Taking Action Against The Achievement Gap By Making Meaning Of Motivation

Overview

As a middle school principal, I was interested in adolescents' motivation for learning. With a Latino population of over 50% at my school, I was profoundly concerned about the achievement gap that exists for Latino students. I wondered how research on motivation might be applied to close the gap. Literature on motivation, brain development, cultural and other studies indicate a connection between identity and academic success: when schools are more responsive to students' cultures and experiences, students are ...
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Overview

As a middle school principal, I was interested in adolescents' motivation for learning. With a Latino population of over 50% at my school, I was profoundly concerned about the achievement gap that exists for Latino students. I wondered how research on motivation might be applied to close the gap. Literature on motivation, brain development, cultural and other studies indicate a connection between identity and academic success: when schools are more responsive to students' cultures and experiences, students are more responsive to learning. While a sound sense of self and belonging is important for all, it is especially prevalent for students of color who sometimes struggle to incorporate their cultural identity into what is largely a White, middle-class-driven, public school system (Daniel Tatum, 1997). What can schools serving Latino adolescents do to influence them towards a self-perception that includes academic achievement? Conversely, what obstacles do schools unwittingly create that disenfranchise these students from learning? The enthnographic nature of these questions led me to an action research approach that included the students as a primary source of information. I formed a student "motivation" club of Latino adolescents who had an apparent lack of motivation for school as demonstrated by low grades and referrals to study hall. I developed a two-pronged inquiry design: the students would learn principles of motivation that might increase Latino achievement at their school, while I would become a pupil of the experts on student motivation for learning - the students themselves. For this project, I used an inquiry approach to learn about motivation for academic success from the students, and to develop tools to teach them principles of motivation. To document my capstone work, I provide: (1) informing literature; (2) an original conceptual model of the student club; (3) examples of the inquiry design; (4) insights about the project; (4) insights from the project; (5) implications for educational leaders. The project is informed by seminal research on motivation. It provided direction for my conceptual model, and informed my analysis of the aspects of the project that I piloted.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243588210
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/3/2011
  • Pages: 164
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.35 (d)

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