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Article

Judith Meece and Charlotte Agger

Achievement motivation theories are used to understand gender discrepancies in motivation across various academic domains. Early on in the field of motivation research, researchers commonly used an attribution framework to study achievement-related outcomes among men and women. Self-efficacy theory and a revised expectancy-value theory of achievement-related choices dominate the current literature on gender differences and achievement motivation. Current trends in research on gender and academic motivation include the shifting and expanding of theoretical frameworks, a new focus on the motivation and achievement of male students, and the use of advanced methodologies and cross-national data to conduct comparative research on gender and patterns of motivation.

Article

Rebecca J. Collie and Andrew J. Martin

Motivation and engagement are firmly implicated in students’ participation in class, educational aspirations, enjoyment of school, academic learning, and academic achievement. Motivation refers to an individual’s inclination, energy, direction, and drive with respect to learning and achievement. Engagement involves the thoughts, actions, and emotions that reflect this inclination, energy, and drive. There are numerous theories articulating the key elements of students’ motivation and engagement. These theories describe how and why motivation and engagement are important for educational outcomes in their own right, as well as how and why motivation and engagement are important means to other desirable educational outcomes. Given the vast array of different theories in the areas of motivation and engagement, researchers have made calls to integrate the body of knowledge that has amassed. The Motivation and Engagement Wheel is an example of a multidimensional framework that traverses salient motivation and engagement factors from major theory and research. These factors encompass positive motivation constructs (self-efficacy, valuing, and mastery orientation), positive engagement constructs (planning, task management, and persistence), negative motivation constructs (anxiety, uncertain control, and failure avoidance), and negative engagement constructs (self-handicapping and disengagement). A broad body of research provides support for the salience of the factors in the Wheel in relation to a range of other variables (e.g., background characteristics, cultural factors) and through a variety of research designs and approaches. Importantly, there are additional exciting directions in motivation and engagement research, such as real-time investigations, the use of biomarkers, the interface with teachers, and intervention research, that are relevant to optimizing students’ academic development through school—and beyond.

Article

Hugh Sockett

Classroom ethics is the responsibility of both the teacher and the learner. The teacher is an autonomous moral agent; and the child-learner is in the process of becoming one, so classroom ethics cannot be seen as managed by the teacher, or salient sources of moral agency will be neglected. Definitions of both “classroom” and “ethics” situate an inquiry focused on American schools. The child’s ethical experience of a classroom can be found in friendship and trustworthiness, or the lack of either, and in children’s ethical transgressions, cheating and bullying. Classrooms are not always benign environments and can be places of fear and loneliness. How teachers respond to these four elements of the child’s classroom experience is central to their moral agency as teachers. The quality of ethics in a classroom is central to, not exclusively determined by, the four elements in moral agency—namely, ethical sensitivity, including race, prejudice, and diverse classrooms; ethical judgment and religious issues; ethical motivation and a plea for altruism, yielding teachers’ ethical actions. Classroom ethics are not acquired by teachers as moral techniques. The basis for classroom quality lies in teachers and student teachers having a strong moral identity, presently being crowded out by testing, management theory such that teachers are unable to grow their moral autonomy as professionals through the onerous and threatening activities of educational systems, their administrators and politicians.

Article

The nature of practices of educational leaders and their outcome in terms of productivity and teacher motivation are greatly shaped by the sociocultural norms that regulate them. The sociocultural norms proposed by Hofstede are widely considered as the benchmark for national cultural examination and comparison, which suggests that collectivist cultures are characterized by higher scores on power distance and uncertainty avoidance and lower on individualism, masculinity, long-term orientation, and indulgence. These dimensions may exert positive, negative, or mixed influence, especially on organizations such as schools that constitute intricate work structures with a variety of stakeholders influencing them from multiple directions. Educational leadership for effective change in school requires the ability to integrate traditional sociocultural norms with the global principles for effective outcomes. Work settings in collectivists cultures are characterized by hierarchy based on age, seniority, or position, and authority, conformity, and compliance are some of the prevalent elements that influence Asian school leadership practices. The issue of developing leadership practices by merging Western principles with indigenous ways that encourages more democratic participation of teachers is always been critical to effective leadership practices. In the context of work-organization, self-determination theory (SDT) has emerged as an effective motivational theory that proposes autonomy, competence, and relatedness as three universal psychological needs; satisfaction of these needs would predict optimal outcomes. Providing autonomous work environments has been widely found to be the most effective of these principles that lead to higher productivity and enhanced teacher motivation. We propose that just like their individualistic culture counterparts, it is possible for school leaders in predominantly collectivist cultures to function in a need-supporting way to provide autonomous work environment for their teachers to yield desired outcomes.

Article

Kay K. Seo and Scott Gibbons

In teacher education, learner engagement is an important instructional consideration. When students are physically, cognitively, and socially involved in the learning process, they can achieve high levels of productivity and develop a meaningful learning experience. In addition, learner engagement is closely associated with student retention and degree completion. To engage education students more meaningfully in the learning process, it is important to teach them in student-centered, technology-enriched environments. Education students should also become more engaged with the community and with other educators in order to build upon their pedagogy. Furthermore, it is important to offer them professional experiences, including student teaching practicum and teacher preparation programs, so that they can transform those experiences into their own teaching practices.

Article

Paul A. Schutz, Sharon L. Nichols, and Sofia Bahena

After two decades of research on emotions in education we have come to understand little about the relationship of teachers and their instructional decision-making and students and their motivation and learning. Most of what we know about emotions stems from studies that look specifically at students and their approach to learning tasks as well as teachers and how they grapple with the stress of teaching and the emotional experiences of working with students. However, we know less about how emotions manifest in varying social-historical educational contexts. When it comes to students, we know that emotions can influence students’ adoption of self-regulation strategies and their subsequent learning outcomes. For example, pleasant emotions tend to be related with effective learning strategies, whereas unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and boredom can reduce motivation and academic achievement. Importantly, these relationships are not consistent throughout the literature, and evidence suggests that, in some cases, anxiety can be motivating for some students. When it comes to teachers, there are two types of research areas. First are studies about how teachers handle unpleasant experiences in an effort to better understand teacher burnout. Second are studies that try to understand the role of emotions and pleasant and unpleasant experiences for newer teachers and how they inform emergent professional identities. More research is needed to understand how emotions play out in the classroom so that we can better support teachers and students and create effective intervention programs aimed at reducing the emotional stress of teaching and learning.

Article

Dale H. Schunk and Maria K. DiBenedetto

Cognitive regulation refers to the self-directed regulation of cognitions (thoughts, beliefs, affects) toward the attainment of goals. Cognitive regulation can occur before individuals engage in tasks, while they are working on them, and during pauses or when tasks are completed where individuals reflect on their performances. Researchers have addressed which cognitive regulation processes are used during various phases of task engagement, how these processes differ among individuals due to ability and achievement levels and due to development, how cognitive regulation processes operate during task engagement, and which interventions can effectively help persons become better cognitive regulators. The implications of the research findings are that teachers and others can help learners improve their cognitive regulation skills. Some important processes are goal setting, strategy use and adaptation, monitoring of cognition and performance, motivation (e.g., self-efficacy), and self-evaluation. Effective interventions expose students to models displaying these skills and provide for practice with feedback. There are six limitations of the present research that should be addressed. This can be accomplished by conducting more intervention studies, examining fine-grained changes in cognitive regulation, conducting research in non-traditional contexts, integrating the educational and developmental literatures, exploring cognitive regulation across cultures, and investigating cognitive regulation during learning with technology.

Article

Sandra Graham and Xiaochen Chen

Attribution theory is concerned with the perceived causes of success and failure. It is one of the most prominent theories of motivation in the field of education research. The starting point for the theory is an outcome perceived as a success or failure and the search to determine why that outcome occurred. Ability and effort are among the most prominent perceived causes of success and failure. Attribution theory focuses on both antecedents and consequences of perceived causality. Antecedents or determinants of attributions may be beneficial or harmful, and they include teacher behaviors such as communicated sympathy, offering praise, and unsolicited help that indirectly function as low-ability cues. Seemingly positive teacher behaviors can therefore have unintended negative consequences if they lead students to question their ability. Attributional consequences are grounded in three properties or dimensions of causes: locus, stability, and controllability. Each dimension is uniquely linked to particular psychological and behavioral outcomes. The locus dimension is related to self-esteem, the stability dimension is linked to expectancy for success or failure, and the controllability dimension is related to interpersonal evaluation. Research on self-handicapping is illustrative of the locus-esteem relation because that literature depicts how dysfunctional causal thinking about the self can undermine achievement. Attribution retraining programs focus on the stability-expectancy link to strengthen individuals’ awareness of how they can alter their causal thoughts and behavior. Changing maladaptive beliefs about the causes of achievement failure (e.g., from low ability to lack of effort) can result in more persistence and improved performance. And, stereotypes about stigmatized groups are grounded in the controllability-interpersonal evaluation attributional lens. Unlike other motivational theories, attribution theory addresses the antecedents and consequences of both intrapersonal attributions (how one perceives the self) and interpersonal attributions (how one perceives other people) with one set of interrelated principles Future research should devote more attention to identifying moderators of attributional effects, multipronged intervention approaches that include an attributional component, and stronger depictions of how race/ethnicity alters attributional thinking.

Article

Barbara Otto and Julia Karbach

In the recent years, parental involvement in a child’s academic development has been of great scientific interest. As parental involvement is a broad term it encompasses many parental activities that need to be further specified. In line with this, no widely accepted theoretical framework of parental involvement exists so far. Moreover, in terms of assessment of parental involvement a large variety of instruments have been applied: Parental involvement has been assessed by behavioral observations, self-reports, or reports by others. In spite of a missing definition and widely accepted theoretical framework, a myriad of research has been conducted to identify determinants and correlates of parental involvement. In this context, several empirical studies have revealed that the way parents get involved in their children’s schooling depends on a diverse set of variables, which refer not only to the parents themselves, but also to the family setting and the school context. However, the main body of research has focused on the effects of parental involvement. Although it has been found to be a significant predictor for children’s academic success parental involvement also seems to show changes related to the child’s age and grade level. Moreover, the different dimensions of parental involvement seem to have differential predictive value for students’ academic outcomes. Less empirical studies have been done referring to the associations of parental involvement with academic outcomes other than performance. Moreover, the very few intercultural studies conducted in this field suggest there might be similarities but also differences between Western and Eastern parents in the way how they get involved with their children’s education. Based on the presented aspects, future research should aim at developing a consistent definition and widely accepted theoretical framework of parental involvement as well as further investigate underlying determinants and mechanisms.

Article

H. Carl Haywood

Cognitive early education, for children between ages 3 and 6 years, is designed to help learners develop and apply logic tools of systematic thinking, perceiving, learning, and problem-solving, usually as supplements to the content-oriented preschool and kindergarten curricula. Key concepts in cognitive early education include metacognition, executive functions, motivation, cognition, and learning. Most programs of cognitive early education are based on conceptions of cognitive development attributed to Jean Piaget, Lev S. Vygotsky, A. R. Luria, and Reuven Feuerstein. Piagetians and neoPiagetians hold that children must construct their personal repertoire of basic thinking processes on the basis of their early experience at gathering, assimilating, and reconciling knowledge. Vygotskians and neoVygotskians believe that cognitive development comes about through adults’ mediation of basic learning tools, which children internalize and apply. Adherents to Feuerstein’s concepts likewise accord a prominent role to mediated learning experiences. Followers of Luria believe that important styles of information processing underlie learning processes. Most programs emphasize, to varying degrees, habits of metacognition, that is, thinking about one’s own thinking as well as selecting and applying learning and problem-solving strategies. An important subset of metacognition is development and application of executive functions: self-regulation, management of one’s intellectual resources. Helping children to develop the motivation to learn and to derive satisfaction from information processing and learning is an important aspect of cognitive early education. Widely used programs of cognitive early education include Tools of the Mind, Bright Start, FIE-Basic, Des Procedures aux Concepts (DPC), PREP/COGENT, and Systematic Concept Teaching.

Article

Writing  

Danielle S. McNamara and Laura K. Allen

Writing is a crucial means of communicating with others and thus vital to success and survival in modern society. Writing processes rely on virtually all aspects of cognition (e.g., working memory, motivation, affect, self-regulation, prior knowledge, problem solving) and are naturally embedded in social contexts. Social factors include writers’ objectives, audience, genre, and mode of writing. For example, the increased use of the Internet has rendered writing for informal purposes more frequent, and writing mechanics (e.g., deleting, spell checking) and search for information more efficient. Research on educational interventions to improve writing points to the importance of providing students with instruction and practice using writing strategies, writing practice with feedback (e.g., instructor, automated), and collaborative writing (including peer feedback). Given the inherent complexity of writing, it is important to help students learn how to write across various situations with varying purposes and demands. This necessitates reading many types of text genres (e.g., narrative vs. informational writing), writing frequently, and revising based on feedback. Since the turn of the century, there has been a substantial increase in research on writing processes, including methods to improve writing. However, there remains a substantial need for additional experimental work to understand writing processes as well as more evidence on which types of interventions are most beneficial in helping students to improve their writing. Feedback from both cognitive and sociocultural researchers should inform future revisions of the standardized guidelines and assessments with the long-term goal of developing a clearly defined set of standards for academic excellence in writing.

Article

Ellen Skinner and Emily Saxton

Academic coping describes the profile of responses children and adolescents utilize when they encounter challenges, obstacles, setbacks, and failures in their scholastic work. Coping is one of multiple strands of research from a variety of subareas within educational and developmental science that share a common interest in this topic, including work on academic resilience, buoyancy, mastery versus helplessness, tenacity, perseverance, and productive persistence, as well as adaptive help seeking, self-regulated learning, and emotion regulation. These approaches focus on the responses (including emotions and goal-directed behaviors) students actually undertake on the ground when they encounter academic difficulties in their daily lives; patterns of action can be contrasted with the belief systems, motivations, or skill sets that underlie these responses. Since the mid 1980s, several dozen studies have examined academic coping in children and youth from 2nd to 12th grade (ages 7–18), including samples from 29 countries (Skinner & Saxton, 2019). These studies have identified multiple adaptive ways of dealing with academic stress, including problem solving, help seeking, and comfort seeking. These responses are considered productive because they allow students to gather resources and strategies, and so re-engage in demanding tasks with renewed purpose, vigor, and effectiveness. Multiple maladaptive ways of coping have also been identified, such as escape, rumination, or blaming others. These are considered unproductive because when enacted in response to academic demands, they are more likely to trigger disaffection, amplify distress, or provoke negative reactions from social partners. In general, research indicates that students normatively show a profile of coping that is high in adaptive strategies (especially problem solving, help seeking, and support seeking) and low in maladaptive responses. Studies find that students’ adaptive coping is linked to their academic functioning and success, including their educational performance, engagement, persistence, and adjustment to school transitions. In contrast, maladaptive coping is linked to a pattern of poor academic performance, disengagement, and school-related burnout. Students cope more adaptively when they possess motivational assets (such as self-efficacy, relative autonomy, or sense of belonging) and experience interpersonal supports from their parents, teachers, and peers. Studies documenting developmental trends suggest normative improvements in the coping repertoire during elementary school. However, over the transition to middle school in early adolescence, many adaptive ways of coping decline while reliance on maladaptive responses generally increases. Starting in middle adolescence, these problematic trends stabilize, and some studies indicate renewed improvement in coping, especially problem solving. Current research on academic coping faces theoretical, methodological, and applied challenges: (a) theoretically, more comprehensive conceptualizations are needed that integrate coping perspectives with social contextual, motivational, and developmental approaches; (b) methodologically, standard measures are needed that focus on core categories of academic coping, and that utilize allocation scoring; and (c) to further applied work, additional studies are needed that describe and explain normative and differential age-graded changes in adaptive and maladaptive coping across childhood and adolescence. Researchers who study academic coping believe that this work has much to offer educational theories, research, and interventions aimed at understanding how to help children and adolescents develop the capacity to deal constructively with the obstacles and problems they will inevitably encounter during their educational careers.

Article

John R. Kirby and Stefan Merchant

Self-regulated learning (SRL) refers to how learners adapt their learning processes to achieve academic goals. SRL is a complex construct that includes cognitive, metacognitive, and affective components. Research has consistently demonstrated a positive association between SRL and academic achievement. Current models of SRL show the cognitive and motivational processes required for effective SRL: how SRL develops, how SRL has been measured, and how assessment for learning can improve students’ SRL. This research has implications for teaching and assessment, in K–12 school and higher education contexts, including potential barriers for teachers and learners. Further research is required to develop and validate measures of SRL, establish that the effects of SRL are independent of other factors, examine longitudinal relationships, and test the long-term effects and generalizability of instruction in SRL. Just as learners need to change their thinking about learning to become effective SRL students, educators need to change their thinking and practices to become more effective teachers and assessors of SRL.

Article

Learning strategies comprise the application of overt and covert metacognitive, cognitive, affective/motivational, social, and behavioral/environmental/management learning tools to enhance the successfulness of surface and deep learning, as well as transfer of learning. The most effective learning strategies for the acquisition and manipulation of information combine the limited use of a behavioristic, teacher-directed transmission approach to teaching with a powerful cognitive and constructivist approach where students take control of their own learning and construct meaning of information.

Article

Some of the most complex and challenging problems that arise for educational leaders are actually “leadership dilemmas.” This type of dilemma, which must be owned by the leader, contains a strong tension between a desire to achieve the goals of the organization and simultaneously preserve positive relationships. Performance appraisal is one of the main contexts in which this dilemma arises for the leader. In most cases it is not recognized or is avoided because of its potential to create conflict and unpleasantness. Common avoidance approaches include polarizing the strands of the dilemma and attending to either an organizational demand or a relationship concern, and in such cases the problem is only partly solved and resurfaces at a later date. Because there is often a high level of anxiety experienced by both parties in staff appraisal situations, the avoidance of dilemmas is ubiquitous and poor performance is not confronted. Consequently, many significant issues that impact on student learning are not attended to effectively, and these problems persist and recur. When educational leaders are motivated to deal with these extremely difficult problems, they must engage in a learning loop that allows them to reflect on and change values that do not lead to long-term problem resolution. They must be willing to surface and confront the conflict inherent in a leadership dilemma. This involves understanding the nature of a leadership dilemma and being able to analyze the defensive theory of action that blocks learning when conflict is present. It involves knowing about and practicing an alternative theory of action that can guide efforts to be productive in addressing the problem. In order to manage leadership dilemmas, specific skills for double-loop learning, such as the Triple I approach, must be acquired and internalized so that productive conversations can occur.