motivation and context

From: Ares, Nancy (
Date: Tue Feb 03 2004 - 06:57:20 PST

The literature on goal theory seems to be making some moves toward
enlarging the notion of context and the relationships between individuals
and social, structural (in a limited sense) interactions. However,
to qualify as sociocultural or CHAT, I would think that they would have
to acknowledge and pay real attention to history and culture much more
explicitly. The work that Julie referred to below reminds me of Lave's
notion of "cognition plus", where the focus is still highly individual, with
a little nod to local (very local) context. Even the concepts of task
structure that can be found in some motivation research (e.g., Ryan and
Deci) are limited in their purview. I do think that a sociocultural
could enrich motivation research immensely to add in attention to cultural
practices (both school culture and communities' and groups' cultures),
norms that vary across and within groups, the intersections of those norms
and practices in heterogeneous classrooms, etc. Along with those issues,
structural and historical features of schooling could also be attended to
to take a truly multidimensional look at motivation. Without enlarging
the concept of context, which could be informed in important ways by
sociocultural and CHAT frameworks, the field of motivation will likely (in
my humble opinion) continue to struggle to make headway...

Nancy Ares

>From Mon Feb 2 19:54:40 2004
I've recently come across a piece that takes an at least somewhat
socio-cultural perspective in considering school environments and
students' previous experiences in their goal pursuit:
Linnenbrink, E. A., & Pintrich, P. R. (2002). Achievement Goal Theory
and Affect: An Asymmetrical Bidirectional Model. Educational
Psychologist, 37(2), 60-78.

Even though the title does not suggest it, the authors suggest -
within an achievement goal theoretical framework - that the
perception of "surrounding" learning contexts by students critically
influences students' achievement goal motivation. Differences in
students' goal orientations are seen to be a function of differences
in classroom contexts, which include both instructional practices of
teachers and the general school climate.


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