Handbook of Motivation at School

By Kathryn R. Wentzel; David B. Miele | Go to book overview

18
SELF-REGULATION OF MOTIVATION

David B. Miele and Abigail A. Scholer

Although educators often complain that their students “lack motivation,” they also see it as their responsibility to create classroom contexts that keep students focused and engaged. However, one problem with teachers assuming primary responsibility for student motivation is that, as we have seen throughout this handbook, students vary considerably in terms of what they find motivating. For instance, expectancy-value theory (see Wigfield, Tonks, & Lauda, this volume) suggests that a considerable source of student motivation is the utility and importance that students associate with different educational outcomes. For one student, the importance of learning science may be associated with the desire to become an engineer, whereas for another student in the same class, this importance may instead be associated with the desire to understand more about the environmental impact of global warming. In this case, asking teachers to try to understand the individual values and interests of each of their students may be a less efficient means of fostering motivation than asking them to teach their students how to connect what they are learning about in school to their own values and interests. In other words, teachers might be more effective at motivating students if they can teach them how to motivate themselves.

From this perspective, the ways in which students regulate their own motivation is an essential, though understudied, aspect of self-regulated learning. In this chapter, we explore research on motivation regulation by drawing on existing models of motivation regulation (Sansone & Thoman, 2005, 2006; Schwinger & Stiensmeier-Pelster, 2012; Wolters, 2003, 2011), as well as theoretical frameworks that have previously been applied to other aspects of self-regulated learning, particularly metacognition and emotion regulation. First, borrowing from the metacognitive literature, we explore the ways in which students assess their own motivational states (i.e., monitoring) and use various strategies to boost or change their own motivation when they deem it to be insufficient (i.e., control). We also explore the idea (related to the emotion regulation literature) that motivation regulation is not only about increasing the level or amount of one’s motivation, but also about ensuring that the type of motivation one is experiencing (e.g., controlled vs. autonomous) fits with the performance demands of a given task (i.e., positively influences those aspects of performance that are crucial for success in a particular context;

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