Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation for Starfire Students

Lighting the fire for S.T.E.M. from within

Lighting the fire for S.T.E.M. from within

When students feel motivated to learn, they perform better academically, improve their classroom behaviour and gain a higher sense of self-esteem.  

Starfire teachers help their students find motivation to excel in critical thinking, problem-based learning and deep understanding of mathematical concepts. 

There are two basic ways to promote motivation in students:

Extrinsic Motivation:
A drive to engage in an activity because of a reward to engage in the activity or a punishment for not engaging.

Intrinsic Motivation:
An inner drive to engage in an activity for its own sake because it is interesting and satisfying in itself.

In extrinsic motivation, the primary motivator is external (i.e. you expect to get something for completing a certain task, or you want to avoid a consequence for not doing something). For example, a student studies for a test because they want to earn a good grade. Or they mind their behavior because they don’t want to lose their recess.

When children rely too much on external motivation, they learn to compare themselves to others and may give too much weight to other people’s opinions.  Extrinsic motivation can be a useful tool, especially when a student is trying something new and challenging.  

In intrinsic motivation students are pursuing the activity because they it  or see it as an opportunity to explore, learn, and achieve their potentials.

Intriguing research shows that when students have intrinsic motives for learning — when they engage not for external reward but because they find the activity itself interesting and gratifying — they become more likely to attach meaning to their work, explore new topics, and persist in the face of learning challenges.

Starfire teachers use research-based strategies for motivating students to learn. One example is below

Become a role model for student interest. Lessons are delivered with energy and enthusiasm.  Displays of Starfire teachers’ motivation and passion motivates our students. Starfire courses are personal. Teachers showing why they are interested in the material.  They talk about challenging STEM projects they have been a part of and problems they have tackled, from robotics competitions to working in design at Tesla.

Get in touch at info@starfireed.com to learn more about our approach to intrinsic motivation.

Dr. Jo Boaler - Starfire Math Hero

Dr. Jo Boaler.jpg

Starfire Math Hero!
Dr. Jo Boaler is an internationally renowned Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University.

Her work, which combines new information about how the brain learns with evidence on the best ways to approach and learn math effectively, shows that everyone can be a math person! 
We believe that with effort and perseverance and support, our students can become powerful S.T.E.A.M. learners.  

Starfire Education believes that Math is a fun, collaborative, and creative pursuit.
Starfire Education believes that all students are capable of achieving math greatness

You can find valuable resources for parents and teachers developed by Dr. Boaler at:

Winter Session Updates

We are thrilled to be touching base with our Starfire community at the mid-point of Winter Session 2019. We are excited to be collaborating on critical thinking skill development, deep learning, and fun with our Starfire students.  

Class News
The Starfire curriculum emphasizes exploration and hands-on-learning over memorization.  This generates useful context for students that is helpful in learning and retaining new skills.  

Here are som fun examples of activities and challenges happening in Starfire classrooms:

  • Luyi’s Art & Design class at La Entrada worked to turn 2D shapes into 3D forms.  The students created masks out of their newly formed 3D shapes.

  • Tejal’s Electrical Engineering class at Brewer Island learned the concept of insulators vs. conductors and how those concepts apply to real world engineering scenarios.

  • Jennifer’s Math class at Escondido completed a highly interactive workshop estimating the number of gems in a glass and the length of a string. Students were asked to explain/defend their reasoning and encouraged to risk conjectures.

Teacher Spotlight
We are proud of the enthusiastic, credentialed and dedicated teachers at Starfire.  We would love to share some information about one of the newest members of our team, Samina. Our Starfire Education instructor Samina started her career as a software engineer, working at places like Cisco and Oracle doing software development. More recently, she has focused on being a Technical Trainer and coding Instructor in a variety of settings. Samina is also community minded! She is involved in the training department of Women in Big Data.

She is also a mom to two teenage boys who share her love of reading, computers and museums. She has enjoyed mentoring her boys and wants to share that enjoyment with Starfire Education students.

Starfire Learning Tools
Design Thinking is one of the pedagogical tools our students use to solve problems.  The goal of a designer is to listen, observe, understand, sympathize, empathize, synthesize and glean insights. Design thinking is a strategy for solving problems through creativity, and innovation. Starfire teachers help students apply the skills used by designers to solve problems posed in their classrooms, whether they are posed in math, coding or engineering classes.  Design thinking as a problem solving method was developed at Stanford, and is a growing feature of STEM education. We love the research coming out of REDLab at Stanford University Graduate School of Education and its focus on the use of Design Thinking in K-12 Education.

Follow Starfire Education on Social Media