivation we as teachers and parents, lead our students to the direct way toward cognitive learning. More importantly, we should reconsider the Cognitive Engagement approach. As w previously mentioned, Cognitive engagement approach calls for the importance of student's engagement in the various subjects. Excellent teachers are those who know what and how to engage their students. Qualified teachers know their students interests, their environment, and their levels of thinking. They plan their lessons as well as their techniques of teaching according to their students' abilities, interests and backgrounds. They try their best also to engage their students in the goals and in the lesson objectives. As we, as teachers, notice the more the lesson is student centered the more successful the teacher and the student's outcomes will be. Student-centered classrooms which strengthen power of self-determination can considerably increase achievement and motivation.

Therefore through motivation techniques and good use of cognitive engagement approach, our students become nearer to the direct way of cognition and understanding of any subject. Another final point we want to discuss is "how cognition leads to motivation". Cognition and motivation had a "reciprocal" and "recursive" relation; however there are little researches on this topic (Pintrich, 2003, p.679). However, from our experience as teachers we will give several examples of how cognition leads to motivation. Through students' cognition in a given subject, they become deeply motivated to study and explore it more and more. For example, if a student answers a question correctly and his teacher praises him directly, this student tries his best to study hard in the future to get more flattering from this teacher as well as other teachers. It is obvious that students like to be praised and encouraged in front of their colleagues ( self confident).Inside classrooms, we motivates students to search in the internet. Searching may explore pupils understanding and cognition in a particular subject. Several students after understanding a specific subject decide to study it deeper in future. In our schools, students who feel they are well recognize and understand a subject (i.e. English), this subject cognition and well understanding motivates them to specialize in it in the university stage. There are many reasons that stand behind student's cognition as we see in our classrooms. Student's interests in a subject, their love and respect to the teacher, the class environment, peers relations are integrated reasons for enhancing cognition. In other words, the more students loves his teacher, shows interest in a subject, feels comfortable in the surrounding environment and has good relation with his peers, the better he will understand with this subject ( cognition). This subject understanding may motivates him to internalize it and study it in future. In fact we can notice the effects of cognition on motivation from our young children expressions and behaviors at home or at school. Young children try to imitate their teachers inside the class or home. When a young children student, understand a lesson, he tries his best to re-explain it as his teacher did in the class. At home, children stand in front of their small board, hold a chalk and try to write today's letter. For example, as well as their teacher did in class. They even try to imitate and remember the same words, examples steps she said during the lesson. Their cognition to the lesson in the real lesson motivates them to re- explain it in their playing. We sometimes hear from parents thankful expressions because their children teach them how to draw a certain letter or to pronounce a given word. Other students show their cognition in a material through their motivation and their enthusiasm to teach their classmates. This is another good and last example of how cognition leads to motivation.