ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Activating Desire (1)

Updated on December 12, 2010
ACSutliff profile image

A.C. Sutliff has been a teacher since 2010. She self-published a realistic fiction trilogy for teens and is now writing a fantasy trilogy.

The research is indisputable: Students are less disruptive and do better academically in schools that cultivate the internal motivation of students.
The research is indisputable: Students are less disruptive and do better academically in schools that cultivate the internal motivation of students. | Source

What is Internal Motivation?

I am like a balance scale. On the inside, I am balanced. But what I perceive myself to be and what I actually am are not always the same. When my vision of myself does not match my reality, my balance starts to tip. Just as if someone put a tiny weight on one of my balancing plates.

At that point, there are choices to be made. I can put a weight of equal measure on the other balance plate to even the load. I can force my balance plates to realign by pushing down on the higher plate or pushing up on the lower plate. Or I can decide that my scale may not be balanced, but it's close enough. It's only one weight after all. I don't have to do anything about it right now.

I expect my classroom to be a certain way. My vision is idealistic. The students are excited to learn. They eagerly listen to me teach, and actively engage in my activities. They ask wonderful questions and teach each other. They answer my deep questions, listen to each other, and enjoy learning. They are excited to reflect on the learning of the day and eager to return tomorrow to continue on the path.

So when one of my students decides to sit and let the group do all the work, my balance tips. I have a choice. I can adjust my own expectations to accommodate for students who don't want to work, thus adding a weight to the other scale to balance the load. I can approach the student and manipulate him into sharing the work load by asking a question or giving away an answer. Or I can force him into participating by making him feel guilty for not helping his group, or threatening to send him to the office if he doesn't get to work. Thus pushing down on the higher plate or pushing up on the lower plate. Or I can decide to completely ignore the whole thing. Until a few weeks go by while more students follow suit, and before I know it, my scale is so unbalanced that I have to do something drastic to realign my vision with my reality. I punish, I embarrass, I belittle, I yell. I ruin everything.

The ideal reaction to the situation would be to simply remove the weight that has caused the imbalance. But when that weight comes from a student, removing it is not my choice. It's the student's choice. All I can do is remind that student to help the group so learning can take place. If the student realizes that his own balance is tipped when he sits there disengaged, then he will remove the weight himself, from both scales.

That is internal motivation.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • ACSutliff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago


      I so appreciate that you came by to read. Your ideas sound great too. You definitely have good instincts. Building a relationship is the most important part of teaching, and even when it's only one budget talk, it's still important. I will definitely put that idea in my pocket for the next time my students can't seem to focus on me. In the past, they have really tuned in when I tell them about myself. Thanks again!

    • 2patricias profile image


      8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      I so admire anyone who can teach! (The other Patricia is a trained primary school teacher, and now teaches Pilates.)

      There was a time when I had to give talks to people like social workers. I had to tell them about budgets, and finance. I would usually start by asking the group questions about seemingly unrelated things. My idea was to get their attention, and help them to feel engaged. Finance is a scary topic, any many people expect to feel bored, or not understand. So I tried to get them to relate to me, and then I thought they would be more likely to listen.

      Your ideas are so interesting - good hub.

    • ACSutliff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks Parrster!

      You are right about the classroom. I try to just focus on what the students will be learning every day. It's a nice balance of what I have to do and what they have to do. It gets me through the week. :)

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 

      8 years ago from Australia

      I do so admire you teachers. To me the classroom remains the most potentially volatile of all modern environments; a dynamic mix of youth, freedom, ideas, emotions, hormones, parenting styles on one side and teacher’s goals, school policies and academic agendas on the other. With such finely balanced and oft divergent forces I’m amazed at your ability to keep moving in a positive direction at all; let a lone an internally motivated one. I commend you.

    • ACSutliff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you Doug! I appreciate that you left me your thoughts. Glad to have you read what I write.

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 

      8 years ago

      Good to hear that your students participate actively and engage each other. That is a teacher's gift to be able to influence them in such a way. You must be a natural, though I'm sure the balance is never accomplished without hard work. Cheers.

    • ACSutliff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      De Greek,

      Thank you for your kind words. I did mention that THAT was my IDEAL vision of my classroom, right? :p

      I have to be honest though, and tell you that I do have quite a few students who ask each other for help and help each other out. It is amazing to see them go to each other for help. I am a last resort for them, which leaves me free to help the students who really need one on one instruction.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      "They ask wonderful questions and teach each other" - YOU are a gem and I hope that your students' parents realize how lucky their children are to have you as their teacher :-)

    • ACSutliff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      bluejay, thank you for your insightful comment. Everyone is truly self motivated, even if they don't realize it. Those people who sit and do nothing have a poor self vision. If they thought more highly of themselves and expected more from themselves, they would be motivated to do more to help themselves.

    • bluejay900 profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice :) I know some people who are like that, who sit and let other people do the work. It makes me sad that it gets them absolutely nowhere in life.

    • ACSutliff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you for leaving me a comment, Damian! I'm glad that you read and enjoyed my writing.

    • damian0000 profile image


      8 years ago from Belfast

      Great hub! Very well-written :-)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)