1.7  Motivation

Motivation is usually expressed as a mental direction or a desire for doing or rejecting something. It is something that happens within the person, not something done to a person by others. It involves the internal dynamics of behaviours, not external stimuli such as incentives.

In health education, you can appeal to people’s motives through motive-arousing discussion, but not through external factors. Rather than ‘telling’ people the best action they should take, help them to learn about their health and encourage and motivate them to take steps to improve.

  • Assume that you are conducting a health education session among the antenatal women from your district who are thinking about what they should eat during pregnancy. What mechanisms do you think may be important to use in order to reinforce the messages to your audience? How do you think you might help to motivate them?

  • Your response may include, but not be limited to:

    1. Asking them what they know about the topic you are teaching (helping them draw on their own understandings will align with their lives and concerns)
    2. Repeating important issues you raised (giving people time to absorb your messages will help them compare this to their understanding)
    3. Encouraging those responding (valuing people’s views will be positive and help with motivation)
    4. Showing examples of the types of food they should eat during pregnancy (if people know what they can do to help themselves it can be motivating)
    5. Giving demonstrations of how to prepare and cook the beneficial foods (again knowing where to start can be motivating and make behaviour change not as daunting).

1.6.5  Needs-based assessment

Summary of Study Session 1