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Title:Motivating Children to Learn: The Role of Mothers' Beliefs About Ability and Effort
Author(s):Dreves, Candice Michele
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jasna Jovanovic
Department / Program:Human Resources and Family Studies
Discipline:Human Resources and Family Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Abstract:An important component of children's motivation to learn is their beliefs about ability and effort in their school performance. Research indicates that children who hold the belief that hard work will increase knowledge and lead to successful outcomes in school tend to be motivated to learn, whereas children who emphasize the importance of their ability tend to be less motivated. Despite the importance of children's beliefs about ability and effort, no research has examined how these beliefs may be socialized. It has been suggested, however, that parents' own beliefs about ability and effort may play a key role. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to examine the process by which mothers' own beliefs about ability and effort are communicated to their children and, in turn, impact children's beliefs. The participants included 113 mothers and their fourth- and seventh-grade children (50% female, 49% fourth-grade). Several self-report measures were used to assess mothers' and their children's beliefs about ability and effort, as well as children's motivation to learn in school. To assess the ways in which mothers' beliefs may be communicated to their children, both mothers and their children participated in brief daily structured interviews conducted over the telephone. For five days, each mother-child pair was asked to report on the frequency in which the mother used particular parenting practices (i.e., evaluative feedback, teaching strategies, and involvement). Results indicated that, in some cases, mothers' beliefs regarding ability and effort were associated with the frequency in which they gave their children evaluative feedback. However, evaluative feedback was associated with children's own beliefs about ability and effort only when children perceived the feedback to be salient. Moreover, even though mothers' teaching strategies and involvement were not related to mothers' beliefs, these parenting practices were associated with the importance children placed on the role of ability and effort in their school performance. Implications of these results will be discussed.
Issue Date:2000
Description:169 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9989984
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2000

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