WHAT IS MOTIVATION?
First, I would like to give you a short overview of what motivation actually is.
Just so we are on the same page because there are many approaches.
You might have had the same question that I had, Is motivation when I get a dessert for doing something my mum asks me to?
Or am I motivated when I find whatever I am doing exciting?
Or a third option?
To put it briefly: Motivation is what gives us the energy to take action.
According to a widely accepted approach, there are four fundamental types of motivation, and I would like to introduce them to you.
1 – Inner motivation
Your child gets this when their efforts create an inner joy.
For instance, it happens when your child receives information about something they are interested in.
For me, it happens if I read about a subject I find interesting. Or if I am listening to a podcast that makes me want to read up on a topic.
Then my reading is entirely voluntary.
2 – Outer motivation
Your child reaches this when their actions, for instance, give them praise from you or good grades from the teacher.
For dyslexic people, in particular, this type of motivation is often turned around and becomes negative because we try to avoid a consequence. We refrain from reading because we know that it won’t give us satisfaction and good praise, but often uncomfortable experiences.
As a child, I could reach outer motivation. The positive version was when my mum praised me whenever I read some words correctly.
But I often avoided reading and came up with all kinds of trouble in school so I wouldn’t have to read out loud. I’d rather be scolded than risk my peers and teachers finding out that I didn’t know the letters.
I wouldn’t encourage your child to use this strategy. But unfortunately, it is often a way to hide our weaknesses.
3 – Social motivation
Your child gets social motivation when they create happiness and satisfaction in others. It is not about pleasing others but instead ensuring that your child gets a feeling that they mean something to others.
For instance, it could be your child helping a younger sibling reading something out loud.
I cannot remember having found social motivation by reading.
(And that is not just because I, as the youngest, didn’t have anyone to help read something.)
But I found it in my free time when I played handball. I was good at it, and my actions on the court meant something for the entire team.
4 – Performance motivation
Your child obtains this when their performance strengthens their ego and is a better motivation than the others. I rarely achieved this type of motivation in school.
However, I did experience it when I got older; when we had projects I could contribute to through other things than letters and words.
I displayed my efforts to learn and understand new things to the teacher through, for example, models of things we worked with. I could present a lot of topics by using those. I didn’t need a poster filled with words to present for my peers and teachers.