Could positive psychology be the new Ritalin for students in increasing motivation? – The answer is yes; it might motivate the unmotivated!
The Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the mental health of many people but especially on students who are missing out on important interactions. Students are being tested on their resilience, their ability to adapt in many situations and foremost their optimism and motivation.
The challenge that comes with a pandemic has a great impact on the judgements of capability to succeed in academic pursuits. Unfortunately, this great impact is a negative one. As a result, the academic motivation and resilience of students take a turn for the worst. It can even become a negative cycle where the lack of motivation turns optimism into pessimism which in turn reduces motivation.
In one experiment, Pajares had 529 students answer different questionnaires about optimism, authenticity, motivation, self-efficacy, and self-concepts which are part of positive psychology. They investigated the association between positive psychology variables, motivation variables and academic achievement through an analysis from given answers on the questionnaires and found that these variables are positively correlated and grounded in academic motivation.
To be able to pursue academic hopes and aspirations students should be armed with hopefulness, optimism, self-acceptance, and self-regard. Positive psychology exercises can increase these aspects necessary for motivation, therefore, shielding people from doubts about their capacities. After all, all our dreams can come true, if we have the courage and motivation to pursue them.
Pajares, F. (2001). Toward a positive psychology of academic motivation. The Journal of Educational Research, 95(1), 27-35.