OliviaMakhetha201310.. - EBC International TEFL Certificate

Motivation Theories Essay Assignment
Olivia Makhetha
30 October 2013
In the “Motivation to learn: An overview” by Huitt, W. (2011), motivation is defined, based on the
consensus view from a variety of psychology texts, as:
“the internal state or condition that activates behaviour and gives it direction;
desire or want that energises and directs goal-oriented behaviour; and
influence of needs and desires on the intensity and direction of behaviour.”
Furthermore, Robert E. Franken (Human Motivation, 2006) is noted for providing an additional
element to the understanding of motivation with his definition: “the arousal, direction, and
persistence of behaviour.”
In his book, “The Motivation to Work” (1959), Frederick Herzberg noted that: “Job satisfiers deal
with the factors involved in doing the job, whereas job-dissatisfiers deal with the factors which
define the job context”. Herzberg’s research showed that certain factors truly motivate
(“motivators”), while others tended to lead to dissatisfaction (“hygiene factors”).
Herzberg's research also proved that people will strive to achieve hygiene needs because they are
unhappy without them; but once satisfied, the effect soon wears off. Herzberg believed that people
are only truly motivated by enabling them to reach for and satisfy the factors that he identified as
real motivators, such as:
development or personal growth;
the work itself; and
Hygiene factors, on the other hand, include aspects like work conditions and the relationship with
the supervisor.
During my observation of the class, I noted the following:
 The teacher tended to give the students brief instructions with no follow up to see whether
they understood them, even though it was a beginner class. Because of this, students would
often turn to each other to confirm what they were required to do, in Spanish;
 The same applied when presenting new vocabulary; the presentations were very brief, with
minimal explanation and no follow up to check that the students understood;
 When some students finished their activities earlier than the rest of the class, the teacher did
not seem to notice and, therefore, left them to wait for the others; and
 The teacher seemed to prefer to teach from behind her desk and did not really interact with
the students or monitor their progress closely.
There was good variety in the activities that the teacher had planned and this kept the students
stimulated and challenged. However, had the teacher interacted with the students and ensured that
sufficient time was spent on checking their understanding; the lesson would have been more
enjoyable and interesting for all.
My overall assessment of the assigned class may be explained by Herzberg’s theory. While, from
time to time, there were obvious fluctuations (either positive or negative) in the students’ attention,
this did not appear to affect the students’ desire and drive to learn and to participate in the lesson. I
feel that where I noted positive or negative fluctuations, it was the students’ “happiness” and
engagement or attention levels that were affected and not their motivation.
Of the above six motivators, I would presume that the students in the class are largely motivated by
the need for advancement, personal development and growth. The new language and vocabulary
that they were exposed to, together with the varied lesson activities, would have satisfied these
motivators and enabled the students to continue to actively participate in the lesson, regardless of
the “working conditions”.
David Ausubel, the cognitive learning theorist, was of the view that motivation is not a necessary
precursor for learning to occur; motivation is more a result or outcome of instruction rather than a
cause of it. Ausubel was prescriptive with regards to how to develop effective lessons and
instructional materials. He was of the view that motivation will flow from a well-conducted lesson.
Based on the observations above, it would seem that the lesson was planned well enough – with
sufficient variety - to appeal to the students’ motivators. However, had it been better conducted, it
would have possibly boosted the students’ motivation and given them a greater sense of
 Frederick Herzberg: Businessballs.com (2000) Frederick Herzberg - Motivational theory,
motivators and hygiene factors, free herzberg diagrams. [online] Available at:
 David Ausubel: Instructionaldesign.org (1968) David Ausubel - Subsumption theory. [online]
Available at: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/subsumption-theory.html
 EdPsyc Interactive website. Motivation to learn: An Overview [online] Available at:
 EBC International TEFL Certificate Course Manual, Pages 138 to 147, Published by EBC
Servicios Lingüísticos Europe S.L.
 EBC International TEFL Certificate lesson on motivation (22 October 2013)