Goals, Goal Structures, and Patterns of Adaptive Learning

Goals, Goal Structures, and Patterns of Adaptive Learning

Goals, Goal Structures, and Patterns of Adaptive Learning

Goals, Goal Structures, and Patterns of Adaptive Learning

Synopsis

Achievement goal theory has emerged as one of the preeminent approaches to motivation. Goals, Goal Structures, and Patterns of Adaptive Learning presents the findings of a large scale, longitudinal study that use goal theory as the lens through which to examine the relation among achievement goals, the learning context, and students' and teachers' patterns of cognition, affect, and behavior. These results are integrated within the larger literature on goal theory, providing an overview of the research that has been conducted, as well as suggestions that goal theory researchers might want to consider.

Excerpt

In memory of Carol Midgley—our colleague, our mentor, and our friend— from her students.

Over two decades ago, a perspective since labeled “goal theory, ” emerged and has grown to become one of the most predominant perspectives in the study of achievement motivation. Many researchers contributed to the emergence and pre-eminence of this position; no one more so than Carol Midgley. While this volume is the product of multiple persons, and attends to a range of topics reflecting different perspectives, it nevertheless emerges as a significant testimony to her work. And, as fate would have it, exists now as Carol's legacy: her work, the mentorship she provided, her gentle criticism, her friendship, as well as her theoretical and practical contributions to the fields of education and psychology. She passed away on November 23, 2001, after the manuscript was completed, but before it was published.

Carol's guiding hand is reflected throughout the book and she has shaped it with significant contributions that will extend far beyond the memory of her friends and colleagues. First, there is the development and creative use of questionnaire methods designed to assess not only motivational orientations of individuals, but also the nature of contexts that might prompt, shape, and guide these orientations. Carol recognized the role that context played in eliciting and guiding motivation. She also recognized the practical need for educators to understand how context could be framed so as to elicit the optimum investment of students. Not only did she recognize such a need, she made significant attempts to meet it. Her work, as this volume attests, speaks not just to fellow researchers, but also addresses the concerns of practitioners: teachers and childcare professionals, as well as policymakers and opinion setters. Of her it can be truly said that she lives on in her work, including specifically the work reflected in this volume.

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