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18. Motivation and Classroom Management

Richard Ryan and Martin Lynch

Subject Philosophy

Key-Topics education, learning

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405140515.2005.00021.x


Educational philosophies of motivation and classroom management have never been more polarized than they are today. With respect to learning, policy-makers advocate the use of rewards and sanctions, teacher-centered instruction, and “high stakes” evaluations to induce teacher “accountability” and raise student achievement. What is assumed is that students are motivated to pay attention and study by the social and economic value of a high school diploma and admission to college, and that the requirements for promotion and graduation can be manipulated to control what and how much students will study and learn. Opposing them are educators emphasizing student-centered instruction, personalized teaching, “constructivism,” and “authentic” assessments. What is assumed by this group is that children are inherently motivated to learn and that the primary motivational task of educators is to rely on, nurture, and not extinguish that inherent motivation. Debates over student discipline and classroom management are similarly divided between advocates of more emphasis on discipline, “zero tolerance” of student infractions, and harsher penalties, and on the other side philosophers and psychologists who argue that a student's acceptance of norms and expectations begins in care, attachment, and an appreciation of the reasons that make those norms and expectations legitimate. While many may think ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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