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Achievement Motivation Theory

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In ideal classroom, students pay attention, ask questions and want to learn. They do their assignments without complaint and study without being coaxed and cajoled. But, teachers often have students who don't seem motivated to work on the classroom tasks set out for them. The ultimate goal of schools is to transform its students by providing knowledge and skills and by building character and instilling virtue. Students with various intellectual abilities, from multicultural and diverse socio-economic backgrounds are the objects of this educational process. Are all students motivated to pursue and achieve academic goals on their own? How can schools enhance students' motivation to learn?

Motivation has been defined as the level of effort an individual is willing to expend toward the achievement of a certain goal. Theorists have developed several approaches to motivation that fall in four categories. Adopting these approaches can assist teachers in their endeavor to provide the right conditions for student learning: (1) the behavioral view, (2) the cognitive view, (3) the humanistic view, and (4) the achievement motivation theory. The Behavioral View interpretation of motivation rests on Skinner's behavioral learning theories and focuses on the reinforcement of desired behavior through the use of extrinsic reward. The cognitive view of motivation emphasizes the arousal of cognitive disequilibrium as a means to motivate students to learn something new. The Humanistic View according Maslow, people are motivated by their individual needs to address certain natural concerns. The Achievement Motivation Theory rests on the belief that most persons want to achieve and experience levels of aspiration. The level of aspiration concept, stresses that people tend to want to succeed at the highest possible level while at the same time avoiding the possibility of failure. The need for achievement is increased when persons experience success. If students experience success their need for achievement will thus be strengthened

A contributor to Achievement Motivation Theory was Atkinson. He proposed that differences in achievement behavior are due to differences in something called the need for achievement. Atkinson described the need for achievement as a stable personality characteristic that drives some individuals to strive for success. Students who have a high need for achievement are motivated to become involved in an activity if they belief that they will be successful. They are moderate risk taker and tend to be attracted to tasks where the chances of success are fifty-fifty; since there is a good chance they will be successful. They like to attempt a task, but not if they know there is substantial risk of failure. By contrast, individuals with a low need for achievement avoid such tasks because their fear of failure greatly outweighs their expectation of success, and they therefore anticipate feelings



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