A motivation plan for any school is extremely important for the success of any educational program. Students who are not motivated will not learn and in turn won’t succeed. Many components should be included in a motivational plan so that all the needs of students are met and each student has goals that are attainable and can be reached. According to Hersey (2008), “Goals should be set high enough that a person has to stretch to reach them but low enough that they can be attained.” Goal setting, rewards, both tangible and non-tangible, and a sense of belonging are motivational components that should be included in a motivational plan.
The first part of a motivational plan that I would feel essential for my school would be goal setting. At the current school that I work at, I feel like this is a missing part of our motivational plan and it greatly affects our students. Without goals, the students don’t know what they are working towards, this creates confusion and a detachment from the meaning of education. Although some students may set personal goals, I feel like it’s important for there to be group goals so that the students can work together to achieve them and be more motivated.
Goals should be set high, but not so high that students can’t achieve them. Goals that are too high would do the opposite of motivate, it would create despair and students would give up eventually because they would know that their effort is not worthwhile. Setting goals that are attainable will motivate students and will give students the confidence that they need to continue their efforts in reaching additional goals. If students know that they can reach a goal, something that is attainable and reachable, they’ll be more motivated to try so that they can have that feeling of accomplishment.
Another important aspect of goal setting is that the goals are changed and updated frequently so that students constantly have something to work for. Once a student achieves a particular goal, the motivation will be gone unless they have something else to work towards, something else to motivate them. Hersey (2008) also supports this idea by stating, “Once the child becomes proficient in attaining a particular goal, it becomes appropriate for the parent to provide an opportunity for the child to identify and set new goals.” So, it’s my plan to work with the students to create attainable goals frequently so that students have constant motivation and something that they can always work towards. I believe that goal setting is a major component of any motivation plan and this will be the main focus behind mine. I feel that it’s extremely important that students have goals and something to work towards, otherwise there will be no motivation behind their actions.
The second component of my motivation plan will be tangible and intangible rewards. Students will work towards something and be more motivated if they receive something in return. This is similar to why anyone get a job. They work hard and complete actions in order to receive the tangible reward of money and the intangible reward of accomplishment. Students are going to be more motivated and work harder if they will get something in return for their hard work, whether it’s intangible like a feeling, or tangible, like good grades or rewards. “It is no surprise, then, that to improve academic achievement of middle school students, successful programs incorporate the social contexts for both intrinsic motivation and internalized extrinsic motivation” (Wilson & Corpus, 2001).
Although studies have shown that extrinsic rewards are only beneficial short term and can be detrimental in long term situations, (Corpus &Wilson, 2001), I believe that every now and then a tangible reward is needed and can result is a positive outcome and increased motivation. An example of this is a current motivational strategy that we use at my current school regarding awards for good grades, citizenship, and good attendance. Students get awards every semester for achieving milestones in these categories and I believe that it does increase student motivation. If a student is close to the end of the semester and has a B+ in one class, they will are motivated to raise that one grade in order to get the highest award presented to them in front of their parents, teachers, and students, since we do the award ceremony during the school day. I have personally seen the motivation that is created by these awards and I plan to include this in my motivational plan as well.
Intangible awards can also be very successful in creating motivation and are more beneficial long term although short term effects may not be as common as with the tangible rewards. Students respond to intrinsic rewards like praise, self assurance, and accomplishment. “There are, however, many intangible rewards, such as praise or power, that are just as important and effective for use as incentives when endeavoring to evoke a particular behavior” (Hersey, 2008). To incorporate this into my plan I would like to see more praise for good behavior, as well as giving students more choices in the classroom. By giving students choices, they will feel more empowered by their choice and feel more accomplished when they achieve it, resulting in increase motivation.
Finally, I would like to see a good sense of community and belonging in my school community. According to Glasser (1985), the five basic needs common to all people are the need for belonging, power, fun, freedom, and survival. With a sense of belonging, students will have more ownership over their behavior and will be more motivated to succeed. It’s been my experience that students that are out-casts aren’t motivated to succeed because they have no reason to, no one to share their success with. The opposite would happen if students feel like they belong and have someone to share their motivation and success with.
Overall, more than one component is important to any successful motivational plan. My plan will focus on goal setting, rewards, and a sense of belonging or community within my school. With these factors I hope that my students will be motivated to learn and become better students and people. It’s my belief that although many factor are essential to a motivation plan, it’s crucial that goals are set so that students have something to work towards. Without a goal to work towards, students won’t feel like they have a reason to be motivated. These are the components that will be included in my motivational plan for my future school.
Courtney from Study Moose
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