Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Nurturing Inner Motivation in Montessori Elementary School Children

Nurturing Inner Motivation in Montessori Elementary School Children - Montessori School of Freemont

Unlike traditional public schools, the Montessori elementary school relies on intrinsic motivation to guide children. If this seems unusual to you, think of intrinsic motivation as the thrill of winning or success, and external motivation as working under the threat of consequences. The former comes with its own incentive to achieve even more while the latter has no incentive beyond escaping punishment or empty praise.

Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic

Intrinsic motivation comes from within the child, applying his own preferences and interests to encourage him to perform acceptably. Traditionally, students have been motivated externally, where a reward is given for preferred performance or punishments doled out for unwanted aspects. External motivation is less common in the Montessori elementary school, and student guides encourage children to be their own motivation.

“Warm Fuzzies”

The underlying concept of internal motivation is based on the idea that children naturally want to learn and please those around them. In a nutshell, intrinsic motivation is that warm fuzzy feeling a person gets when they have grasped a new skill, helped a fellow classmate, or performed better than they had expected to do. Instead of a system of reward and punishment, Montessori relies on each child’s personal desire to please others.

Encouragement Without Judgment

While praise can externally motivate a child, it also encourages them to perform for the sake of outside approval. Instead, encouraging a child to perform based on her own feelings of accomplishment shows her that she is the master of her own progress. She doesn’t need to receive external praise because she is already aware of her accomplishment. And since there is no threat of praise of punishment based on her performance, she doesn’t function under fear of failure. Where external motivation is like bribing your children to do as you wish, internal motivation gives them the tools to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments. External motivation always puts personal motivation in someone else’s hands, but internal motivation helps us feel good about what we have actually done.