Scientific journal
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972

Process of training and achievement motivation in foreign psychological pedagogic practice

Sidenko E.A.
The main purpose of this article is to show Russian reader some of modern foreign approaches to formation and training (or activation) of motivation of educational activity among students.

Main concepts of educational process and its motivation in foreign psychology

Various approaches to defining education as an interaction between two kinds of activity - training activity of students and professional activity of a tutor exist in foreign psychological - pedagogic science.

One of them claims that training is mastering knowledge and skills. According to this approach a tutor demonstrates correct answers to his students, they imitate them (or replay, repeat, and apprehend them), and them the tutor enriches and enforces these correct answers with different means, thus proving for the solidity of the mastered knowledge and skills.

Adepts of another approach claim that a student is a passive record device that is filled by a tutor with knowledge and information like an empty glass is filled with water form a full pitcher.

And, finally, the third approach says that a student is an active subject that is in process of a constant interaction with its environment. A tutor´s goal here is to create the most favorable terms for this interaction or, speaking figuratively, construct a stage for a performance, give plot, costumes, and decorations to the actors, and control each of their words, steps, and gestures.

Of course, in pedagogic institutes and within courses of tutors´ qualification improvement more and more is spoken of active training and motivation for education. However, the paradox is that knowledge is usually provide in a passive form, either according to the scheme of «forming knowledge and skills» or that of «information broadcast». That is why, even if tutors posses some knowledge on what a motivation is, they can not find a proper implementation of it in their practice. It happens also because motivation is not a skill of information of some sort. In other word, it can not be trained among students as it is, like skills of handwriting. Motivation can not be leaned like the multiplication table, it can only be stimulated, developed, increased, etc.

In this article we will study some principles of motivation training in foreign pedagogic practice. So, what are the special points of this kind of work? All approaches and programmes of motivation training in foreign pedagogic psychology issue from this concept of the nature of behavior motivation, in other words, from the idea of a man as a subject of behavior and training.

The main objective of this article is to familiarize Russian reader with some modern foreign approaches to formation or training (or activation) of motivation for students´ training activity.

Training of motivation for achievements

1. Theoretic and empiric preconditions for motivation for achievements

Let us take a short insight into history. In foreign pedagogic psychology first efforts to alter motives for education on purpose were taken in the beginning of 1960-ies.

In should be said that all the first half of the century psychoanalytic ideas of behavior motivation dominated in Western psychology. According to these ideas the main motives of a man are formed in early childhood in further on they are only displayed, staying unchanged. For example, a motivation for achievements plays a significant part in training (and is displayed in setting new goals, urge for success in activity, etc.). According to the views of psychoanalysts, it is a result of a childhood conflict, neurotic in its nature, when a child, in effort to achieve favour of his parent of a opposite sex (a son - his mother´s, and daughter - her father´s), tries to better his competitive parent. Naturally, such ideas on the origin of a man´s ambitions´ formation, his motivation for achievement practically closed any possibility to form these qualities on purpose in later school ages.

Significantly, under influence of these psychoanalytic ideas in later 1950-ies researches of motivation for achievement referred to studying peculiarities of a family upbringing that could explain some significant individual characteristics of children in their evidence of motive for achievements.

In accordance with theoretical concepts of founders of this approach, American psychologists John Atkinson and David McClelland this motive is formed from two opposite motivation trends - urge for success and avoiding failure. High level of motivation for achievement meant that an urge for success dominates within a child; low level of that, on the opposite, testified for the dominance of his effort to avoid failure. Within a whole line of experiments it was found that a high motivation is formed within children only in such families, where parents always increased level of their requirements towards their children and, at the same time, could provide them with an inobsessive help and support, and also were characterized by a gentleness and warmth in communication to their children. And, on the opposite side, in families, where parents either ignored their children, were indifferent to them, or carried out a very strict supervision, directive guardianship over them, an urge to avoid failure became dominant within children, and, therefore, low level of motivation for achievement was formed.

We see that the results of these researches, on the one hand, were obtained in works that were stimulated by psychoanalytic logics of referring to early childhood ages, terms of early family upbringing, but, on the other hand, they demonstrated an obvious independence of forming motivation for achievements within a child from logics of the development of a child´s sexuality. A key factor was a character of interactions between a child and a mature. It is natural, therefore, that the obtained results stimulated new researches, now aimed for alterations in relations between children and the mature within school conditions in order to form motivation for achievement among scholars.

Another origin of emergence of special school courses of training motivation for achievement were motivation training programmes for businessmen that were quite popular in a number of Western countries in 1960-ies. The initiator of these courses, D. McClelland thought that motivation for achievement of businessmen is a necessary variable that stimulates general economic development of any country. In other words, he thought that, in order to intensify growth of one or another sector of industry of a country it is insufficient to provide a combination of favourable objective economic conditions.

An extremely important role here plays the «human factor». Under the same terms, higher economic success is achieved by those enterprises (sectors of industry) that were led by people with high motivation for achievement. Many of these ideas were probed within courses of motivation training in a number of developing countries, and reassuring results were obtained.

2. Procedures of activation of motivation for achievement among students

Naturally, common schemes of training businessmen were soon applied in school reality in order to increase motivation among students and, therefore, increase their academic successfulness and progress. In one of the first training courses for scholars students with inexplicably low results in study took place, as they all were characterized by an extremely high level of general intellectual development (general IQ among the group was higher than 120 points). Special studies were taken with these students that later led to the growth of their academic progress. However, alterations in successfulness proved to be insignificantly stable, and in a year´s term they practically disappeared.

A great number of researches took place in 1970-ies. In their basis they had courses of development of motivation for achievement among scholars of different age groups. These researches were generalized in a number of scientific reviews and monographs. Various techniques and methods of formation of motivation for achievement were formed and described. In general view all these methods were narrowed to the following procedures: psychologists or specially-trained tutors told students how a man with high motivation for achievement thinks, talks, and acts. Various materials were developed in order to help a tutor to carry out training of motivation for success (educational movies, special games, pamphlets with thematic stories and psychological methods for diagnosis of motivation for aachievement).

D. McLelland, while analyzing terms for formation of motivation for success, combined major forming influences into four groups:

  1. formation of a syndrome for achievement, of prevalence of urge for success over the urge to avoid failure within a man;
  2. self-analysis;
  3. an output of an optimal tactics of goal-setting in certain kinds of behavior and life in general;
  4. inter-personal support.

Each of these groups is formed, first of all, from the multiplicity of more definite influences. Thus, for example, a formation of the syndrome for achievement implies:

a) studying methods to create projective stories (or stories that are combined from pictures of projective test TAT) with an expressed theme of achievement (student are familiarized with a standard scheme of categories that is used in diagnostics of the motive for achievement, and their goal is to use maximum number of such categories in their stories; within this training students start to outline the motive for achievement correctly within other motives, form a special language, based on the mastered categories, with which in speech and thinking they analyze their behavior as well as that of other people);

b) mastering means of behavior that are typical for men with highly-developed motivation for achievement (selection of goals that are moderate in their difficulty and avoiding either too easy or too difficult goals; preference for situations that imply personal responsibility for the success of a project, and avoiding random situations, as well as situations where a goal is set by other people; preference for situations with a feedback on project results and avoiding situations without such feedback, etc.);

c) studying specific examples from their everyday life, and also from life of people that possess highly-developed motivation for success, analyzing these examples with a system of categories that are used in diagnostics of motivation for achievement.

Generally, D. McClelland outlines twelve specific influences, and each of them is directed to formation of a certain aspect of motivation for achievement.

On the foundation of comparison between different training courses of motivation for achievement authors of the guide for teachers «Training motivation for achievement» A. Alshulera, D. Taybore, and J. McIntair outlined six consequent stages of actualization and apprehension of a mative:

  1. drawing students´ attention to the contents of a course;
  2. obtaining an experience of thinking, behavior, and emotional reaction that corresponds to the studied motive within various games and while taking special exercises by students;
  3. mastering special terms that describe different components of the formed motive by students;
  4. comparing this motive by each students with his ideal, his main spiritual values and personal acceptation of the motive
  5. practical use of knowledge, obtained within a course, in real life situations by students (with help of their tutors);
  6. independent behavior of students in accordance with mastered motive at the backgrounds of decreasing help and weakening control from the side of their teacher.

3. Psychological-pedagogic effects of training motivation for achievement

So, what are the results of training motivation for achievement among scholars?

If we summarize the obtained data we will see that one of the main resume in that, usually, courses of motivation training of such kind were not effective enough either for increase in academic results of students or for increase in their general successfulness in study. Separate cases of improvement in academic results were insignificant, short-term, and unstable.

When it comes to wider effects of training motivation for achievement that integrate beyond-educational activity of students, here more interesting, definite, and reassuring results were obtained. It was shown, that training of motivation for achievement significantly alters (especially among teenage students) scholars´ attitude to usage of their free time, forming and perspective planning of their professional intentions and global life goals. In this area results of different training courses are way more definite. For example, as an interview among scholars after 8-18 months after motivation training showed, the great majority of them started to treat their usage of free time more constructively. Specifically, for one of the questions of an interview «What do You consider to be the most important of everything You do or think of today?» 100 % (!) of high school students that took courses of motivation training mentioned a link between their good results in study ad their future career. In is character that only among 27 % of the control group students (those who didn´t take motivation training courses) seriously think of a relation between their academic results and their future professional career. Education becomes secondary, while various entertainments and hobbies become more important for them.

A significant influence of training upon school activity was also revealed in another research. In it 11-year old students served as being tested. In a year after the end of the training course they were interviewed via telephone. Experimenters were interested, first of all, what the teenagers were doing directly before this telephone interview.

All answers of the tested were classified into eleven kinds of activities, and each of them was ranged in accordance with presence or expression of motive for achievement in it. As a result, a general index of motivation for achievement within out-scholar activities was calculated for each of the tested. It turned out, that 77 % of students who took the training course (compared to 11 % of the control selection students) had a high overall index of expression of motivation for achievement within out-scholar activities. Similar results were obtained in studying 16-year old students.

In is interesting, though, that these results were obtained in studying boys. Among girls no significant differences in a character of their outer-scholar activities were revealed between girls who took a motivation training course and those who didn´t take one. It testifies for that, first of all, motivation training has a greater influence upon boys and, secondly, lesser effectiveness of such training upon girls is a result of their lesser anxiety of their future professional career, their orientation for finding a solution for most of their life problems within marriage and in creation of a family.

4. Factors of successfulness of training motivation for achievement

As in any other kind of motivation training, successfulness in forming motivation for achievement is dependent on a whole number of factors and conditions. One of such factor is an age of the tested. As the results of some studies show, the best results of such training is usually observed in secondary school among students of 11-14 years (though today there are some efforts to create wholly playing courses of such kind for pre-school children).

Another factor of training successfulness is, as it already has been outlined, sex of students. Boys, as a rule, discover greater alterations in motivation for achievement (especially in the area of outer-educational activity).

One more factor of training successfulness is an area of its practical implementation. It has been shown that a training proved to be way more efficient in relations with those academic subjects that imply specific study activities, where a link between an action and a result is simple and obvious, and where a direct feedback between an action and a result exists (in other words, a link between an action and its success or failure). That is why training motivation for achievement proves to be more effective in increasing academic progress and successfulness in mastering such subjects as mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc. In human science, where no such obvious successfulness grade exists, an efficiency of such training is usually way lower.

An important factor of motivation training successfulness is the involvement of school teacher into it. Some research results testify that training that takes place in school with psychologists who meet students occasionally is less effective than one, carried out by school teachers who, in their turn, took a course of such training under the mentorship of psychologists. Such («involved») combination of motivation training and general school training is the most effective.

5. Training motivation for achievement among teachers.

A necessity to involve teachers into training procedures made psychologists search ways to provide teachers with practical help in organizing training of motivation for achievement that is included into an everyday practice of school education. Such applied aspects of training became the development and introducing of various guidebooks into the practice of school teachers. They explained and showed on examples different techniques and procedures of training activities with students. Some of these techniques can be used within regular classes, some of them require separate specific classes.

Different forms of training with teachers and psychologists showed that, along with mastering courses of motivation training teachers, as a rule, altered their class work in accordance with their altered views. However, an urge to various innovations and alterations in traditional education process on the side of teachers-experimenters didn´t define the successfulness of their work alone. A much greater factor of such successfulness was an attitude of students towards such innovations.

For example, a teacher could alter a class work in a way, when students obtained more independence in education and started to feel more responsible for their results. However, if they took such reconstruction as one that leads to a greater indefiniteness of academic goals, then the teacher could not, of course, count on achieving positive results. Such cases showed that a feedback from students is absolutely necessary in a work of an experimenting teacher, and it can only be established through different kinds of tests and question lists that allow them to reveal the general psychological climate within experimental classes and more specific attitude of students towards different aspects and sides of their teacher´s activity [11].

There may be a question: what exactly alters in work of a teacher who took a training of motivation for achievement? The answer was given by an accurate analysis of video footage, taken at classes where students were either totally involved into training, or constantly distracted from it for some other business. Analysis of these recordings allowed us to outline a number of peculiarities in a teacher´s behavior that significantly correlated with the involvement of students into their work. With certain conditionality all these characteristics of a teacher´s behavior can be divided into three groups:

  1. drawing attention, or showing enthusiasm, interest to the taught contents, liveness of explaining, high emotional tone, etc.;
  2. establishing a maximum readiness for a response from all students, usage of different means of training and educational tasks, demand to listen and evaluate answers of each other;
  3. creation of a feeling that the teacher sees and knows everything within a class, in other words, constant involvement of a teacher into the events in his class, creation feeling that the teacher is constantly with his students, he sees and correctly understands everything that happens to class and to each student.

All these three dimensions of a teacher´s behavior in the class are indirect results of motivation training, and they created a special psychological climate in a class (which is created in a class by good teachers without any motivational training), that provided for deeper involvement of students into the process of education and, therefore, a significant increase in studies.

Moreover, usage of various means of motivational training (pamphlets, games, visual aids, etc.) within classes and outer-class activities gives every teacher an ability to significantly increase all these three dimensions of his own behavior, as usage of new and various educational aids draws the attention of students. These aid are formed so that they provide for the work of the whole group (be that a game or completion of a question list), and, finally, all they give each student a clear and definite feedback on his results. Thus, using techniques and procedures of training motivation for achievement in his work, a teacher practically alters his behavior in class so that it becomes closer to ideal as it provides for a maximum involvement of students into the class work.

We would like to answer the question: what alters during motivational training of students and teachers - their motives or skills of organization of behavior? Regretfully, there is no clear and definite answer to this question yet. The main difficulty here has an absolutely methodical character. The point is that the main diagnostic methodic to evaluate motivation for achievement - so called «thematic apperceptive test» (TAT) - is actively used in training courses as educational material to study key categories of motivation for achievement, to create stories on achievement. As the result, all that devaluates TAT as a diagnostic methodic and doesn´t allow a researcher to use it repeatedly in order to define ongoing (or not) alterations in motivation.

That condition made D. McClelland formulate the following conclusion in one of his works (which is called «What is the effect of training motivation for achievement in schools?»): «We consider to be simpler and theoretically more substantiate the conclusion that courses of training motivation for achievement improve academic results because they train abilities to improve skills of behavior organization in class and life, not because it directly alters the need for achievements».

Let us now refer to domestic practice. Quite a number of works studied problems of motivation in our domestic science. Motivation was studied by: A.B. Boukuradze, V.G. Aseyev, O.S. Vikchanskiy, E.P. Ilyin, S.B. Kaverin, A.V. Karpov, R.L. Krichevskiy, Y.V. Novoselov, O.A. Novikova, A.I. Naumov, E.A. Sidenko, E.A. Utkin, and others.

The basis for studying motivational area of a person in domestic psychology are the developments of psychological phenomenons that are character for various directions of a person in terms of activity, relations, interactions, and emotional experience (A.B. Boukuradze, Y.V. Novoselov, O.A. Novikova, and others).

Let us make a summary of domestic terms that refer to motivational processes.

All factors that take part in motivation process and dependent a worker´s behavior within process of labour, is called in our domestic science motivational factors or motivators that represent motivational structure of a person.

For domestic researches that are devoted to problems of stimulus, a division into two large groups - material and spiritual is character. In its turn, material stimulus can be divided, according to L.S. Blyakchman into material-monetary and material-non-monetary. The first group will include salary, surcharges, markups, etc. The second - valuables and other kinds of material benefits. Material-non-monetary stimulus will also include different labour conditions: technical, sanitary, organizational.

Stimulus can also be classified according to their direction of emotional impact upon an employee (positive and negative), to an object of impact (individual and collective).

In conclusion we would like to outline that for a successful achievement of new goals of our education system that are announced in standards of the second generation, not only various material resources are needed, but one of the main condition of achievement of the planned results in education is qualified personnel: managers, their deputies, teachers. And especially important becomes an urge of pedagogues to work effectively, and it is directly dependent on their labour motivation.


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