Student’s Good Work> Anthology of English essays -What motivates children to succeed?


What motivates children to succeed?
by Li Chui Ling (6B)

        It is an unchangeable fact that students in Hong Kong have to study extremely hard because of the keen competition among students and the high frequency of examinations. In order to strengthen their competitiveness and win from the starting line, parents push them to succeed in different ways. Indeed, have we ever thought of what makes us succeed? Motivation is the drive for goal-oriented behaviors, and it could be internal or external.

Intrinsic motivation is when people are engaged in an activity, such as a hobby, with an internal desire, without obvious external incentives.  An internally motivated child is ideal; however, we understand that children may not do their assignments voluntarily without the reward of stickers or prizes. Thus, extrinsic motivation is important sometimes. Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation apart from the individual, such as a reward or a good grade, which acts as an indicator to show off our ability and prove our capabilities. In brief, it can bring us instant satisfaction.

External incentives are likely to have only a short term effect on us. We may feel satisfied by receiving a compliment or a certificate from others, which is proof of our achievement and recognition of our talent.  However, over-reliance on external incentives makes us become materialistic and those incentives can no longer fulfill our desires when we cannot reach self-satisfaction.  If we are only indulged in having material incentives as motivation, we will develop poor habits and ignore the importance of self-satisfaction that derives from hard work. They will, in turn, become ineffective in pushing us for further improvement.

        To take an example, the use of external incentives is a frequent strategy used by teachers to facilitate the cooperation of students during lessons. Excessive use of such rewards reduces intrinsic motivation and learning desires as students become blinded by a materialistic reward. Teachers may find it more beneficial to alternate strategies and give compliments that do not include contingent rewards. If we gain pleasure from our own work, we will become self-motivated and the effect is long-term.  Getting praise and appreciation from parents, we obtain positive encouragement hence striving for a better performance. Therefore, whether children can be driven to succeed depends on how they develop their internal desire.

        To conclude, the motivation in achieving goals is the key elements for individual's desire for success. For parents, they should give their children freedom and unconditional support to their children. As children, we should seek for inspirations every day as it will help us sustain enthusiasm throughout the long run.