ERIC Number: ED415287
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Achievement Motivation as a Dynamical System: Dancing on the "Edge of Chaos" with "Serious Fun."
Maintaining order and preventing chaos in the classroom are major concerns of educators. However, for many teachers these concerns create a motivational dilemma. If a class lacks order, students tend to play and become over-excited instead of learning. On the other hand, if a class is strictly ordered, students become bored and make minimal effort for learning. Whether the class is ordered, or lacks order, the results for achievement motivation are detrimental. Strict order leads to apathetic stagnation and the lack of order leads to chaotic over-excitement. This paper proposes that the resolution of this dilemma is found dancing on the "edge of chaos" where a dynamical system of motivation emerges. This system unites both the serious and fun aspects of motivation into a complex order. This new order is called "serious fun" and is defined as "play with a purpose." Serious fun goes beyond the apathy of strict order and the over-excitement of chaos to generate an ordered chaos that permits freedom within structure and fun within limits. In this paper, the motivational dilemma concerning chaos in the classroom is elaborated and analyzes, and then the proposed resolution of this dilemma, serious fun, is conceptualized by the introduction of contemporary theories of dynamical systems and psychological reversals. Finally, general educational recommendations on how to dance on the edge of chaos and motivate students with serious fun are provided. (Contains 40 references.) (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A