Motivational Interventions: Volume 18

Table of contents

(17 chapters)
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List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Preface

Pages ix-xv
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Purpose

This chapter presents empirical evidence on the effects of attributional retraining (AR), a motivation-enhancing treatment that can offset maladaptive explanatory mind-sets arising from adverse learning experiences. The evidence shows that AR is effective for assisting college students to adapt to competitive and challenging achievement settings.

Design/methodology/approach

This chapter describes the characteristics of AR protocols and details three primary advances in studying AR efficacy in terms of achievement performance, psychosocial outcomes, and processes that mediate AR-performance linkages. The psychological mechanisms that underpin AR effects on motivation and performance are outlined from the perspective of Weiner’s (1974, 1986, 2012) attribution theory.

Findings

Laboratory and field studies show that AR treatments are potent interventions that have short-term and long-lasting psychosocial, motivation, and performance benefits in achievement settings. Students who participate in AR programs are better off than their no-AR counterparts not just in their cognitive and affective prospects, but they also outperform their no-AR peers in class tests, course grades, and grade-point-averages, and are more persistent in terms of course credits and graduation rates.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the emerging literature on treatment interventions in achievement settings by documenting key advances in the development of AR protocols and by identifying the next steps critical to moving the literature forward. Further progress in understanding AR efficacy will rest on examining the analysis of complex attributional thinking, the mediation of AR treatment effects, and the boundary conditions that moderate AR treatment efficacy.

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Purpose

We describe the development and various implementations of a reading comprehension instruction program called Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI). CORI was designed to enhance students’ reading motivation and reading comprehension, and has been implemented at both elementary and middle school, with a particular focus on science information text reading.

Design/methodology/approach

We overview Guthrie and Wigfield’s (2000) reading engagement model, which provides CORI’s theoretical framework. Then we present the major implementation of CORI at elementary school and middle school.

Findings

CORI teachers in elementary school focused on five teaching practices to foster motivation: (1) providing thematic content goals; (2) optimizing choice; (3) hands-on activities connected to reading; (4) providing interesting texts; and (5) fostering collaboration. Teachers also taught six reading strategies recommended by the National Reading Panel. Results of several studies showed that CORI students had higher reading motivation and better reading comprehension than students receiving only strategy instruction or traditional reading instruction. We next describe three implementations of CORI at middle school. The motivational instructional practices at this level included (1) thematic contact goals; (2) emphasizing the importance of reading; (3) showing how reading is relevant to student lives; (4) fostering collaboration; (5) optimizing choice; and (6) enabling success. Results of several studies again documented CORI’s success at boosting students’ motivation and comprehension.

Originality/value

The studies carried out show the success of CORI and the paper closes with suggestions about the next steps for the program.

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Purpose

We review the interventions that promote motivation in academic contexts, with a focus on two primary questions: How can we motivate students to take more STEM courses? Once in those STEM courses, how can we keep students motivated and promote their academic achievement?

Design/methodology/approach

We have approached these two motivational questions from several perspectives, examining the theoretical issues with basic laboratory research, conducting longitudinal questionnaire studies in classrooms, and developing interventions implemented in different STEM contexts. Our research is grounded in three theories that we believe are complementary: expectancy-value theory (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002), interest theory (Hidi & Renninger, 2006), and self-affirmation theory (Steele, 1988). As social psychologists, we have focused on motivational theory and used experimental methods, with an emphasis on values – students’ perceptions of the value of academic tasks and students’ personal values that shape their experiences in academic contexts.

Findings

We review the experimental field studies in high-school science and college psychology classes, in which utility-value interventions promoted interest and performance for high-school students in science classes and for undergraduate students in psychology courses. We also review a randomized intervention in which parents received information about the utility value of math and science for their teens in high school; this intervention led students to take nearly one semester more of science and mathematics, compared with the control group. Finally, we review an experimental study of values affirmation in a college biology course and found that the intervention improved performance and retention for first-generation college students, closing the social-class achievement gap by 50%. We conclude by discussing the mechanisms through which these interventions work.

Originality/value

These interventions are exciting for their broad applicability in improving students’ academic choices and performance, they are also exciting regarding their potential for contributions to basic science. The combination of laboratory experiments and field experiments is advancing our understanding of the motivational principles and almost certainly will continue to do so. At the same time, interventions may benefit from becoming increasingly targeted at specific motivational processes that are effective with particular groups or in particular contexts.

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Purpose

This paper describes studies of the ICAN Intervention and their implications.

Design/methodology/approach

We adapted the ICAN intervention to support the science interest and learning of at-risk, middle-school-age youth, who were participants in entry-level, out-of-school, inquiry-informed, science workshops. The intervention is a brief ungraded writing assignment that is integrated into science activities on a daily basis in order to encourage workshop participants to reflect on science: what participants understand, the skills they have acquired, and what they still want to figure out.

Findings

Findings indicate that the use of the ICAN Intervention in science inquiry supports the development of science interest and science problem solving that is sustained 5 weeks following the workshop. Moreover, participants who write more responses to the ICAN probes are more likely to evidence changes in science learning, regardless of their initial level of interest in science. Participants with less-developed and with more-developed science interest at the beginning of the workshop all progress. The findings further suggest that when the intervention is coupled with an inquiry-informed integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (iSTEM) curriculum, it provides an additional boost for the development of science interest and learning.

Originality/value

The ICAN Intervention as adapted provides a solution to questions raised about whether inquiry-based instruction can promote learning. Our findings indicate that it can. Our findings also demonstrate that when undertaken in a concept and idea-rich environment, the structure of a motivation-based intervention is open-ended enough that all participants will progress, continuing to develop their interest and their learning of disciplinary content.

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Purpose

As educators seek ways to enhance student motivation and improve achievement, promising advances are being made in adaptive approaches to instruction. Learning technologies are emerging that promote a high level of personalization of the learning experience. One type of personalization is context personalization, in which instruction is presented in the context of learners’ individual interests in areas like sports, music, and video games. Personalized contexts may elicit situational interest, which can in turn spur motivational and metacognitive states like positive affect and focused attention. Personalized contexts may also allow for concepts to become grounded in prior knowledge by fostering connections to everyday activity. In this Chapter, we discuss the theoretical, design, and implementation issues to consider when creating interventions that utilize context personalization to enhance motivation.

Design/methodology/approach

First, we provide an overview of context personalization as an instructional principle and outline the emerging evidence that personalization can enhance motivation and improve achievement. We then discuss the theory hypothesized to account for the effectiveness of context personalization and discuss the approaches to personalization interventions. We close by discussing some of the practical issues to consider when bridging the design and implementation of personalization interventions. Throughout the paper, we anchor our discussion to our own research which focuses on the use of context personalization in middle and high school mathematics.

Findings

The theoretical mechanisms through which context personalization enhances learning may include (1) eliciting positive affective reactions to the instruction, (2) fostering feelings of value for the instructional content through connections to valued personal interests, or (3) drawing upon prior funds of knowledge of the topic. We provide hypotheses for the relatedness of context personalization to triggering and maintaining situational interest, and explore potential drawbacks of personalization, considering research on seductive details, desirable difficulties, and authenticity of connections to prior knowledge. We further examine four approaches to personalized learning – “fill-in-the-blank” personalization, matching instruction to individual topic interests, group-level personalization, and utility-value interventions. These approaches vary in terms of the depth of the personalization – whether simple, shallow connections are made to interest topics, or deep, meaningful connections are made to learners’ actual experiences. The consideration of depth also interacts with grain size – whether content is personalized based on the broader interests of a group, or the individual experiences of a particular learner. And finally, personalization interventions can have different levels of ownership – an instructor can generate the personalized connections, the connections can be made by the curriculum designers, or learners can take an active role in personalizing their own learning. Finally, we discuss the practical implementation issues when bringing context personalization interventions into K-12 classrooms. Personalization can be logistically difficult to implement, given that learners hold a diverse array of interests, and may experience each of those interests differently. In addition, particular types of instructional content may show greater sensitivity when personalization is implemented, and personalization may be most helpful for learners with certain background characteristics.

Originality/value

Realizing the promise of personalized learning is an unsolved problem in education whose solution becomes ever more critical as we confront a new digital age. Context personalization has the potential to bring together several well-established strands of research on improving student learning – research on the development of interest, funds of knowledge, and utility value – into one powerful intervention.

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Purpose

Achievement motivation is not a fixed quantity. Rather, it depends, in part, on one’s subjective construal of the learning environment and their place within it – their narrative. In this paper, we describe how brief interventions can maximize student motivation by changing the students’ narratives.

Approach

We review the recent field experiments testing the efficacy of social-psychological interventions in classroom settings. We focus our review on four types of interventions: ones that change students’ interpretations of setbacks, that reframe the learning environment as fair and nonthreatening, that remind students of their personal adequacy, or that clarify students’ purpose for learning.

Findings

Such interventions can have long-lasting benefits if changes in students’ narratives lead to initial achievement gains, which further propagate positive narratives, in a positive feedback loop. Yet social-psychological interventions are not magical panaceas for poor achievement. Rather, they must be targeted to specific populations, timed appropriately, and given in a context in which students have opportunities to act upon the messages they contain.

Originality/value

Social-psychological interventions can help many students realize their achievement potential if they are integrated within a supportive learning context.

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Purpose

People believe that they know who they are and that who they are matters for what they do. These core beliefs seem so inherent to conceptualizations of what it means to have a self as to require no empirical support. After all, what is the point of a concept of self if there is no stable thing to have a concept about and who would care if that concept was stable if it was not useful in making it through the day? Yet the evidence for action-relevance and stability are surprisingly sparse.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper outlines the identity-based motivation theory, a theoretical approach that takes a new look at these assumptions and makes three core predictions as to when an accessible self-concept influences behavior. These are termed “dynamic construction”, “action-readiness”, and “interpretation of difficulty”. That is, rather than being stable, which identities come to mind and what they mean are dynamically constructed in context.

Findings

People interpret situations and difficulties in ways that are congruent with the currently active identities and prefer identity-congruent to identity-incongruent actions. When action feels identity-congruent, experienced difficulty highlights that the behavior is important and meaningful. When action feels identity-incongruent, the same difficulty suggests that the behavior is pointless and “not for people like me.”

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Purpose

Identity exploration is a central mechanism for identity formation that has been found to be associated with intense engagement, positive coping, openness to change, flexible cognition, and meaningful learning. Moreover, identity exploration in school has been associated with adaptive motivation for learning the academic material. Particularly in the fast-changing environment of contemporary society, confidence and skills in identity exploration and self-construction seems to be increasingly important. Therefore, promoting students’ identity exploration in school within the curriculum and in relation to the academic content should be adopted as an important educational goal. The purpose of this paper is to describe a conceptual framework for interventions to promote students’ identity exploration within the curriculum. The framework involves the application of four interrelated principles: (1) promoting self-relevance; (2) triggering exploration; (3) facilitating a sense of safety; and (4) scaffolding exploratory actions.

Approach

We begin the paper with a conceptual review of identity exploration. We follow by specifying the conceptual framework for interventions. We then present a methodological-intervention approach for applying this framework and describe three such interventions in middle-school contexts, in the domains of environmental education, literature, and mathematics.

Findings

In each intervention, applying the principles contributed to students’ adaptive motivation and engagement in the academic material and also contributed to students’ identity exploration, though not among all students. The findings highlight the contextual, dynamic, and indeterminate nature of identity exploration among early adolescents in educational settings, and the utility of the conceptual framework and approach for conceptualizing and intervening to promote identity exploration among students.

Value

This paper contributes to the conceptual understanding of identity exploration in educational settings, highlights the benefits and the challenges in intervening to promote identity exploration among students, and discusses the future directions in theory, research, and practice concerned with the promotion of identity exploration in educational settings.

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Purpose

Our ongoing program of research works with teachers to help them become more autonomy supportive during instruction and hence more able to promote students’ classroom motivation and engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

We have published five experimentally based, longitudinally designed, teacher-focused intervention studies that have tested the effectiveness and educational benefits of an autonomy-supportive intervention program (ASIP).

Findings

Findings show that (1) teachers can learn how to become more autonomy supportive and less controlling toward students, (2) students of the teachers who participate in ASIP report greater psychological need satisfaction and lesser need frustration, (3) these same students report and behaviorally display a wide range of important educational benefits, such as greater classroom engagement, (4) teachers benefit as much from giving autonomy support as their students do from receiving it as teachers show large postintervention gains in outcomes such as teaching efficacy and job satisfaction, and (5) these ASIP-induced benefits are long lasting as teachers use the ASIP experience as a professional developmental opportunity to upgrade the quality of their motivating style.

Originality/value

Our ASIP helps teachers learn how to better support their students’ autonomy during instruction. The value of this teaching skill can be seen in teachers’ and students’ enhanced classroom experience and functioning.

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Purpose

I address the question, Is theory useful when collaborating with teachers to improve student engagement?

Design/methodology

We based our work on four principles of motivation drawn from the research literature: students are more likely to engage in learning if teachers support their perceptions of competence, autonomy, belongingness, and make learning meaningful. To bridge the gap between theory and practice, we suggested that teachers use certain instructional strategies, like open-ended questions, related to supporting student engagement. These strategies were both more complex than the standard practices and more challenging to implement, given the current U.S. emphasis on standardized testing. In two longitudinal studies, we provided rationales for engagement principles and instructional strategies related to student engagement and encouraged teachers to use new practices. Mixed methodology included online observation measures and video of classroom instruction, retrospective interviews with teachers, and student interviews and experience sampling self-reports.

Findings

Short case studies of teachers change illustrate the examples of implementation. In both studies, about half the teachers made significant instructional changes, which were related both to teacher perceptions of student engagement and to student self-reports.

Originality/value

Insights gained from the studies may offer researchers practical information about how to work with teachers to improve engagement in the classroom. They include whether teachers can understand abstract motivation terminology, consider students’ “basic needs” when planning instruction, and implement strategies so that they are likely to support student engagement. Other learnings include the strong impact of teacher culture on change efforts and the need to consider teachers’ “basic needs” if we are to support them in instructional change. Long-term collaboration and establishing mutual trust may be the best way for both researchers and teachers to develop common understandings for supporting student motivation in the classroom.

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Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the emergence of school-based, secular, mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for educators and students that aim to cultivate mindfulness and its putative benefits for teaching, learning, and well-being.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper has four sections: (a) a description of indicators of increased interest in mindfulness generally and in education; (b) substantive and functional definitions of mindfulness; (c) rationales for the potential value of mindfulness for teaching, learning, and well-being; and (d) a review of extant research on MBIs for teachers and students in schools.

Findings

On the basis of this review, it is concluded that school-based MBIs represent a promising emerging approach to enhancing teaching, learning, and well-being in schools; but that more research, with more rigorous study designs and measures, need to be done to establish the scientific validity of the effects of school-based MBIs for teachers and students alike.

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DOI
10.1108/S0749-7423201418
Publication date
2014-11-14
Book series
Advances in Motivation and Achievement
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78350-555-5
Book series ISSN
0749-7423