ERIC Number: ED350668
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Transforming School Culture To Enhance Motivation.
Maehr, Martin L.
In response to widespread perceptions about school failure and student underachievement, this paper proposes that the culture of the nation's schools must be transformed to improve student motivation and achievement. The problem of schools is rooted in the core beliefs held by staff, students, and school leaders about the purposes, goals, and personal incentives associated with schooling. Goal theory research has underscored the importance of perceptions of purpose in determining the nature and quality of investment in a task. Teaching, schooling, and learning may be defined as task-focused, or concerned with the intrinsic worth of doing the task for its own sake; and as ability-focused, or using the task as a sorting mechanism to demonstrate who has ability. Adopting either goal has important consequences for behavior generally and for motivation and learning in particular. Students adopting a task-focused definition tend to view a task more positively, showing a continued interest even after the formal instruction is completed, and are likely to be academically venturesome, choose challenging activities, and adopt deep-processing strategies. In contrast, students who adopt an ability focus tend to use surface-level strategies, such as memorization and rehearsal, and avoid mistakes and failures. Preliminary findings and conclusions are discussed. (Contains 21 references). (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 20-24, 1992).