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Honouring the differences: a re-examination of academic motivation with reference to student gender

Mansfield, C. and Vallance, R. (2009) Honouring the differences: a re-examination of academic motivation with reference to student gender. In: Elsworth, D.H., (ed.) Motivation in Education. Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp. 49-70.


This article will survey the current understanding of learning motivation with particular reference to the educational provision of secondary aged (12 to 17 years old) students. It will be demonstrated that the majority of empirical studies on which this theoretical framework is based have used co-educational samples. At the same time these studies have considered adolescent academic motivation to be a theoretical construct not differentiated by gender. The common expenence of many teachers suggests that the academic motivation of adolescent boys and girls has a gender component. The shared 30 years of secondary high school teaching of the authors grounds this essay in exploring the gendered aspects of motivation. The outcomes of an intensive case study of a boys’ secondary school will be used to explore how the motivation of boys does not fit the co-educationally derived theory. The authors offer guidelines for the unproved practice of boys education with respect to academic motivation and suggestions for further research to explore the gender differences in learning motivation of adolescents. This chapter will draw on the authors teaching experience, offer data from boys’ classes and a boys’ school, explore the theory of academic motivation as it is currently constructed, and based on current school experience in boys education offer suggestions for progress for both practitioners and researchers.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers
Copyright: (c) Nova Science Publishers
Publisher's Website:
Notes: This article is a reprint of an earlier book chapter
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