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Current and future directions in teacher motivation research

The Decade Ahead: Applications and Contexts of Motivation and Achievement

ISBN: 978-0-85724-253-2, eISBN: 978-0-85724-254-9

Publication date: 12 July 2010


Educational psychologists have, over the last half century or so, directed their attention to the study of student motivation. While teachers have not entirely been ignored, there has been little inquiry into teacher motivation that has been systematic and theory-driven. The concentration on students has tended to overlook the centrality of teacher motivations as integral to teachers’ goals, beliefs, perceptions, aspirations, and behaviours, and thereby to student motivations and learning. It is perhaps not surprising that those motivation researchers who have developed robust theories in relation to student learning in educational contexts would begin to turn their attention to teachers, to see whether those same theories might have explanatory power with regard to teacher motivations. Teacher self-efficacy research (e.g., Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2007; Woolfolk Hoy & Burke-Spero, 2005) has made important contributions to the study of teachers. Motivation researchers are now beginning to turn their attention to other aspects of the complex of motivational factors which demand greater attention and exploration. Robust theoretical frameworks already exist in the motivation literature, which can be applied to guide future research in this area. There has recently been a surge of interest, or what we have elsewhere described as a “Zeitgeist” (Watt & Richardson, 2008a) in applying well-developed theories in motivation research, to the domain of teaching.


Richardson, P.W. and Watt, H.M.G. (2010), "Current and future directions in teacher motivation research", Urdan, T.C. and Karabenick, S.A. (Ed.) The Decade Ahead: Applications and Contexts of Motivation and Achievement (Advances in Motivation and Achievement, Vol. 16 Part B), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 139-173.



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