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PLCF乡村少儿阅读推广志愿者培训材料-英文版
【第一部分 学生在校学习的兴趣逐年递减】

The Decline of Academic Motivation during the Elementary Years

Humans are born intrinsically motivated to learn and improve their performances. This is transparent to anyone who has watched a child trying to learn to walk. Indeed, developmental psychologists have made a good case that young children have great motivation to explore their world and that such exploration is important in stimulating mental and physical development (White, 1959).

Despite a motivated start on life, motivation often declines during the elementary years (Eccles, 1993; Eccles & Midgley, 1989; Harter, 1990; Meece & Miller, 1999, 2001; Stipek & Mac Iver, 1989). As children proceed through elementary school, they generally value school less; they are less interested in school and what is studied in school (e.g., Eccles & Midgley, 1989; Eccles et al., 1989; Meece & Miller, 1999, 2001; Wigfield, 1994; Wigfield & Eccles, 1992; Wigfield, Eccles, Mac Iver, Reuman, and Midgley, 1991).

Academically, kindergarten and grade-1 children believe they can do anything. If you ask them whether they are going to learn to read, they are certain of it (e.g., Entwisle & Hayduk, 1978). Moreover, even after failure, they remain confident that next time they will do better (Clifford, 1975, 1978, 1984; Parsons & Ruble, 1977; Phillips, 1963; Pressley & Ghatala, 1989; Stipek & Hoffman, 1980). Although grade-1 students who experience difficulties in learning to read generally understand that it is a difficult task, confidence in their competence to read remains high (J. W. Chapman & Tunmer, 1995). In contrast, students in grades 5 and 6 are much less confident that they will meet teacher and parent expectations with respect to academic achievement. They are much more aware of their failures than their successes (Kloosterman, 1988). Students in grades 5 and 6 often believe they are doing worse than they are (e.g., Juvonen, 1988). The weaker the student, the more pessimistic the self-appraisal and the less enthused the student is about academic activities (e.g., Renick & Harter, 1989).

Georgia Southern University professor Michael C. McKenna and his associates (McKenna, Ellsworth, & Kear, 1995) have most clearly documented the declines in student attitudes about reading. They surveyed more than 17,000 elementary students in grades 1 through 6 from across the United States. The survey contained 10 questions assessing how students felt about reading as a recreational activity (e.g., “How do you feel about spending free time reading?”; “How do you feel about going to a bookstore?”). It also included 10 questions assessing students’ academic attitudes about reading (e.g., “How do you feel about reading your school books?”; “How do you feel when it is time for reading class?”). The students provided a rating for each question on a 1 (very negative) to 4 (very positive) scales.

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