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At the center of most contemporary theories of motivation are assumptions that people act in certain ways based on beliefs about what they want to do, how important it is to do it, how capable they are of doing it, and why they might succeed or fail at it. These beliefs determine the choice and direction of actions, along with levels of effort, intensity, and persistence. Within the realm of education, discussions of these interrelated beliefs have been central to understanding why students engage or fail to engage in the academic and social activities of the classroom. This entry provides a general overview of current perspectives on motivation, followed by more focused discussions of motivation-related constructs.

Perspectives on Motivation

There are few “grand theories” of motivation ...

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