Notes on Motivation

I just finished reading Motivation in Education: Theory, Research, and Applications (3rd edition) by Dale Schunk, Paul Pintrich, and Judith Meece. I read it for the summer session I am taking on motivation. That seminar is my second-to-last substantive class in my Doctoral Program of Studies, and hopefully useful for my research into blogging, creativity, and the OODA Loop.

Notes are below the fold. The most interesting graphic in this book was this description of a social-cognitive theory of motivation, which appears to be Orientation-Decision-Orientation-Action in the terms of OODA loop, on page 51

Excerpts from the book

Motivation is the process whereby goal-directed activity is instigated and sustained. (4)

Motivation involves goals that provide impetus for and direction to action.

Motivation requires activity — physically or mental. (5)

Finally, motivated activity is instigated and sustained.

We describe, compare, and contrast the correlational, experimental, and qualitative paradigms and then discuss the attributes, advantages, and disadvantages of laboratory and field studies. (7)

We begin by discussing some commonly employed indexes of motivation: choice of tasks, effort, persistence, and achievement. (11)

Motivation can be assessed in various ways, for exampled, by direct observations, ratings by others, and self-reports (Table 1.3). (13)

Connectionism… a central principle is the Law of Effect (21)

When a modifiable connection between a situation and a response is made and is accompanied or followed by a satisfying state of affairs, that connections strength is increased: When made and accompanied or followed by an annoying state of affairs, its strength is decreased. (Thorndike, 13, p. 4)

Current theories assume that motivation involve cognitions, or people’s thoughts, beliefs, goals, and self-representations. (40)

Although there are many motivational theories that include expectancy and value constructs, we will focus on one that has generated the most research on academic achievement in classroom settings. The theory comes from the work of Eccles, Wigfield, and their colleagues (Eccles, 1983, 1987, 1993, 2005; Eccles et al., 1989; Wigfield, 1994,; Wigfield & Eccles, 1992, 2000, 2002; Wigfield, Eccles, & Rodriguez, 1998; Wigfield, Tonks, & Eccles, 2004). It bears some resemblance to the early expectancy -value theories of Lewin and Atkinson. It focuses on the role of students’ expectancies for academic success and their perceived value for academic tasks and springs from a general social cognitive perspective based on personality, social, and developmental psychology. Readers interested in other expectancy-value theories should consult other sources (Heckhausen, 1997; Pekrun, 1993; Rheinberg, Vollmeyer, & Rollett, 2000).

A simplified version of the theoretical model is displayed in Figure 2.2.

Table 2.1. Different self-report items used to measure various expectancy and value constructs (52)

The academic domain concerns students’ perceptions of competence at school tasks. The perceptions of competence shown in Table 2.1 are from Harter’s (1982) perceived competence scale and reflect a general sense of competence for schoolwork. Another self-concept measure, Marsh’s Self-Descriptive Questionnaire (SDQI for preadolescents, SDQII for adolescents, SDQIII for late adolescents and adults) has domains for school subjects (see Byrne, 1996, for a review of measures). (57)

Weinar’s theory also differs from psychodynamic (e.g., Freudian) models in which emotions arise from unconscious processes, and from behavioral (e.g., Skinnerian) models in which emotions are represented as drives or outcomes of reinforcement contingencies. (104)

Social cognitive theory postulates that motivational processes influence both learning and performance (Schunk, 1995), unlike some historical theories (Chapter 1) that considered motivation to be a performance variable. Bandura expanded social cognitive theory’s scope to encompass learning and performance of cognitive, social, and motor skills, strategies, and behaviors. A key variable is self-efficacy, or one’s perceived capabilities to learn or perform actions at designated levels (Bandura, 1993, 1997). Bandura also integrated motivational processes with self-regulation (Bandura, 1986, 1988), which we discuss later in the chapter. (122-123)

In social cognitive theory, “Learning is largely an information-processing activity in which information about the structure of behavior and about environmental events is transformed into symbolic representations that serve as guides for action” (Bandura, 1986, p. 51). Enactive learning is learning by doing and experiencing the consequences of one’s actions. Successful actions are retained; those that lead to failure are discarded. (128)

Vicarious learning occurs in the absence of overt performance by learnings and derives from observing live models (in person), human or nonhuman symbolic models (e.g., persons or cartoon characters on television), or print models (e.g., schematics or written instructions how to assemble products).

Observational learning through modeling occurs when observations display new behaviors that prior to modeling had a zero probability of occurence, even with motivational inducements in effect (Bandura, 1969; Rosenthal & Zimmerman, 1978). (130)

Observational learning comprises four subprocesses: attention, retention, production, and motivation (Table 4.2). Rather than discuss motivation separately, we show how it interacts with the other three subprocesses.

An important distinction is between mastery models who perform faultlessly and coping models who initially demonstrate the typical fears and deficiencies of observers, but gradually improve their performance and gain confidence (Thelen, Fry, Fehrenbach, & Frautschi, 1979). (133)

Self-efficacy is defined as, “People’s judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances” (Bandura, 1986, p. 391). (139)

Motivated learning is motivation to acquire skills and strategies rather than to perform tasks (Corno & Mandinach, 1983). (147)

Guay, Boivin, and Hodges (1999) found that the relation between children’s perceived competence and achievement was stronger when best friends’ achievement was low than it was high. (153)

Zimmerman (1994, 1998) developed a conceptual framework organized arroudn the key questions shown in Table 4.4. (154)

Table 4.4 Dimensions of Self Regulation
Learning Issues – Self Regulation Subprocesses
Why – Self-efficacy and self-goals
How – Strategy use or routinized performance
When – Time management
What – Self-observation, self-judgment, self-reaction
Where – Environmental structuring
With whom – Selective help-seaking

The conceptual basis for this current emphasis derives largely from work in action controll theoroy by Heckhausen (1991) and Kuhl (1984). These theories differentiated predecisional processing, or cognitive activity involved in making decisions and setting goals, from postdecisional processing, which includes those activities engaged in subsequent to goal setting. (159)

Collective efficacy, which refers to the self-efficacy of a group, team, or larger social entity or system (Bandura, 1997), includes both the perceived capabilities of the individual members and group members’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the links between tasks, skills, and roles. Collective efficacy is not a simple average of the self-efficacy of the individual participants. As Bandura (1997) noted: (162)

Belief of collective efficacy affects the sense of mission and purpose of a system, the strength of common commitments to what it seeks to achieve, how well its members work together to produce results, and the group’s resiliency in the face of difficulties. (p. 469)

Although “conformity” and “compliance” often are used interchangeably to mean “obedience,” we will distinguish conformity and compliance as follows: Conformity involves willful obedience to a group’s behavior or mannerisms where the individual and group members are roughly equal in stature (peers), whereas compliance denotes obedience emanating from another’s command where a difference in power or stature exists (subordinate, superior). (162-163)

A number of researchers have explored the role of social cognitive processes in career choices. Thus, self-efficacy has been shown to be a key factor in employment after job losses (Bandura 1997). Self-efficacy is significantly related to effective job search strategies and to eventually reemployment. Betz and Hackett (1987) found that a sense of self-efficacy in various job-related skills (e.g., communication, interpersonal0 relates positively to job advancement. (165)

As noted earlier, much research shows that self-efficacy is a key predictor of career choices and career development (Lent, Brown, & Hacket, 2000). People with higher self-efficacy to complete educational requirements and job functions consider a wider range o career options (Bandura, 1997). Other research shows that children’s self-efficacy affects the types of occupations in which they believe they can be successful (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 2001).

Research also has examned gender differences in career choices. Although women typically judge themselves less efficacious for succeeding in scientific occupations than men, this difference disappears when women judge self-efficacy to perform scientific tasks in the context of everyday activities than in the context of scientific occupations (Matsui, & Tsukamoto, 1991). Although women often judge self-efficacy for quantitative activities lower than do men, this difference disappears when they judge self-efficacy or quantitative activities lower than do men, this difference disappears when they judge self-efficacy to perform the same activities in stereotypically feminine tasks (Junge & Dretzke, 1995). Thus, it is not the activities themselves that may limit women’s career choices but rather thei traditional links to stereotypically male occupations.

Self-efficacy has been shown to be a strong predictor of actions linked to health and wellness (Bandura 1997; Maddux, Brawley, & Boykin, 1995). For example, researchers have been shown that self-efficacy predicts such diverse outcomes as smoking cessation, pain tolerance, coping with feared events, assertiveness, recovery from heart attack and other traumatic experiences, resistance to bulimic behaviors, and control of HIV infection (Bandura, 1997). (165-166)

Social cognitive research has shown that goals that are proximal (close at hand), specific, and moderately difficult offer the greatest motivational benefits. (174)

There are a number of goal-orientation theories for achievement behavior. Goal orientations are the purposes or reasons for engaging in achievement behaviors (Pintrich, 2003). (184)

To organize the literature on mastery and performance goals, it seems helpful to propose a taxonomy (Table 5.6) that classified the two goals and their approach and avoidance versions (Elliot, 1999; Pintrich, 2000a, 2000d). (188)

Mastery goals have also been associated with various affective outcomes (Anderman Wolters, 2006; Table 5.7) (192)

In terms of intrinsic interest or value, the results for performance goals are mixed, paralleling those for self-efficacy. (193)

ognitive outcomes also have been associated with mastery goals (Anderman & Wolters, 2006; Meece, Anderman, & Anderman, 2006; Table 5.7). These include strategies that promote deper processing of the material, as well as various metacognitive and self-regulatory strategies (Pintrich, 2000d). Much of this research is based on self-report data from correlational classroom studies, although Dweck and Leggett (1988) summarized data from experimental studies. The classroom studies typically assess students’ goal orientations and their reported use of different learning strategies. Although there are problems with using self-reports for measuring self-regulatory strategies (Pintrich, Wolters, & Baxter, 2000), these measures display reasonable psychometric qualities. Moreover, the research results are consistent int terms of mastery goals accounting for 10 to 30% of the variance in cognitive outcomes.

Research shows that students who endorse a mastery goal are more likely to report attempting to self-monitor their cognition and to seek ways to become aware of their understanding and learning, such as checking for understanding and comprehension monitoring (Ames & Archer, 1988; Dweck & Legget, 1988; Meece et al., 1988; Meece & Holt, 1993; Middleton & Midgley, 1997; Nolen, 1988; Pintrich, 1999b; Pintrich & De Groot, 1990; Pintrich & Garcia, 1991; Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992; Pintrich et al., 1994; Wolters et al., 1996). (194)

In contrast, students who adopt a performance goal are less likely to seek help because they view it as reflecting negatively on their ability (e.g., showing others that they are unable). (195)

The newer research on the role of performance goals has led some researchers to develop a revised multiple goal theory perspective (Elliot, 1997; Harackiewicz et al., Pintrich, 2000c). (196)

Incremental theories of intelligence reflect students’ beliefs that their intelligence and ability can change and can increase with time and experience. In contrast, entity theories of intelligence represent the beliefs that ability is fixed, stable, and unchanging, and that people cannot increase their ability or intelligence over time. (197)

Epstein (1989) identified six modifiable dimensions of classrooms that affect motivation: task design, distribution of authority, recognition of students, grouping arrangements, evalauation practices, and time allocation. The acronym TARGET has been used to represent these dimensions (task, authority, recognition, grouping evaluation, time). (200)

Interest refers to the liking and willful engagement in an activity (Schraw & Lehman, 2001). (210)

Krapp et al. (1992) proposed three general perspectives on interest that can help us understand this diverse body of research (see Figure 6.1). The three approaches cover personal interest (in an individual disposition), interestingness (an aspect of the context), and interest as a psychological state (including situational interest). (212)

Researchers conceptualize personal interest as a relatively stable enduring disposition, personality trait, or characteristic of the individual (Krapp et al., 1992).

Given this situated perspective, researchers [of situational interest] tended to ignore individual differences and have looked for general principles to describe how the features of the environment (e.g. classrooms, media, computers, textbooks) can generate situational interest. (213)

Individuals can develop actualized individual interest in which an individual’s personal interest interacts with the interesting environmental features to produce heightened interest (Krapp et al., 1992). (213)

Renninger’s research on interest reflects this relational construct of interest as as a psychological state (Renninger, 1990, 1992; Renninger & Wozniak, 1985). As shown in Figure 6.2, she conceptualized interest as comprising both high value for an activity *choosing to do it, thinking it is important) and high stored knowledge about the activity or topic (a cognitive component). (214)

Finally, situational interest researchers who have been concerned with the influence of text-based interest on students’ learning have employed a number of different measures of interest (Alexander et al., 1994). They have used self-report questionnaires of students’ interests in the general domain of reading (e.g., science) and the specific domain of reading (e.g., space travel), in much the same way as noted in the research on personal interest. (216)

Pintrich and his colleagues (Pintrich, 1989; Pintrich & De Groot, 1990; Pintrich & Garcia, 1991) found that personal interest and task value measures correlated positively with deeper processing strategies such as the use of elaboration and organizational strategies, as well as with reports of critical thinking and time and effort regulation strategies, among college and junior high school students. (217)

Mithcell (1993) found that in a secondary mathematics classrooms certain factors catch student interest and other factors hold it. Mitchell found that group work, puzzles, and the use of computers helped to activate interest, but did not hold student interest. In contrast, the use of meaningful work and the active involvement of students as learners were related to maintenance of situation al interest. (218)

Renninger (1992) found gender differences in the role of interest in elementary school students’ solution of arithmetic problems. Boys were more likely to make errors on uninteresting math problems, whereas the girls made more errors when they worked on interesting math problems. Renninger interpreted this gender-by-interest interaction by suggesting that interest facilitates boys’ problem solving because it helps them to understand and work on problems. In contrast, interest seems to interfere and become a distracting for girls on the problems.

Creating surprise by presenting material that goes against expectations or prior knowledge can create cognitive disequilibrium on the part of students. They then may be drawn to the material to attempt to figure out why their beliefs or knowledge are discrepant, and then they become more engaged and involved. (220)

Forgas (2000) noted that affect can be considered the broadest and most inclusive term because it comprises specific emotions and general moods. Forgas defined mood in terms of relatively low-intensity, diffuse, and enduring affective states that have no salient antecedent cause and little cognitive content. People can feel good or bad or be in good or bad mood without any salient antecedent event or without really knowing why (the cognitive antecedent) they feel the way they do. In contrast, Forgas (2000) suggested that emotions are more short-lived, intense phenomena that usually have a salient cause (e.g., failing an exam). (224)

Interest is not a type of motivation but rather an influence on motivation. Students who are interested in learning about a topic or improving their skills in a domain shoudl display motivated behaviors, such as choice of the activity, effort, persistence, and achievement. (237)

A music composer described flow when composing music in the following manner: “You are in an ecstatic state to such a point that you feel as though you almost don’t exist. I have experienced this time and time again. My hand seems devoid of itself, and I have nothing to do with what is happening. I just sit there watching in a state of awe and wonderment. And the music flows out by itself” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, p. 44). (255)

To enhance intrinsic motivation, attention must be given to the four sources mentioend at the beginning of this chapter and shown in Table 7.1: challenge, curiosity, control, and fantasy (Lepper & Hodell, 1989). (264)

The more alike observers are to models, the greater the probability that similar actions by observers are socially appropriate and will produce comparable results (Bandura, 1986; Schunk, 1987). (274)

These findings are supported by longitudinal research by Steinberg, Brown, and Dornbusch (1996). Over a period of 10 years, these authors surveyed more than 20,000 adolescents from nine high schools in different states, and also interviewed many parents and teachers. Peer relations were categorized in three groups (Table 8.2). Best friends are peers with whom students spend most of their free time. At the next level is the clique. Clique members are friends, but friendships are not as intimate as between best friends and relationships may fluctuate in importance over time. Cliques typically comprise 6-10 members, but cliques are likely to share similar values, beliefs, and attitudes. The broadest level is the crowd, which is composed of like-minded students who have some attributes in common but are not friends with everyone else. (277)

Steinberg et al. (1996) found that developmental patterns in the influence of peer pressure on many activities including academic motivation and performance. Peer pressure rises during childhood and peaks around the eighth or ninth grade, but then declines through school. (278)

Connell and Wellborn (1991) contended that involvement, or the quality of a students’ relationships with peers and teachers, is a powerful motivator. (279)

Research by Ladd and his colleagues supports the proposition that friendships affect motivation and achievement (Birch & Ladd, 1996; Ladd, 1990; Ladd & Kochenderfer, 1996).

Children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds typically display lower academic motivation and achievement and are at greater risk for school failure and dropout (Borkowski & Thorpe, 1994); however, low SES does not cause low motivation. (281)

Competitive situations are those in which the goals of individuals are linked negatively such that if one person attains his or her goal, the chances of others attaining theirs are lessened. Cooperative situations are those in which the goals of the group members are linked positively such that one individual can attain his or her goal only if others attain theirs. In individualistic situations, there is no link between the goals of individuals; accomplishment or nonaccomplishment of one person’s goals has no effect on goal attainment of others (Johnson & Johnson, 1976; Slavin, 1983a, 1995). (303)

Rewards that are contingent on students’ actual accomplishments are likely to enhance self-efficacy. Telling students that they can earn rewards based on what they accomplish instills a sense of self-efficacy for performing well, which is validated as they work on the task and perceive they are making progress. Receipt of the reward further validates self-efficacy because it symbolizes progress. When teachers reward students for time spent working regardless of how well they perform, rewards may convey negative efficacy information and be detrimental to motivation (Morgan, 1984). (311)

A classic study by Lewin, Lippitt, and White (1939) showed how different forms so leadership affect motivation and behavior. (312)

The boys preferred the democratic style of leadership. The democratic leader produced a group that was task-oriented, cooperative, and friendly. The boys displayed a high degree of independence and initiative, continued to work productively in the leader’s absence, and endured frustration well. They showed a slight loss in efficiency compared with the authoritarian group — probably due to the time spent solving problems and seeking consensus — buy this was minor and more than compensated for by the improvement in group atmosphere. (312)

A wealth of research supports the use of small groups and cooperative groups as long as they are designed and implemented properly and not used to group students and let them interact without guidance and support (Bossert, 1988; Cohen, 1994; Johnson, Maruyama, Johnson, Nelson, & Skon, 1981; Rosenshine & Meister, 1994; Sharan, 1980; Slavin, 1983a, 1983b, 1995; Webb & Palincsar, 1996). (356)

There has been a great deal of research on racial composition, school integration, and achievement (Rosell & Howley, 1983), which is too extensive to be summarized in this chapter. (360)

Social class may not act in such a marked manner as race, but Lee and Byrk (1988) found that the average SES level of a school was related to overall achievement.

Schools can develop programs that reward and recognize all students for their progress and improvement, not just for normative achievement. (370)

One thought on “Notes on Motivation”

  1. Contrast this and the focus on efficacy/motivation with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s initial “picture theory of language” and the conclusion that anything lacking empirical evidence should be considered nonsense; later he refined the theory into “practical” use of language as something that needs to be rediscovered that happens between us, not within us. The transition from initial discovery to a more complete cognitive theory is a simple bit of motivation/initiative. Boyd reminded many that his IQ of 90 was nothing special, and Einstein cited patience as his central worthwhile value in attacking difficult problems. Perseverence, motivation, initiative then appear to lead to efficacy, which in turn equates to OODA in motion. Like anything truly transcendent, the simplicity of OODA strikes again.

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