Making the Grade

Making the Grade : A Self-Worth Perspective on Motivation and School Reform

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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 more

Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 11 b/w illus. 4 tables
  • 1139173588
  • 9781139173582

Review quote

'This is a worthy book which revivifies one of the most tired topics in educational psychology. On its first page, Peter Drucker is quoted thus: 'We know nothing about motivation. All we do is write books about it.' On reaching its final page this has been totally contradicted: by reading this book you will know a good deal about motivation particularly as an antidote for learners in cynical modern educational contexts. With Covington motivation is always a fresh topic.' Tom Phillips, Vocational Aspect of Education 'The book is very readable, insightful, and sensible. It offers a framework for curriculum planning, raises questions concerning what should be the goals of education, and suggests some meaningful ways schools can prepare students for the future.' Educational Researcher 'An extensive and thoughtful conversation about achievement behaviour (motivation). It is a book that is hard to put down if one is seriously inquiring into the topic.' Choiceshow more

Table of contents

Part I. The Future and its Discontents: Prospects for building the future; The failure to learn: A motivational analysis; A moral tale; Part II. Motives as Emotions: Need achievement; The model: B = M x P x I; Analysis and critique; Further educational implications; Part III. Motives as thoughts: Cognitions versus emotions; Analysis and critique; Educational implications; Conclusions; Part IV. Self-Worth and the Fear of Failure: Self-worth theory of achievement motivation; An arsenal of excuses; Motivated cognitions and coping; Conclusions; Part V. Achievement Anxiety: A brief history; Integration; Reducing anxiety; Conclusions; Part VI. The Competitive Learning Game: The structure of learning; Scarcity of rewards; Competition and minorities; Conclusions; Part VII. Motivational Equity and the Will to Learn: The problem; Solutions; Global gambit; Conclusions; Part VIII. Strategic Thinking and the Will to Learn: What is thinking?; The evidence; Strategic problems; Problem discovery; The transfer of knowledge; Analysis and conclusions; Part IX. An Immodest Proposal: Serious games; Playing school; Schools and jobs; Prospects and conclusions; Part X. Obstacles to Change: The myths of competition; If not competition, then what?; Conclusions; Appendices; References; more

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