This third blog post reflects my learning on the subject Motivation and Emotion in SRL. The lectures were offered by Hanna Järvenoja on 14th November, 2017. As someone who has and is working on emotions and motivation regulation, it was no surprise to see Hanna’s passion during the lectures. the outline or guideline for writing this post is presented in Fig. 1.
Fig. 1: Outline for writing the blog post.
This task encompasses my reflections on emotions and motivation. This subject, emotions and motivation constitute an aspect of learning that need to be ‘regulated’, as highlighted in the previous post Introduction to SRL. It is, therefore, imperative to have an in-depth knowledge about the what, how, when and why to regulate our emotions and motivation for successful learning outcomes. The topics which were covered in both the lecture and the articles include the definition of motivation and emotion, the constructs of motivation, supporting motivation and emotion. In addition, concepts such as how is emotion regulation linked to the SRL process, emotion regulation strategies, how students regulate their emotions in class (See Boekaerts, 2011) are discussed. My goals for this task are;
- To understand motivational constructs (what are the determiners/factors that influences one’s motivation?)
- Emotion regulation strategies (what strategies do I need to regulate my emotions?
My goals look very hectic and broad. However, with persistence, perseverance and determination, I am confident to reach that goal. As such, I will pay much attention to the sub-headings that captures my goals in the reading articles. To arrive at this goal, I have attended the lecture session on that and notes have been taken. In addition, I have had the chance to read the recommended articles for a couple of times; first skimming, scanning and then deep reading. Unfortunately, I could not read the optional studies attached. I hope to read it after my post.
The broader aspects of this topic motivation and emotion in SRL requires that I select an interesting component that suits my goal. Before, I select the two ideas, I want to briefly describe the two terminologies emotion and motivation. Motivation is the ‘will’ of performing a task. It takes into account one’s determination and perseverance to complete a task, regardless of the obstacles that will arise. Connecting motivation to SRL, it is obvious that without the motivation of achieving learning goals, it will be of no use for students to ‘regulate’ their learning. Thus, motivation answers the why question in SRL, example why am I doing this blog post? During the lecture, Hanna came an argument that motivation is the driving and direction force of SRL. In effect, not only does motivation take you to your learning destination but also where to pass to reach that learning destination. Emotions involve one’s affect, feelings that arises during the learning process. The emotions could be either positive or negative and both have repercussions on the learning outcomes.
Since this task involves two terminologies; motivation and emotions, I will consider taking one idea from each terminology. Consequently, motivational constructs and emotion regulation strategies are the ideas I wish to elaborate and delve into. These two are very important to me in order for me to be able to work in group (emotion regulation strategies) and have focus on my career plans (motivational constructs). The winter is here and the dark days are approaching; depression, motivation drop, laziness will abound so its important I know what are the influencers of my motivation, write them down and post it in my room in order to remind me, anytime I feel a drop in motivation. Recently, during my collaboration learning tasks, I am quick to interrupt when other colleagues are making their points. To this, it is important for me to know the strategy that I can use to monitor and ‘control’ my emotions during collaborative working environments, and in life in general.
In this context, the term motivational construct refers to the factors or determiners that urges an individual in performing task. It includes internal (passion, interest, self-belief, etc.) as well as external (grades, reward, certification, etc.) factors. Examples of such ‘drivers’ of motivation are presented in Fig. 2.
Fig. 2: Motivational constructs.
Goals are a broader objectives set for a given course. They outline what one intends to achieve at the end of performing tasks. These goals shape one’s attitude towards the attainment of intended learning outcomes. They are often seen as the destination at which one wants to reach; they are the targets to be reached. An important goal set by an individual will urge the person in striving to reach set a target. This can be manifested in the classroom in so many ways. For example, if a student set the goal of achieving technological skills, they will go all out in making sure that by the end of the course/programme, such a goal is met. As I set out in getting an in-depth knowledge about emotions and motivation regulation in SRL, I have devoted so much time in reading related articles in order to arrive at my goal. When students set achievable goals, they able to work assiduously towards its attainment. It is so rewarding to achieve set objectives that one will usually not be ‘carried away’ by challenges. Hence, acting as a fuel and consequently a motivational factor for completing tasks.
Closely linked to goals are the interests. Similar to goals, interests also enhances one’s motivation for doing a task. Interest can be seen as the feeling of wanting to perform a task or reach a target. We display various interests in different aspect of our lives e.g I want to be in a relationship, I want to get a degree, I want to drive a car, etc. While some of the interests are individual-oriented, others are situational-oriented. As an example, a student may have the interest of designing a 3D object (individual) but may not necessarily be interested in mathematics. However, since mathematical concepts such as shapes, measurement, etc are involved in the 3D design, such a student will need to adapt his interest in order to be able to achieve his goals (situational). This adaptive (situational) and individual feeling will spur the student on in reaching their goal. Hence, interests shapes and powers one’s motivation towards reaching set targets.
Further, causal attributions have been identified to influence one’s motivation. By causal attribution, I mean causes that contributed to the failure or success of a project/course etc. When identified objectively, causal attributions will aid one’s motivation in subsequent tasks or performance. For instance, when am able to identify that I got low grades in a course, I will objectively reflect on what went wrong. Once am able to identify the cause, I will then make attempts not to repeat what went wrong. In so doing, I will be conscious, monitoring and be motivated to select alternative strategies that will help me in getting good grades. It is important to point out that students are usually not objective enough in identifying the causes of their performance, especially when the performance is bad. They are always blaming colleagues, teachers, etc for their ‘misfortune’, instead of critically looking at the cause from their inner perspective. Consequently, the cause of a failure blamed on teacher, for instance, will decrease the emotion of the student. On the other hand, if the cause is objectively scrutinized and the various remediation steps taken, students performance will increase and eventually increase their motivation in subsequent courses. Again, if a failure is objectively scrutinized and causes identified, it will motivate students in not repeating what resulted in the failure. In essence, whether the causal attribution is objectively or subjectively identified, it will have effect on students motivation; either positively or negatively.
Another equally important influencer for one’s motivation is their values. Values are the norms, beliefs, perceptions, standards that one has set for himself. It influences motivation in a way that it helps the individual in selecting items which are consistent with their values. In the school environment, students who are conscious about the environment and the effect of human settlement on wildlife, will join clubs, for example, that shares the same beliefs. With the same beliefs and viewpoint, the student will be able to choose courses which offer understanding in wildlife, environment, etc. Since their values are in cognisance with such courses, their motivation will be aroused and sustained throughout the course. If such motivation is monitored regularly and action taken, then we are talking about SRL.
Moreover, self-efficacy has been found to affect an individual’s motivation. Self-efficacy refers to the belief in one’s self (Bandura, 1982). In other words, how people believe in their inherent capabilities to perform a task. People with high self-efficacy beliefs are more motivated in performing tasks. Conversely, if the self-efficacy beliefs of students are low, they tend to lose motivation and eventually leading to under performance. Constantly monitoring one’s self efficacy leads to a motivation regulation and consequently, self-regulated learning.
Emotion Regulation Strategies
Emotions are affectively charged cognitions,, moods, feelings, affect, and well being (Boekaerts, 2011). Human emotion have varying consequences on learning outcomes. For example, a student who is angry about the mathematics teacher may not find any interest in studying mathematics. During the collaborative learning tasks, arguments arise and this in turn triggers strong emotional feelings. When such strong emotions are not controlled, the conducive learning environment will be compromised. In the subsequent paragraphs, I will explain how one will be able to regulate their emotions. The strategies to be discussed could either be preventive (strategies to be taken to avoid the occurrence of the emotions) or remedial (strategies to be taken when the emotions occur).
One way to regulate your emotions is to suppress it when one is emotional. This is a remedial strategy since it happens after the emotion has occurred. Suppressing one’s emotion is a conscious effort that the individual should adopt anytime they identify that their emotions are getting ‘out-of -hand’. During a live telecast of a national award, those who were not able to win the awards try to restrain from being dissappointed, frustrated, etc. Once, they are able to suppress their emotions, they muster courage to congratulate the winner. Similarly, in the school setting, it is important for a student to suppress their excitement when his friends could not get good grades while he obtained outstanding grades. Further, for the students that received the low grades, better for them to hold their frustrations against the teacher and friends as well. Before the start of an examination, students can breathe in and out in order to suppress their anxiety.
Equally important to suppressing one’s anger is to express one’s anger. On a casual look, venting or expressing one’s emotions might not be a good one and may have the tendency of affecting the group’s emotional atmosphere. However, most people by nature ‘explode’ when their emotions are accumulated. In such an instance, its a good practice to express one’s emotions freely so that issues that resulted in the strong emotions are not repeated. Expressing one’s emotions are remedial strategies; they are taken after the emotions have been registered and once its vented out, remedial actions are taken.
Moreover, Acquiring and providing social support have been found to be a useful strategy for regulating one’s emotions (see Sarason, Sarason & Shearin, 1986; Karabenick & Newman, 2009). Teachers and parents are key agents that provide social support to students when the latter expresses their emotions. Providing and acquiring social support could either be preventive or remedial. For example, during a visit to the war museum, teacher can give advanced cues to students to alert them of the possible emotions that may arise during the tour.
‘This educational movie contains disgusting footage of child abuse, etc’. Teachers can provide this statement at the beginning of watching the movie so that the students are already aware of what to expect in the movie (preventive strategies). On the other hand, parents, teachers and colleagues will prompt the individual if they see that he is becoming too emotional. ‘Ike, you seem upset about what Tom said’. Such a statement from a colleague, teacher or parent will make Ike become aware of his emotions and hence regulating them. The teacher can also ask the class or an emotionally-charged individual to take a break or drink coffee, when the teacher realizes that the emotional atmosphere in the classroom or during the collaborative learning is not a healthy one. In other cases, students will seek help from specialist when they experience trauma, depression, etc. The latter examples illustrated constitute remedial emotional regulation strategies.
To achieve my aim of writing this post, I attended the full lecture session. Notes and key points were written down on my laptop. After the lectures, I familiarized myself with the recommended reading materials. This augmented my understanding in concepts that I learned during the lecture session. Further, to express my understanding of the concepts, I created mind maps to represent my ideas and how to write this post. These are manifested in Figs 1 and 2 in this post. I then set out to ‘concentrate’ on my intended goals for this task. Assembling the materials was a tough task in this assignment. This is because one of the reading materials (that is Boekaerts, 2011) was a book chapter and I could not get access to the full version of the book chapter. I was limited to the number of pages I was allowed to view or read. For instance, when a concept will be introduced and just after the explanation in page 419, the next page reads ‘Page 420 is not allowed to be viewed’. When page 421 starts, probably it concludes on the concept and a new concept is introduced.
In such a scenario, I need to search for that concept in the other reading material or related materials to get a full picture of that concept. If the search for related concepts prove futile, I search for contrasting concepts to get understand the opposing side if the concept. For instance, if I could not read the full version of the concept suppressing emotions as a strategy to regulate one’s emotion, I will search for opposite concept such as enhancing emotions. From the contrasting perspective of the concept, I will derive my own understanding and get practical examples to support my argument. In the future, I intend to visit the library to see if I could get a hard copy of the recommended books. Alternatively, I will message my friends to see if any of them have been able to get the full online versions of the books.
Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American psychologist, 37(2), 122.
Boekaerts, M. (2011). Emotions, emotion regulation, and self-regulation of learning. Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance, 408-425.
Karabenick, S. A., & Newman, R. S. (2009). Seeking help: Generalizable self-regulatory process and social-cultural barometer. Contemporary motivation research: From global to local perspectives, 25-48.
Sarason, I. G., Sarason, B. R., & Shearin, E. N. (1986). Social support as an individual difference variable: Its stability, origins, and relational aspects. Journal of Personality and Social psychology, 50(4), 845.
Wolters, C. A. (2003). Regulation of motivation: Evaluating an underemphasized aspect of self-regulated learning. Educational psychologist, 38(4), 189-205.