The role of context in students' perceptions of motivational change

Year: 1994

Author: MacCallum, Judith

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Nicholls (1989) has identified three different types of motivational orientations towards learning characterising different personal goals: task orientation, ego orientation and avoidance of work. Each motivational orientation forms the basis of students' differing theories of success.

Ten students, considered to be motivationally "at-risk" on the basis of their motivational orientations, were interviewed before and after the transition from primary school to high school. The students were part of a larger study examining students' theories of success in mathematics and English. This paper presents the students' critiques of school (after Thorkildsen and Nicholls, 1991) and their perceptions of the changes necessary within themselves and the school environment for motivational change to occur.