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6.10: Summary, Key Words and References

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    Chapter summary

    Motivation— the energy or drive that gives behavior direction and focus— can be understood in a variety of ways, each of which has implications for teaching. One perspective on motivation comes from behaviorism, and equates underlying drives or motives with their outward, visible expression in behavior. Most others, however, come from cognitive theories of learning and development. Motives are affected by the kind of goals set by students— whether they are oriented to mastery, performance, failure-avoidance, or social contact. They are also affected by students' interests, both personal and situational. And they are affected by students' attributions about the causes of success and failure— whether they perceive the causes are due to ability, effort, task difficulty, or luck.

    A major current perspective about motivation is based on self-efficacy theory, which focuses on a person's belief that he or she is capable of carrying out or mastering a task. High self-efficacy affects students' choice of tasks, their persistence at tasks, and their resilience in the face of failure. It helps to prevent learned helplessness, a perception of complete lack of control over mastery or success. Teachers can encourage high self-efficacy beliefs by providing students with experiences of mastery and opportunities to see others' experiences of mastery, by offering well- timed messages persuading them of their capacity for success, and by interpreting students' emotional reactions to success, failure and stress.

    An extension of self-efficacy theory is self-determination theory, which is based on the idea that everyone has basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness to others. According to the theory, students will be motivated more intrinsically if these three needs are met as much as possible. A variety of strategies can assist teachers in doing so. As a practical matter, the strategies can encourage motivation that is more intrinsic to students, but usually not completely intrinsic.

    On the Internet

    < > This,is the site of the Center for Self-Determination Theory.

    These are dead links, but have been captured on the Internet Archive aka the Wayback Machine

    < > This is a rather extensive site maintained about all aspects of self-efficacy theory. The site gives access to a number of published articles on the subject as well as to extensive "lecture" notes by Frank Pajares, who publishes and teaches about self-efficacy theory.

    < > Here is a website that discusses many aspects of motivation in education. It is not limited to any one theory, perspective, or concept about this topic. Many of the references are to citations from the ERIC database (also available at < >). and there are links to bibliographies on additional topics about education.

    Key terms  
    Albert Bandura Mastery goals
    Attributions of success or failure Motivation
    Autonomy, need for Need for relatedness
    Behaviorist perspective on motivation Performance goals
    Competence, need for Personal interests
    Failure-avoidant goals Self-determination theory
    Intrinsic motivation Self-efficacy
    Jigsaw classroom Situational interests
    Learned helplessness TARGET


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    Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

    Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

    Blackwell, L., Trzniewski, K., & Dweck, C. (2007). Implicit theories predict achievement across an adolescent transition: a longitudinal study. Child Development, 78, 246-263.

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    Harp, S. & Mayer, R. (1998). How seductive details do their damage. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 414-434.

    Harzckiewicz, J., Barron, K., Tauer, J., & Elliot, A. (2002). Short-term and long-term consequences of achievement goals. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 316-320.

    Hidi, S. & Renninger, A. (2006). A four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychology, 41, 111-127.

    Johnson, D. & Johnson, R. (1999). Learning together and alone: Cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning, 5 th edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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    Koestner, R. & Losier, G. (2004). Distinguishing three ways of being highly motivated: a closer look at introjection, identification, and intrinsic motivation. In E. Deci & R. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self- determination research (pp. 101-122). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.

    Lent, R., Brown, S., Nota, L., & Soresi, S. (2003). Teaching social cognitive interest and choice hypotheses across Holland types in Italian high school students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 101-118.

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