Socio-emotional Development and Motivation

In Chapters 11 and 12 of Educational Psychology we look at the idea of socio-emotional development and motivation. In Chapter 11 we look at social cognitive theory and its implications in the theory of modelling. Chapter 11 also introduces us to concepts of  self-efficacy and agency. In Chapter 12 we examine the difference between in intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as well as key factors in how needs affect motivation.

I was particularly intrigued by the ideas of how social cognitive theory looks at social relationships in relation to ideas of learning and education. Through theories surrounding triarchic reciprocal causality social cognitive theorist believe that the interplay of personal, environmental and behavioural influences that we are shaped as much by our own reinforcement and punishment as by observing another person being being reinforced or punished. This belief is the theory that explains the idea of learning by observation or modelling. Modelling can be used with students to direct attention, encourage existing behaviours, change inhibitions, teach new behaviours.  Modelling can be used as an effective strategy in the classroom by using the teacher as a model but I would argue can be more effective when other students serve as a model. Peer modelling to me seems to be more effective as young children in particular learn well by observing and emulating others.

In Chapter 11 we look at self-efficacy and agency. Self-efficacy is the is a self-schema that involves the judgement of ones ability to perform as specific task. Self-efficacy is based on four sources in order for one to judge their level of efficacy they will assess their level of mastery, their level of arousal, and their vicarious experiences with the task. Self efficacy can also be influenced by social persuasion or “pep talk” that increases ones confidence in their own ability. Self-efficacy is directly linked to motivation in the greater the belief in ones self the greater the effort and persistence. A higher sense of self-efficacy means that students are more likely to set higher goals and to find new strategies to reach those goals when other strategies fail. Self-efficacy is an example of intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is internal and tends to be the motivation to do something when we don’t “have to”. Extrinsic motivations are less to do with the task at hand and more to do with external motivation. Extrinsic motivations focus on the gains– in other words extrinsic motivation looks at the reward. Essentially the difference between the two is the reason why we are acting. This is referenced to as the locus of causality. If the locus of causality is internal the motivation is intrinsic if it is external the motivation is extrinsic. This motivation comes into play when we start to examine Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. For Maslow and others who believe in self-determination theory motivation is key in addressing your needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is directly linked to different types of motivation. The four lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy (survival, safety, belonging and self-esteem) are linked to motivation in a deficiency model. The more these needs are satisfied the less motivation there is for fulfilling them. If your survival needs are fulfilled it is less likely that you will be motivated to pursue ways to further satisfy your needs. However the higher level needs (intellectual achievement, aesthetic appreciation and self-actualization) are what Maslow calls “being needs”. As these needs are satisfied a student’s motivation is to seek further fulfillment.

Two things that I related to in this weeks reading were the links to modelling as an effective strategy in the classroom. I know that I can think of times where I have used modelling in my art classroom. I often try and create a model of the behaviour I want to see in the room and the energy that needs to be there. Also I try to encourage peer modelling as well by using extrinsic motivation to acknowledge other students in the class room when they are demonstrating behaviours that I want to see in others. I also think it is important to encourage students to have self-efficacy and agency in a classroom. Crating students who are not only intrinsically motivated but also believe in their ability to accomplish the tasks you are giving them creates students who are eager to learn and proud of what they have accomplished. All of this creates a sense of urgency for students who are then better able to become their own advocate and succeed in school and society at large.

The one question I have is how do teachers encourage self-efficacy in their hardest to reach students? If self-efficacy is belief in one’s self  how do you reach those who have really struggled with self-doubt and low self-esteem?


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