When Students Do Not Feel Motivated for Literacy Learning: How a Responsive Classroom Culture Helps
AUTHOR: Penny Oldfather
INSTITUTION: University of Georgia
ABSTRACT: Teachers' responsiveness to and empathic understanding of students' perceptions when they are not motivated are critical in a) promoting students' ownership of the literacy learning agenda; b) in helping students with their motivational difficulties; and c) in establishing classrooms that focus on the enhancement of caring. This report of an interpretive study, conducted in a 5th/6th-grade whole language classroom, provides insights about students' thoughts, feelings, and actions when not motivated for literacy tasks, and examines students' subjective experiences in three different motivational situations. The study offers clues about the affective and cognitive processes that enable some students to become engaged in literacy activities and prevent others from beginning them. It argues that a responsive classroom culture that honors students' voices may enhance students' ownership of literacy learning and alleviate feelings of anger, anxiety, alienation, and powerlessness.
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