Theories of motivation; freud, maslow, powney and weiner

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Student participation-Theories of motivation
"Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains
goal-oriented behaviours. Motivation is what causes us to act, whether it is getting
a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. It involves
the biological, emotional, social and cognitive forces that activate behaviour."
There are three main perspectives which the exam requires you to understand
when considering what causes an individual to be motivated or demotivated...
Psychodynamic drive theory (Freud)
Humanist theories (Maslow with links to Powney)
Cognitive attribution theory (Weiner)

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Freud's psychodynamic drive theory
Firstly, consider Freud's central ideas...
The dynamic unconscious is said to be the source of our deepest emotions and the driving
force behind our behaviour. He believes our dynamic unconscious is divided into three parts;
the ID, the EGO and the SUPEREGO.
The ID- The most primitive part of our mind which is responsible for instinctive and biological
drives. The ID seeks to engage in pleasure-seeking activities and has no regard for consequences or
the long-term effect of our actions.…read more

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Evaluative points to consider...
Determinism vs. Free-will- although we often think our behaviour is a matter of choice;
Freud would say that it is our dynamic unconscious motivating our actions.
Validity- lack of empirical evidence
Usefulness-a therapeutic tool to bring these feelings into a student's conscious awareness?
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Next we must consider Humanist theory in relation to educational motivation. Firstly make
sure you understand the basic principles of humanism...…read more

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The principle here is that the lowest step must be achieved before moving onto the next and
so forth. Maslow believes that we are all self-motivated and want to self-actualise; however we
must have our needs met in order to do this. In relation to education, a humanist theory
would state that if a child is demotivated it is because their needs are not being met and if you
satisfy their physiological/basic needs, their need for safety, belonging and esteem needs they
will be self-motivated.…read more

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Cognitive attribution theory
Attribution theory is based upon the assumption that the way we interpret what happens to
us will affect the amount of effort we put into related tasks in the future, i.e. our level of
An important assumption of attribution theory is that we will interpret events (make
attributions) in such a way as to maintain a positive image. The way we interpret the success
or failure of our actions is bias to suit ourselves- this is called a "self-serving attributional
bias".…read more

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Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer!…read more


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