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Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation and External Motivation Read about Day 26 2.10.20



Two examples of motivation from my own children:

Extrinsic Motivation

Every day(or week- not sure how often) her teacher gives out a reward for being kind and the winner of this reward gets to choose a prize from the treasure box (dollar store gifts). It was March when we left school and she is still dying to get a reward for being kind but has yet to receive one. Her teacher did however, give her one in front of the whole school at an assembly and she received a book. But Leeor, really wants to be acknowledged in her classroom and to pick a reward herself. She asks herself, am I not kind? This is an example of extrinsic motivation. She wants to be kind because of a reward not because it is meaningful to her, even though she was supposedly rewarded in a much grander way.

External motivation is evident when someone behaves a particular way for reasons external to, or outside of, the person, such as rewards or presents. External motivation may come from parents, a teacher, friends, and siblings. It is most frequently thought of in terms of rewards (i.e., presents, stickers, approval), promotions, grades, praise and punishment.

Intrinsic Motivation

My 3 year old has been riding a balance bike for a couple of weeks now and she soars. Last week she asked to try her sister's old bike without training wheels and she could just about touch the floor but it's one of those bikes that if you peddle backwards you break. This was hard for her so we stopped minutes later. Today she asked to try again. Within three minutes she was riding a two wheeler. I must admit I am very surprised as she is very young but her motivation was internal. She chose it, she believed in herself and she did it!

Internal motivation is seen when a person undertakes an activity for its own sake without any sort of external reward, such as a hobby. Internal motivation can result from our feelings (e.g., happiness, anger, and sadness), thoughts (e.g., “I better finish getting dressed so I can go to school.”), values and goals.


The reason for doing something is what makes the two different:

Learning to play the piano because you enjoy making music with it versus learning to play the piano because you want to please your parents


Intrinsic motivation comes from positive emotions/factors that come from carrying out the behavior. It could come with a:

  1. Autonomy- when they have the option of choice with no strings attached.

  2. Sense of Competence or accomplishment- when someone completes a difficult task or masters a new skill they are much more likely to do it again.

  3. Relatedness or belonging- refers to the amount one feels connected, secure or respected.

  4. Sense of meaning- when you do something that helps another who is dealing with a struggle

Often a person who acts because of intrinsic motivation will better perform, and will be more passionate and committed to the action or behavior. They are more likely to persist and will be more creative to come up with new ideas and solutions when they encounter difficulties.

This is one of the many reasons why play must be intrinsically motivated and not for a reward or towards a goal.


Read about Day 26 4.10.20 here





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