Handbook of Motivation at School

Handbook of Motivation at School

Handbook of Motivation at School

Handbook of Motivation at School


The second edition of the Handbook of Motivation at Schoolpresents an integrated compilation of theory and research in the field. With chapters by leading experts, this book covers the major theoretical perspectives in the field as well as their application to instruction, learning, and social adjustment at school. Section I focuses on theoretical perspectives and major constructs, Section II on contextual and social influences on motivation, and Section III on new directions in the field.

This new edition will have the same popular organizational structure with theories at the beginning. It will also include new chapters that cover motivation as it relates to identity, culture, test anxiety, mindfulness, neuroscience, parenting, metacognition, and regulatory focus.


Kathryn R. Wentzel and David B. Miele

The academic lives of children are challenging and complex. In line with the mission of schooling, children are expected to engage in academic activities, learn from instruction, and meet standards of intellectual competency established by others. Children also are expected to adhere to classroom rules, maintain and establish new relationships with classmates and adults, and participate in activities as members of their school community. Central to understanding children’s success at these activities is motivation, typically defined as a set of interrelated desires, goals, needs, values, and emotions that explain the initiation, direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of behavior.

Reflecting on this definition, the authors in the first edition of the Handbook (see Wentzel & Wigfield, 2009) provided accounts of motivation based on social cognitive theories and constructs such as individuals’ self-efficacy beliefs and expectancies for success, their causal attributions and beliefs about intelligence, and their sense of autonomy within various academic contexts. In addition, authors devoted discussion to a rich and extensive literature concerning why students strive to achieve specific academic outcomes, focusing on constructs such as goals, standards for performance, emotions, values, interest, and orientations toward learning and performance. Beliefs about interpersonal belongingness and emotional connectedness to others, beliefs concerning what one is supposed to do based on a sense of moral or social obligation, and perceptions of broader social and cultural expectations concerning intellectual as well as social competencies were also presented as central components of students’ motivation at school. This focus on motivation as a characteristic of the individual was also extended to include frameworks specifying developmental, ecological, and socialization factors that can influence students’ motivational beliefs and intentions.

Our vision for the second edition of the Handbook was to provide the same detailed scholarly overview of the current state of theory and research in the field but to also challenge our readers with new directions and provocations for future scholarship on motivation at school. With these objectives in mind, the current edition presents a comprehensive overview of current theories and research on motivation at school, as well as a broad survey of social and contextual factors that influence students’ motivation. In addition, it includes for the first time a compilation of chapters that are forward looking . . .

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