Essay on Interaction of Epistemological Beliefs and Motivation

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Interaction of Epistemological Beliefs and Motivation

There are reasons to think that a student’s motivation to learn will influence his or her epistemological beliefs and these beliefs will also affect said motivation. Before proceeding to look at these possible interactions we should look at contemporary theories of motivation and theories about students' beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Unfortunately there is still no broad consensus about either topic so we shall look at the prominent theories of today. First we will glance at five theories of motivation, then peek at six theories about student epistemological beliefs, and proceed with a discussion of how motivation to learn can alter one’s epistemological beliefs
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A see the cause for some outcome to be internal or external to him- herself, judge the outcome as stable or unstable over time, and finally see it as controllable or uncontrollable. When a cause is seen as internal, stable, and controllable, motivation is at its highest. A move away from this position will undermine student’s motivation. Social Cognitive Theory’s key construct is self-efficacy, the beliefs about capabilities to learn or perform actions at designated levels [Schunk & Zimmerman 356]. “Self-efficacy is a stronger and more consistent predictor of motivation and performance than are general constructs (e.g., self-concept)” [Schunk & Zimmerman 357]. Achievement Goal Theory or Goal Orientation Theory conceptualizes two types of goals: mastery goals (associated with acquisition of knowledge or skills to improve over self) and performance goals (usually a desire to display competence by besting others). Theorists further break each goal into two possible dimensions: approach (working towards the goal) and avoid (disengaging and preventing failure). A student may have aspects of both motivations at play, but mastery-approach has been shown to be most beneficial for a student with respect to knowledge acquisition and higher grades. [REF?] A related component advanced by Dweck (1999) is a student’s theory of intelligence. The Entity Theory is that intelligence is rather fixed while the

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