Motivation is “the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.” Motivation is what fuels us to strive toward something and to improve.
There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation occurs when the student enjoys a task and wants to succeed for the sake of doing well and/or becoming better at that skill.
For example, they may write a story because they enjoy writing. The grade is not what is causing student motivation; it’s that the student is enjoying the work and has an internal drive in them to make the work good.
Extrinsic motivation is any external incentive, such as praise, treats, or other rewards, that motivates the student. For example, a student may study for a math test not because they enjoy math but in the hopes of receiving a good grade. The factor creating student motivation is the grade.
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can occur simultaneously, but developing intrinsic student motivation is important in the long term because it teaches students to be self-motivated, self-disciplined, and independent learners rather than becoming dependent on rewards.