Motivation is an internal process which activates, guides and maintains behaviour over time.

Maslow's Hierachy of Needs:

Growth needs:

Self-actualisation (top)

  • everyone's desire to become, everyones desires are different.
  • everyone is capable of becoming.

Deficiency needs: 


  • self-esteem, confidence, respect, achievements


  • friendship, family, sexual intimacy


  • security of body, employment, family, nature, resources


  • breathing, food, water, sleep, sex

Deficiency needs are critical to physical and psychological well being.

Deficiency needs to be met before progressing to growth needs.

1 of 5

Attribution Theory

Dominate theory which looks at the reasons as to why people explain events as they do and looks at achievement.

Motivation is influenced by attributions: (3)

stability - stable (expect success/failure majority of time) / unstable (expect failure sometimes)

locus of casuality - internal (ability) /external (luck)

locus of control - in control (effort) / out of control (examiners decision)

If one suceeds it is down to ability, if other suceeds it is down to luck.

2 of 5

Achievement Goal Theory

Goals are a key factor of individuals intrinsic motivation.

Individuals are motivated to show off what they are good at.

Conception of ability + Goal orientation + Motivational climate = Goal involvement = Motivated behaviour

Motivated behaviour depends on Goal Involvement = Task/Mastery - Ego/Outcome


  • concentrate on themselves
  • personal progression
  • use their potential
  • learn and develop from mistakes

Mastery climate, emphasis on mastery learning and individual improvement


  • success is being the best
  • compettitively focused
  • give up in face of failure
  • don't personally develop

Performance climate, environments stress interpersonal compettition, social comparison evokes ego involvement

3 of 5


Intrinsic motivation:

  • Do it purely for themselves
  • Independent learners / autonomous

Extrinsic motivation:

  • Purpose for others
  • Not done purely for themselves

Important to facilitate and inspire to encourage intrinsic motivation.

Motivational Continuum

Most self-determined if you are intrinsically motivated.

Least self-determined if you are externally motivated.

4 of 5

Self Determination

To be self-determined:


  • to be in charge of ones behaviour
  • need choice to be intrinsically motivated


  • need to feel effective at achieving desired outcomes


  • need to authentically connect with others and feel involved in the social context

Those who are self-determined:

  • have greater interest
  • have greater self-esteem
  • more creative

Those who are intrinsically motivated will be self determined and have a high sense of autonomy, competence and relatedness.

Encourage self-determination by:

  • allowing student choice
  • give a degree of freedom
  • help students accomplish self selected goals
  • use positive feedback
  • give a purpose when planning an activity
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Early Years Care and Education resources:

See all Early Years Care and Education resources »See all Educational Psychology resources »