This book offers principles and strategies to use in motivating students to learn. It is not a “bag of tricks” developed from my own personal philosophy or culled randomly from everywhere. Instead, it is the product of a systematic review of the motivational literature followed by synthesizing efforts that involved: identifying those portions of this vast literature that are most relevant to teachers; summarizing this relevant material using a basic vocabulary to counteract the proliferation of multiple terms for the same basic concept; and organizing the material within a few categories that are rooted in motivational theory and research but also supportive of teachers' efforts to incorporate motivational principles into their instructional planning.
My treatment of relatively obvious principles (e.g., warm, caring teachers are more likely to be successful motivators than indifferent or rejecting teachers) emphasizes their fundamental importance but does not go on to include unnecessarily detailed explanation or documentation. More detail is provided for less obvious and familiar principles, although even here I have focused on key ideas and application guidelines rather than providing broad coverage of the history and development of related theory and research. Similar concepts are treated together with emphasis on their common implications, avoiding “distinctions without difference. ”
Much of the scholarly literature on motivation has limited relevance to teachers because it deals with animals rather than humans or uses differences in individuals' motivational systems to predict differences in their behavior (e.g., students who value success and do not fear failure are more likely to prefer challenging tasks than students with the opposite motiva-