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What some source(s) of motivation to achieve Academic and Career Goals ? Is the motivation intrinsic, extrinsic, or both?

How will your attitude to the learning process help or hinder the achievement of each goal?

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Explanation & Answer

An American motivational speaker and author once said that “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” However, the question to ponder upon is, how easy is it to keep motivating oneself to strive? Is it as easy as taking a bath? Before exploring the issue, what does motivation actually mean? According to Baron (1991, as cited in Hollyforde and Whiddett, 2003, p.2) motivation is defined as “the internal processes that activate, guide and maintain behaviour especially goal directed behaviour.” This definition is further supported by Robertson and Smith (1985, as cited in Hollyforde and Whiddett, 2003, p.2) who declares that motivation is a psychological concept related to the strength and direction of human behaviour.” For Gardner and MacIntyre (1993, as cited in Mitchell and Myles, 2004, p.26), motivated individual “is one who wants to achieve a particular goal, devotes considerable effort to achieve this goal, and experiences satisfaction in the activities associated with achieving this goal.” Therefore, motivation can be termed as the strength one has, to keep developing on the process of learning and understanding, towards accomplishing a certain target in life. The strength includes both internal and external factors, depending on the individual. This essay would further explore the key theoretical concepts involved in both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. According to Deci and Ryan (1985), Vallerand (1997) (as cited in Dornyei, 2001, p.11), “Intrinsic motivation concerns behaviour performed for its own sake in order to experience pleasure and satisfaction such as the joy of doing a particular activity or satisfying one’s curiosity whereas Extrinsic motivation involves performing behaviour as a means to an end, that is, to receive some extrinsic reward or to avoid punishment”. Thus, intrinsic motivation can be classified as the internal desire to complete a task which either excites people or arouses their interest, due to the value of the activity. They are often not reliant on an outside reward for their efforts. Writing short stories because one really enjoys writing them, reading a story book because readers are curious about the topic, and playing chess because one enjoys effortful thinking are some intrinsic motivation examples. Conversely, if someone only writes poems to be submitted to poetry contests or participates in the chess tournament to win a medal would be examples of extrinsic motivation. In the case of learners learning a second language (L2), intrinsically motivated learnerswould learn L2 for the pleasure and interest they have towards the language, without any external pressure. This point is further supported by Ortega (2009, p. 176) who stated that, “A second language (L2) learner would be intrinsically motivated if she said she studied the L2 for the ‘high’ she feels when hearing or speaking the foreign language (simulation), for the pleasure of ‘surpassing oneself’ and also grasping a difficult language concept (self-accomplishment), or for the sheer satisfaction to know more (knowledge).” Therefore, it can be concluded that factors such as interest and pleasure of gaining certain knowledge, in other words, hunger for knowledge can motivate a person intrinsically towards attaining their goal. Learning L2 is definitely a challenge for learners. However, intrinsic motivation helps learners to enjoy learning by engaging them in fun and meaningful activities because learners take pleasure in challenging work that makes them to think in greater depths. Since intrinsic motivation comes from within the students, it is more sustainable and it keeps encouraging students to strive harder in providing long-term results. Teachers may be very interested in fostering intrinsic motivation as it is said to have a greater impact on L2 learning. However, it is not easy to make all the learners intrinsically motivated because different students might have different learning strategies. This point is further substantiated by Kyriacou (2009, p.63) who wrote that “pupils differ not only in their overall level of motivation, but also in the underlying make up of that motivation.” On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is a source of motivation that is not found within a person, but comes from the outside. According to Deci and Ryan (2000), extrinsic motivation refers to doing something because it leads to a separable outcome.” For ad-hoc purposes, extrinsic motivation is said to be the best motivator. It has significant short-term abilities to encourage students to do well, especially before standardized tests. However, it is perceived to be only successful for students to meet short-term goals and might cause them to rely too much on the reward system in order to succeed. Examples of such motivators include money, certificates, medals, stickers, extended break and even punishments. 

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