ERIC Identifier: ED259449
Publication Date: 1984-00-00
Author: Ellis, Thomas I.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Educational Management Eugene OR.
Motivating Teachers for Excellence. ERIC Clearinghouse on
Educational Management: ERIC Digest, Number Six.
Teachers are primarily motivated by intrinsic rewards such as self-respect,
responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. Thus, administrators can boost
morale and motivate teachers to excel by means of participatory governance,
inservice education, and systematic, supportive evaluation.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT WORK MOTIVATION?
Because motivation is psychologically complex, no general and comprehensive
theory exists. The beginnings of such a theory, however, have taken shape from
the writings of influential theorists such as Abraham Maslow (1970), Douglas
McGregor (1967), Frederick Herzberg (1964), and, more recently, Edward L. Deci
Maslow (1970) argues that everyone seeks to satisfy two basic levels of
needs: lower level needs (physiological, security, the need for love and
belonging) and higher level needs (esteem of both self and others and
self-actualization or achieving one's full potential). Once any of these needs
is met, it becomes less important as a motivator.
WHAT ARE EXTRINSIC AND INTRINSIC REWARDS?
According to several authorities, the proper approach to work motivation lies
in a careful distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Herzberg
(1964) distinguishes between extrinsic rewards surrounding a job (such as
salaries, fringe benefits, and job security) and intrinsic rewards of the job
itself (such as self-respect, sense of accomplishment, and personal growth).
Intrinsic rewards, according to Herzberg, are more satisfying and motivating.
McGregor (1967) is best known for his two managerial theories, Theory X and
Theory Y, which emphasize, respectively, extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Deci
(1975), in his book INTRINSIC MOTIVATION, shows how injudicious use of extrinsic
rewards can undermine intrinsic motivation.
WHAT MOTIVATES TEACHERS?
Recent studies have shown fairly conclusively that teachers are motivated
more by intrinsic than by extrinsic rewards. Pastor and Erlandson (1982)
conducted a survey which found that teachers perceive their needs and measure
their job satisfaction by factors such as participation in decision-making, use
of valued skills, freedom and independence, challenge, expression of creativity,
and opportunity for learning. They concluded that high internal motivation, work
satisfaction, and high-quality performance depend on three "critical
psychological states": experienced meaningfulness, responsibility for outcomes,
and knowledge of results.
Sergiovanni likewise found that teachers obtain their greatest satisfaction
through a sense of achievement in reaching and affecting students, experiencing
recognition, and feeling responsible.
WHAT CAN ADMINISTRATORS DO TO ENCOURAGE TEACHERS?
In a survey conducted by Brodinsky and Neill (1983), a majority of school
administrators (and teachers) cited three policies that effectively improved
morale and motivated their staffs: shared governance, inservice education, and
systematic, supportive evaluation.
Shared governance, or participatory management, enhances teachers'
professional status and their "ownership" in the planning and operation of the
school. Thus, shared governance gives teachers a vested interest in school
performance and also promotes harmony and trust among teachers and
administrators. The results of such cooperation can be dramatic: in Salt Lake
City, a shared governance policy enacted eight years ago enabled teachers and
administrators jointly to develop a districtwide accountability plan, an
evaluation/remediation process, a salary progression program, and a curriculum
reform which emphasized basic skills.
Formal or informal inservice education promotes sharing of ideas and
interdependence among teachers. Informal education can include resource sharing
or conversations among teachers about professional concerns; formal education
can include workshops and seminars. Either kind of inservice tends to improve
instructional techniques and enhance professional self-awareness.
HOW CAN AN EVALUATION SYSTEM HELP TO MOTIVATE TEACHERS?
An evaluation system, if well designed, provides teachers with the necessary
feedback to assess their own professional growth. A poorly designed evaluation
system can be disastrous, pitting teachers against administrators and
engendering anxiety, mistrust, and resentment.
Administrators should encourage teachers to take part in the design and
implementation of a practical, research-based evaluation system customized to
individual district needs. The main purpose of evaluation should be to provide
information to help teachers improve their teaching performance.
Accordingly, a good evaluation system should reflect respect for individual
worth and dignity by encouraging teachers to set personal and organizational
objectives. An evaluation system should also foster imagination and creativity,
recognize work well done, and involve both self-appraisal and appraisal of
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Blase, Joseph J., and William D. Greenfield. "An Interactive/Cyclical Theory
of Teacher Performance." ADMINISTRATOR'S NOTEBOOK 29 (May 1980): 1-4.
Brodinsky, Ben, and Shirley Boes Neill, eds. BUILDING MORALE. MOTIVATING
STAFF: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS. AASA Critical Issues Report No. 12. Sacramento,
CA: Education News Service, 1983. ED 227 549.
Deci, Edward L. INSTRINSIC MOTIVATION. New York: Plenum Press, 1975.
Herzberg, Frederick. "The Motivation-Hygiene Concept and Problems of
Manpower." PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION 27 (January-February 1964): 3-7.
Maslow, Abraham H. MOTIVATION AND PERSONALITY. 2d ed. New York: Harper and
McGregor, Douglas. THE PROFESSIONAL MANAGER. Edited by Caroline McGregor and
Warren G. Bennis. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967.
Medved, James A. "The Applicability of Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory."
EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP 39 (April 1982): 555.
Pastor, Margaret C. "A Study of Higher Order Need Strength and Job
Satisfaction in Secondary Public School Teachers." JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL
ADMINISTRATION 20 (Summer 1982): 172-183.
Reyes, Donald J. "Supervision and Motivational Theory: Some Implications."
CATALYST FOR CHANGE 11 (WINTER 1982): 21-24.
Thompson, Sydney. MOTIVATION OF TEACHERS. ACSA School Management Digest
Series, Number 18. ERIC/CEM Research Analysis Series, Number 46. Burlingame, CA
and Eugene, OR: Association of California School Administrators and ERIC
Clearinghouse on Educational Management, 1979. ED l78 998.