Positioning Interest and Curiosity within a Model of Academic Development

Authored by: Patricia A. Alexander , Emily M. Grossnickle

Handbook of Motivation at School

Print publication date:  March  2016
Online publication date:  February  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138776166
eBook ISBN: 9781315773384
Adobe ISBN:


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If the current volume and the vast library of theoretical and empirical sources teach us anything, it is that motivation is integral to the learning and development of all (Ainley, Hidi, & Berndorff, 2002; Eccles & Wigfield, 2002). That is true whether we are speaking of the very young or the very mature (Alexander, Johnson, Leibham, & Kelley, 2008). It is true whether we are concerned with learning in schools or in the world at large (Deci & Ryan, 2008; Wentzel & Wigfield, 2009). And, it is true whether we are speaking of academic achievement in science, mathematics, literature, or history (Murphy & Alexander, 2000). All human actions are motivated. Despite the frequent references to unmotivated, disengaged, or apathetic students that can be found in popular press or empirical articles (Hidi & Harackiewicz, 2000), we would counter that the aforementioned adage applies to all students who matriculate and to every teacher charged with guiding their learning. Unfortunately, when it comes to the question of motivation at school, the concern is not whether students are motivated at all. Rather, the question is whether those who populate classrooms, especially students, manifest the motivations that ultimately translate into higher school performance (i.e., achievement motivation).

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