Τετάρτη, 14 Ιουνίου 2017

Motivation - Part 1

Motivation - Part 1 

Motivation plays a substantial role in both an individual’s and an organization’s performance. The importance of motivation also applies to the school community, where teachers’ and students’ achievement define the effectiveness of educational process. The desire to explore, understand and learn is in the human nature and constitutes the main motivator of the educational process. According to the Motivational Systems Theory, the concept of motivation is defined ‘as the organized patterning of an individual’s personal goals, emotions, and personal […] beliefs’. In particular, the concept of motivation is classified into two basic types: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. As far as intrinsic motivation is  concerned, it is associated with personal needs and development. However, extrinsic motivation functions as a means to achieve setting goals.

Part 1.Motivating Teaching Staff
The following section will briefly present the basic theory –Maslow’s Theory-that is adopted in order to motivate teachers, who are the main resource that the school possesses. It is the responsibility of the school manager to energize others into action, thus motivating teaching staff to be committed to the school’s achievements. Undoubtedly, problems such as poor and insufficient quality of work arise from low motivational patterns. It is the task of the manager to create the conditions, in which teachers’ motivating needs, can be fulfilled.
Definition of Motivation
Before looking at what a school leader can do to support the motivation of the teaching staff, it is essential to give a brief definition of motivation at work. ‘Motivation is what drives individuals to work in the way they do to fulfil goals, needs or expectations.’ When thinking about motivation, the needs that motivate the behavior of the staff in the organization should be taken into consideration. ‘Motivation [is seen] as an intervening variable between human needs and behavior.’
             Human Needs            Motivation    →    Behavior
Indeed people have different needs and are motivated by different things. This is the reason why school leaders should find appropriate strategies corresponding to various need.

An introduction to Maslow’s ‘Staircase Model of Motivation’
It is worth mentioning that various theories on motivation have been developed, however, our concentration will be drawn on the most important, Maslow’s theory. In order to understand how to motivate human beings, we should primarily familiarize ourselves with Marslow’s ‘Staircase Model of Motivation’ (1943). The force that drives people to join an organization and work towards the goals that have been set, is a hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow, ‘most people needs [are] satisfied in an ascending order through the staircase, […and hence], [people] are motivated to attempt to satisfy the higher needs only when the lower lever needs are no longer demanding attention.’

Psychological    →     Safety  →     Social    →    Esteem    →     Self-Actualization

Analysis of Maslow’s Theory
Psychological needs
As the diagram indicates, as soon as man’s needs are, to some extent, satisfied, another need appears in its place, as a motivator. To start with the lowest level, we observe the Psychological needs, which satisfy good working conditions. It is of great importance to say that ‘a manager’s first step in motivating his [staff] should be to create an organizational climate which emphasizes and rewards appropriate achievement.’ In such a positive environment,  teachers will give a better performance.
In addition, goals that are set by the leader do play a main role in advancing a motivating organizational climate. ‘If there is no goal in place, extant emotional energy will be expended aimlessly and unproductively, like a car idling in neutral.’ In fact, in motivational terms the goals setting is an effective way of increasing performance.
It has been argued that an educational environment promoting training is an important factor for teacher’s development  and improvement. It is reasonable for a teacher, to be motivated enough and perform successfully, if the educational organization provides him useful training sessions.

Safety needs

Once the basic psychological needs are satisfied, then the Safety needs emerge. Undoubtedly, job security is important to school teachers. ‘[…]the assurance of life tenure and a guaranteed pension may be strong motivating factors in their participation in employing [educational] organizations.’
Needless to say, financial security is probably the most effective way of motivating staff. However, it does not mean that offering money always increases motivation. It is true that in various cases performance is not linked to earnings, however, in others, the low income is a reason for the insufficient performance of the staff. This is why it is not wrong to say that people are primarily concerned about the amount of wages they earn. This is the point where Maslow’s theory comes to agree, by stressing the priority to fulfil the lower needs in order to extent personal interest to a higher level.

Social needs
When the above needs are satisfied, teachers have a strong need of belonging to the school environment and to be accepted by the school manager and the colleague, as important motivators in their organizational behavior. Furthermore, relationships, created within the school, constitute an important part of hierarchy. If this rank is unfulfilled, teachers may have low levels of interest and commitment to goals on which a big part of achievement depends.

Esteem needs
Beyond any doubt, progress through the hierarchy is more likely as more important needs are satisfied. Hence, moving up the hierarchy of needs, teachers are motivated by the needs for esteem, respect, achievement, status, recognition or approval from others. Esteem needs reflect the desire to be regarded by others. In that point, we should say that by involving teachers, school managers give their recognition and to a further extent, increase their responsibility. Moreover, participation in making decisions, as how some issues should be done, is a motivating factor. Through that way, teachers feel personally accountable for the results of their work, develop their status and are lead to reach high  levels of achievement.
In addition to the above, appraisal is one of the central staff management functions. It has the objective of developing teacher’s skills and motivation.  Appraisal is connected with respect, recognition and praise. Being admired and respected, gaining recognition for a successful job, encouragement and praise, are means through which teachers can be motivated.
Moreover, teachers cannot make progress towards their goals in absence of relevant feedback information. Feedback, which facilitates improvement, is a crucial element in motivating teachers. Teachers need to know how well their job is being performed. In addition, headteachers should reward good performance and give them guidelines instead of criticizing poor performance. When teachers receive feedback on work performance, they will possibly increase their expectancies concerning their development.
Although teaching, as an occupation, does not offer a big opportunity for advancement, it remains one of the most important aspects for motivating staff. ‘If one wishes to advance in teaching, he must leave teaching for a related education profession such as [administrators, headteachers, etc]’. Through the process of advancement, an individual is elevated to a higher status.


Having satisfied the above mentioned needs, self actualization is the highest level of needs in Maslow’s view. In that point, we deal with the desire for self-fulfillment, personal development and growth. This final stage constitutes the consequence of achievement goals and being successful at work.

Classification of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators

As the above theory indicates, a person is motivated by a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Variables such as involvement, responsibility, personal growth and recognition enforce the staff to act effectively within the school environment. However, organizational climate, training, feedback, performance, appraisal are considered to be some of the main extrinsic needs which can motivate teachers in school environment.

In concluding, it could be argued that whatever steps school managers take to motivate teachers, they should have in their mind that the latter work at their best, when they achieve satisfaction from their work. Motivational techniques such as payment, earning of privileges and personal growth increase the expectancy and productivity of the teaching staff.

Despina Grivaki
Director of Studies & School Owner

BA in English Culture and Language Studies
MA in Organisation Planning and Management In Education

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Owens, R.G., (1987), Organizational Behavior in Education, Prentice-Hall, Inc., USA.

Robertson, I. and M. Smith (1985), Motivation and job design: theory, research and practice, Bradford on Avon, Dotesios Printers.

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