Educational Values and Cognitive Instruction: Implications for Reform

By Lorna Idol; Beau Fly Jones | Go to book overview
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8
Motivation and Effective Teaching

Russell Ames
Carole Ames
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The purpose of this chapter is to uncover some of the mystery of negative student motivation. We hope that such understanding will help teachers eliminate some factors that commonly elicit negative student motivation in the classroom by providing them with strategies to enhance positive motivation in students.

Negative motivation is characterized by a perception that one does not have a strategy for getting from the beginning to the end of a task, and it entails a belief that the task, therefore, cannot be completed. When this happens, students often engage in behaviors associated with negative motivation. That is, they do not persist on the task, they engage in activities that distract others in the classroom, or they simply sit lethargically and engage in off-task thinking.

Our view of motivation focuses on certain qualitative aspects of how students think about the learning process. In particular, we are interested in how students place different values on various goals, in the ways they process and attend to information, and the different beliefs and evaluations they have about themselves and their performance. Thus, in order to understand negative motivation and to engage in corrective actions to enhance positive motivation, we believe it is necessary to understand what the student is thinking about as he or she is engaged in what we typically call "negative motivational behavior," such as procrastination, inability to make a decision, avoiding risk taking, or daydreaming. This chapter is divided into two major parts: first, student motivation and, second, effective teaching practices to enhance student motivation.

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