Making the Grade: A Self-Worth Perspective on Motivation and School Reform
Achievement behaviour in schools can best be understood in terms of attempts by students to maintain a positive self-image. For many students, trying hard is frightening because a combination of effort and failure implies low ability, which is often equated with worthlessness. Thus many students described as unmotivated are in actuality highly motivated - not to learn, but to avoid failure. Students have a variety of techniques for avoiding failure, ranging from cheating to setting low goals which are easily achieved. In Making the Grade, Martin Covington extracts powerful educational implications from self-worth theory and other contemporary views of motivation that will be useful for everyone concerned with the educational dilemmas we face. He provides a comprehensive, insightful review of research and theory, both contemporary and historical, on the topic of achievement motivation, and arranges this knowledge in ways that lead to imminently practical recommendations for restructuring schools.
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