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Week7_covington_00 - 22 VOLUME 9 NUMBER 1 FEBRUARY 2000...

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Abstract This article explores the na- ture of the relationship be- tween intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in schools, and in particular examines critically the assertion that these pro- cesses are necessarily antago- nistic. The weight of evidence suggests that rewards in the form of school grades and the focus of many students on do- ing well, gradewise, need not necessarily interfere with learning for its own sake. Edu- cational implications of these findings are considered. One such implication is that focus- ing on students’ interests can be a valuable motivational strategy. Keywords motivation; achievement; ap- preciation When psychologists speak of motivation, they typically refer to the reasons that individuals are aroused to action. Over the past 50 years, two quite different kinds of reasons have emerged in the think- ing of psychologists: intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. Individuals are said to be driven to act for extrinsic reasons when they anticipate some kind of tangible payoff, such as good grades, recognition, or gold Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Motivation in Schools: A Reconciliation Martin V. Covington 1 Department of Psychology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 22 VOLUME 9, NUMBER 1, FEBRUARY 2000 Published by Blackwell Publishers Inc.
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stars. These rewards are said to be extrinsic because they are unre- lated to the action. In effect, the ac- tivity becomes a means to an end. By contrast, individuals are said to be intrinsically motivated when they engage in activities for their own sake. In this instance, the re- wards reside in the actions them- selves; that is, the actions are their own reinforcement. Put differently, in the case of intrinsic motivation, the repetition of an action does not depend as much on some external inducement as on the satisfaction derived from overcoming a per- sonal challenge, learning some- thing new, or discovering things of personal interest. For generations, observers have extolled the virtues of learning for its own sake, not only because of the benefits of personal growth or enhanced well-being, but also be- cause intrinsically based learning is the handmaiden to better, more ef- ficient learning. For example, in- trinsically engaged students are more likely than extrinsically driven students to employ deep- level, sophisticated study strategies in their work (Ames & Archer, 1988). Perhaps most noteworthy for establishing causal, not merely correlational, relationships are studies (e.g., Schunk, 1996) in which students were randomly as- signed to varying achievement conditions. Those students who were directed to work for the goals of mastery, exploration, and appre- ciation demonstrated greater task involvement and used more effec- tive learning strategies than chil- dren who were directed to focus on their performance alone.
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