Possibilities, and Perspectives
Education is, at least, the endeavor to get people to do things they could not previously do, to understand things they did not previously understand, and perhaps, to become the people they did not expect to become.
—Sockett (1988, p. 195)
Sockett's statement expresses a basic premise about the role of motivation: It leads to possibilities for fostering the development of students' potential or “life chances” (Mclnerney & Van Etten, 2001, p. x). A central theme of this book is that teachers have a primary responsibility in education to help students cultivate personal qualities of motivation that can give them resources for developing aspiration, independent learning, achieving goals, and fostering resiliency in the face of setbacks. Perhaps this responsibility is even more important in the context of the motivational problems and challenges faced in the home and in schools in the early 21st century.
This chapter begins by identifying motivational challenges faced by educators, followed by the identification of motivational perspectives that offer possibilities for addressing the problems and promoting optimal motivation. Next, a general framework for the role of schools and teachers in fostering optimum motivation is described. The last part of the chapter presents an introduction to the motivation perspective for this book and an overview of the remaining chapters.