Self-Regulation of Motivation

Authored by: David B. Miele , Abigail A. Scholer

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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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.

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