Learning in Culture and Context: Approaching the Complexities of Achievement Motivation in Student Learning

Learning in Culture and Context: Approaching the Complexities of Achievement Motivation in Student Learning

Learning in Culture and Context: Approaching the Complexities of Achievement Motivation in Student Learning

Learning in Culture and Context: Approaching the Complexities of Achievement Motivation in Student Learning

Synopsis

This volume describes and critically examines the state of the art in research on achievement motivation in ethnically and culturally diverse groups. The authors address three visible shortcomings in the current literature the problems inherent in decontextualized research, the need to consider culture authentically, and the need to recognize differences within groups. This volume considers the greater insights that come from research that is contextualized, emphasizes individual meaning making, and embraces methods of inquiry that allow for a deep conceptual understanding of the rich and varied ways in which achievement and motivation develop both between and within cultures and contexts of learning. This is the 96th issue of the Jossey-Bass series New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.

Excerpt

To make progress in understanding the ways in which
students' achievement beliefs influence their achievement
behavior, we need to design investigations that
contextualize research questions and pay explicit
attention to within-group differences.

We are at a crossroad in cross-ethnic and cross-cultural research on children's motivation to achieve. the research of the past quarter-century has remained somewhat stagnant and embedded in traditional methods of inquiry, the most common of which are experimental studies and large-scale surveys of children's, parents', and teachers' beliefs about learning and achievement. the result is that we have a rather extensive literature on, for example, the ways in which children's intrinsic desire to learn is differentially affected by varied reward conditions and different ways that success or failure can be induced to produce a variety of reactions to success or failure. As a result of the considerable efforts of the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA), whose most recent works are the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) (Beaton and others, 1996a, 1996b) and TIMSS-R (Martin and others, 2000; Mullis and others, 2000), we also know what thousands of students in over forty industrialized nations think about the causes of success and failure and the value of mathematics and science in their daily lives.

Our goal here is not to minimize the advances in knowledge that have benefited all of us, researchers and educators alike. Indeed, each of the chapter authors in this volume has learned from and contributed to the work we now find in need of new directions. Rather, we wish to demonstrate that the time is ripe to embrace mixed or hybrid methods of inquiry. in other words, we believe that we can move the field forward by conducting research that is contextuahzed, authentic, and mindful of differences within groups of children, parents, and teachers.

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