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Two main types of motivation occur in students. Intrinsic motivation happens when internal rewards, such as a love of learning or passion for a subject, drive students. This genuine interest and ambition can make students curious and excited to learn. In comparison, extrinsic motivation stems from external factors such as gaining rewards – for example: grades, money, or praise – or avoiding punishment. With extrinsic motivation, students will accomplish tasks because of the reward associated with it.

Sure, everyone likes being rewarded for hard work, but intrinsic motivation is the most effective type of motivation for a student to help them develop a lifelong love of learning. Although both types of motivation can have benefits and contribute to a student’s success in the classroom, relying on external factors can eventually make students feel like they are entitled to a reward for their work instead of using internal reasons for working hard.

Here are some ways to spark intrinsic motivation in your child:

  1. Empower Your Child to Make Their Own Choices
    When you notice your child developing a unique interest, allow them to choose related books, games and activities. This gives them ownership over their interests and supports their development and growth for their passions. Talk to them about what school lessons and subjects are their favourites and encourage them to explore them in whichever way makes them feel excited about learning.
  2. Share Your Love of Learning
    You can enhance intrinsic motivation in your child by sharing your passions, hobbies, and why you love them. Enthusiasm is contagious, and your child will be motivated by seeing and hearing how your interests inspire you.
  3. Make Them Feel Capable
    There is power in hearing, “You can do it,” or “You are capable.” Building a child’s confidence and helping them to trust themselves to succeed can go a long way in encouraging students to challenge themselves and grow their love of learning. When they succeed on a test or assignment, let them know that it is not only an achievement in terms of grades but, more importantly, their personal effort and self-worth. 
  4. Encourage Your Child to Compete Against Themselves
    When athletes compete against their opponents, they constantly try to improve and achieve their personal best. The same is true with learners – intrinsically motivated students are always trying and hoping to better themselves. 
  5. Talk About It!
    Explain to your child the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Awareness of the differences and the short- and long-term benefits can help them be aware of their motivations and spark helpful discussions and thoughts.
  6. Set Goals
    Setting goals helps give students the internal motivation they need to achieve those goals and continually set new ones. The satisfaction they get from accomplishing a goal can provide a positive spark and encourage a child to aim higher and continuously challenge themselves.

Intrinsic motivation can help foster lifelong creativity and problem-solving skills. It is typically more effective than extrinsic motivation long-term for completing tasks, achieving goals, and ensuring exploration in ways that make you feel fulfilled. 


The Scholars Team


February 24, 2023