Mastery Motivational Climates: Motivating Children to Move and Learn in Physical Education Contexts

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Mary E. Rudisill
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For 30 years I have been interested in achievement motivation and factors that influence children’s motivation to move and learn to move. This work has been grounded in achievement goal theory, which explains what motivates individuals by how success is perceived and competence is valued (Nicholls, 1989). According to this theory, behavioral outcomes are related to goal-oriented behaviors described as task (e.g., competence and success are self-referenced) or ego (e.g., competence and success are based on the reference of others). A task-oriented goal perspective has been associated with increased enjoyment and intrinsic motivation inmovement-related activities such as sport and physical activity. Achievement goal theory also proposes that environments can be structured to emphasize factors that determine one’s goal involvement and subsequent cognitions, affect, and behaviors. In this review, I discuss mastery motivational climates and the research we have conducted related to this topic over the years.

Rudisill is a Wayne T. Smith Distinguished Professor and the Director of the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University,Auburn, AL.

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