Edev_502 response wk5_3

Thanks for your interesting post. I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with your points. I have a question about one thing you wrote:

“Moreover, universities should vary the external motivational features and at the same time should not motivate over-dependence on those extrinsic factors.”

I wonder about the precise details you have in mind. Over what kinds of factors that influence external motivation do universities have control? If external motivation (or external regulation as Deci, Ryan and Williams put it) is defined as “behaviours that are controlled by contingencies overtly external to the individual” (Deci, Ryan, & Williams, 1996, p. 168), such behavioural control can be influenced by assessment tools that promote academic grade rewards and install apprehension and fear of stricter regulations and punishments. What other methods are possible in your situation? In my university, I’m able to impose more homework or extra class time (both of which are seen as punishments because each course should be designed to be performable during class time). Simple punishments include arranging the students’ seating (after a problem), or not doing a lighter activity when the teacher feels students have not deserved it.

I tend to avoid these kinds of enforcement. When students are disruptive I usually look for positive ways of realigning the balance. Japan is notoriously sleep-deprived, and sometimes the best way to externally regulate motivation is to let students sleep as a class group for 10~15 minutes on the condition that they give their all when it’s time to restart. This techniqueused sparselyworks far better than any carrot-and-whip method.


Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M., & Williams, G. C. (1996). Need satisfaction and the self-regulation of learning. Learning and Individual Differences, 8(3), 165–183. http://doi.org/10.1016/S1041-6080(96)90013-8

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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