According to Zimbardo and Ruch (1976) motivation is the source of energy within an organism which is assumed to affect its tendency towards actions.
Maccown, Driscold and Roop (1996) define motivation to learn as a disposition to learn, characterised by the learners’ willingness to initiate learning activities, their continued involvement in a learning task and their commitment to learning.
Maslow’s hierarch of needs provide a helpful framework for accessing children’ basic needs. The hierarch shows that cognitive needs are high on the list, so that before children can be receptive to and be interested in learning and exploring, the four basic needs must be met, these are physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and self esteem needs, Maslow(1954).
Physiological needs are the most basic needs of living creatures. Children who come to school hungry, focus on hunger, so efforts to teach them are bound to fail unless this need is satisfied. Teachers should encourage parents to give children food to eat before they come to school and food to eat at break and lunch time. At some schools children are given food handouts by donors in Zimbabwe such as the Care International in form of barley, porridge, mahewu and beans.Temperetures in the classroom must be comfortable. The classroom must allow good air circulation and adequate lighting. Children need to be encouraged to dress appropriately for different weather conditions and also schools should make sure that clean water is available for the children.
Safety needs encompass the needs for security, stability, order, protection and freedom from fear and anxiety or worry. School children need to feel secure and safe whilst in the school premises. Children come into a strange environment need to know that it is a safe place and teachers need to prove to them that they will be protected and that no harm will come to them while they are at school. The feeling of safety enables children to reach out to others and explore the environment. Teachers should discourage bulling by peers, classmates or older pupils because pupils learn better if they feel secure at school. Teachers should avoid subjecting pupils to humiliation and severe disciplinary measures for instance, corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is not allowed in Zimbabwe. Teachers and pupils should draft school and classroom rules to protect pupils. The prefect system should be used to protect pupils from bullies.
Love and belongingness needs are very crucial. The need to feel accepted and loved come after safety needs has been gratified. People want to belong to a family, racial group; pressure group and even church organisations where they feel loved, and accepted by fellow members’ .Some children may feel that they are not worth being loved or accepted by group members and as a result may act out or misbehave in order to get attention from the group members. Teachers should treat their learners kindly, warmly and with love. Pupils feel motivated to learn if they feel that they are accepted as members of their particular classes. Teachers should call their pupils by name. During lesson delivery teachers should spread questions and responsibilities to various pupils and should not show favouratism.Stigimatisation should be avoided at all levels, for example on HIV/AIDS.
Self esteem is a sense of one’s own work. It comes from daily experiences that conform whom