Using Intrinsic Motivation to Influence Behavior

Curriculum Design
Education 6524
Intrinsic Motivation Plan
Betty Krygsheld
Seattle Pacific University
Summer online, 2006
Assignment 1 Curriculum Change
This school year I would like to put into place a discipline concept called ‘The Raising
Responsibility System.‘ This concept is put forth by Dr. Marvin Marshal In his book
Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards (2002) Dr. Marshall writes about the
idea of intrinsic motivation in discipline as opposed to extrinsic motivators, such as
stickers, candy and praise. Marshall contrasts 2 points of view. In one scenario the
teacher sets up a set of rules, expects the student to follow them, and reacts with either
punishment for those who do not follow the appropriate behaviors or reward for those
who do. In the second scenario, the students are directly taught about the four levels of
social behavior; a)anarchy, b)bullying/bossing, c)conformity, and d)internal motivation –
doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. (Marshall 2002) Throughout the
year the levels are discuss with students in the context of reading, math, etc. (What does
it look like when you are reading because of internal motivation…) Reflective questions
are used at this time. Students are then asked to evaluate themselves mentally as to
which level they are functioning. Specific discipline problems are again dealt with using
reflective questioning, thus allowing the student to identify his level of behavior. If
consequences are needed they are elicited from the student. The goal then is to have
students self discipline and maintain decorum. The understanding is that quality schools
do not rely on rules. Instead they communicate high expectations and teach procedures
to facilitate those expectations. (Marshall 2002)
Skinner’s idea of behavior modification, changing behavior by providing immediate feed
back, is most frequently used in schools today. Teachers laboriously keep track of
behaviors, setting up reward systems for appropriate behaviors, or lists of punishments
for infractions. Many scholars today challenge this idea of extrinsic rewards or
punishment. As early as 1959, White’s theory of competence suggested that high quality
learning is associated with intrinsic learning, that is, learning that is motivated by the
pleasure and satisfaction that comes from the learning itself. Critics of Skinner’s ideas
pointed out that behavior modification are best used to control low level physical
behaviors. (Brophy 1998)
William Glaser stated that all humans have 5 basic needs:
survival, power, love, fun, and freedom. Further, he stated that no mater what teachers
use as an extrinsic motivator, some students will exert their need for power and simply
not learn if they do not agree with the reason for learning. (Glaser 1986) Other scholars
claim students show a decrease in motivation after receiving the award. (Carter, 1996
Simons, DeWitt, & Lens (2000). Deci and Ryan (1986 &1992) state that extrinsically
caused behavior actually undermines motivation, long term. When a reward is offered in
advance of the action, the student tends to focus on the reward, so it seems they are
engaging in the behavior simply to earn rewards.
Marshall’s idea of raising responsibility is based largely on the Self-Determination theory
developed by Deci and Ryan. (1985) Deci and Ryan make a distinction between intrinsic
motivation, that is, motivations to do something because it is inherently interesting or
enjoyable, and extrinsic motivation, in which something is done because it leads to a
separate outcome. The Self-Determination theory states that the quality of experience
and performance is enhanced when one is behaving from intrinsic vs extrinsic
motivation. (Ryan&Deci 1985) The researchers believe this is so because both internal
motivation and higher quality learning which they claim it leads to satisfies the human
need for competency, autonomy, and relatedness.
Some researchers such as Judy Cameron (1994) suggest that mixing both intrinsic and
extrinsic motivators is the best solutions to motivation problems in schools. They take a
‘what ever works’ approach. However research by Vansteenkiste suggests that
introducing any extrinsic motivators during the active learning process interferes with the
full comprehension of the study material. (Vansteenkiste, Simons, Matosh, Lacante 2004)
Marshal posits that we can only effect changes in ourselves, not in others. While we can
control someone, we cannot change that person. Since a student can only change from
within, a teacher must understand how to create an environment in the classroom in
which children want to learn, achieve, and behave appropriately. By teaching the student
the different social levels, allowing the student to reflect on each level and what that
behavior would ‘look like the student can reflect on what relationships within each social
level might be like, and the student is then able to choose their behavior instead of being
told how to behave. The motivation becomes internal. When discipline issues arise the
student is questioned reflectively, and is challenged to identify his level of social
behavior. The student himself can choose to make changes in their thinking and conduct.
The changes are made simply because they are the right thing to do, not because they are
being coerced or bribed to act in a certain way.
My plan is to introduce the four levels of social behavior (Marshall 2000) to students in
the first week of school. I will have the students come up with examples and draw
pictures of each behavior. Using reflective questioning, the students will give examples
of what social relationships would be like in each level. In addition, when level d ( the
level that discusses initiative, and responsibility) is discuss, I will have the students list on
the board procedures for being responsible in the classroom.
In addition each week we will discuss what level a, b, c, and d behavior looks like in a
specific content area—say reading. The students will reflect on their level of behavior in
that area for that day. When disruptive behavior must be addressed, the student will be
questioned reflectively as to which level of behavior he is functioning. If more action is
needed, the action will be elicited from the student.
Literature search:
Brophy, J.E. (1998). Motivating students to learn. Boston, MA: Mcgraw-Hill.
Cameron, J. & Pierce, W.D. (1994). Reinforcement, reward, and intrinsic motivation. A
Meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research. 64 (3) , 363-423.
Deci E.L., Koestne, R. & Ryan R.M. (1999). A Meta-analysis review of experiments
examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychological
Bulletin 125 no. 6. 627-668.
Deci, E.L. & Ryan, R.M. (1995). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human
behavior. New York: Plenum.
Deci, E.L. & Ryan, R.M. (1994). Facilitating internalization: The self-determination
perspective. Journal of Personality. 62 . 119-142.
Glasser, W. (1990). The quality school. New York: Harper Row
Marshall, M. (2000). Discipline without stress, punishment, or rewards. Piper Press.
Ryan R.M. & Deci E.L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Classic definitions
and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology. 25. 54-67
Ryan R.M. & Deci E.L. (2000). Self –determination theory and facilitation of intrinsic
motivation, social development, and well being. American Psychologist. 55 (1).
Simons J., DeWitte S. & Lens W. (2000). Wanting to have vs wanting to be: the effect of
perceived instrumentality on goal orientation. British Journal of Psychology.
91 (3) 335-351.
Vansteenkiste, M. Simon, J., Lens, W., Soenens, B., Matos, L., Lacante, M. (2004).
Less is sometimes more: Goal content matters. Journal of Educational
Psychology. 96 (4). 755-764.
White R. W. (1959). Motivation reconsidered. Psychological Review. 66. 297-333