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[Xmca-l] Re: Intrinsic motivation?

i enjoyed reading your posting, Andrew, and would like to add to it (realizing that this may not be a path you wish to venture on)  -  in my own experience as an elementary school teacher, as well as a university teacher, i have lost any faith in the notion of "motivation", intrinsic or extrinsic.  regardless of the age of the student, when i notice a student not participating, i consider the lack of participation as a lack of engagement.  that way, i don't have to see myself as having to "motivate" a student, but rather to provide multiple alternative activities which may interest a student's engagement.

Bateson, as far as i know, never addresses the notion of motivation.  

Marie Clay, who worked with students who failed to engage in reading, worked out a wealth of activities in which the student could both engage and internalize self-monitoring behaviors that strengthened the multiple activities of fluent readers.

Holland, et al, in Identity and Agency in Cultural Worlds gives little credence to motivation, seeing motivation as "formed" through social interactions.

Michael Cole in Cultural Psychology: A once and future discipline, doesn't even directly address motivation.

for me as a teacher, the conceptual framework of motivation is too enveloped in Skinnerian behaviorism, and is an epistemological failure as a explanatory principle of human behavior.

my two bits.


Phillip White, PhD
Urban Community Teacher Education Program
Site Coordinator
Montview Elementary, Aurora, CO
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andrew Coppens [acoppens@ucsc.edu]
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2014 3:46 PM
To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Intrinsic motivation?

Hi everyone -
Thanks in advance for bearing with a long post from a usual listener here.

I'm also working on an alternative to the deeply entrenched
intrinsic/extrinsic dichotomy. I'm trying to explain a pervasive cultural
pattern among Indigenous American children: the motivation to contribute
autonomously (i.e., under their own initiative) and with responsibility to
productive family and community endeavors, as integrated participants and
meaningful collaborators in cultural activities. What are the motivational
affordances of children having opportunities to "take part" in mature
endeavors? What is the draw of "bigger than me" activities?

First, I've found it instructive to consider parallels in historical timing
between the emergence of a motivational science and the segregation of
children from productive work in the middle-class West, both around the
turn of the 20th century. Kurt Danziger has written on this in *Naming the
Mind. *I believe this cultural pattern (the segregation of children and
workers from productive activities and their motives) has become somewhat
of an unquestioned epistemological principle in canonical motivational
theory, and certainly in the intrinsic/extrinsic dichotomy.

>From a CHAT perspective, would the idea of an "extrinsic reward" even hold
water? Mainstream motivational research gives enough evidence to defend the
idea that when "extrinsic rewards" undermine intrinsic motivation, what
might be happening is a transformation of the student's/child's activity
and the material reward is the pivot. That new activity (e.g., getting a
grade) is not nearly as compelling as mastering material to do something
productive and interesting. But "getting a grade" is inherent/intrinsic,
not extrinsic, to the activity of IPBSchooling. This motivational
transformation can happen in the reverse direction too (see WM Roth and RM
Larson), through a move from periphery to center a la Lave & Wenger.

So, not "extrinsic" but also not "intrinsic" in the conventional sense.
When self-in-activity is the unit of analysis for questions about
motivation, the intrinsic-as-internal metaphor seems very inadequate.
"Intrinsic" comes to encompass the entire activity, and the self in
relation to it. This dialogic relation between self and object-motive is, I
think, what's intended by mutual constitution of the subject/object-motive
in Leont'ev and others' formulations. This is where I've started to make
headway in thinking about motivation when a child contributes
collaboratively and with initiative toward a shared motive.

There is definitely work on this topic. Ruth Paradise (2005) has a very
nice paper in Spanish also using the term "inherent" motivation, and
Barbara Rogoff has alluded to this idea in several places in the mid-1990s.
Dan Hickey and others have written wonderfully about sociocultural
perspectives on achievement motivation theory, in ways that would coincide
with thoughts on this thread so far. Dorothy Lee (1961) calls this
"autonomous motivation". There are many others, including key insights from
Carol Dweck and Mark Lepper.

Thanks for listening and hopefully correcting,

Andrew D. Coppens