Rethinking Locus of Agency in the At-Risk Condition.Report as inadecuate

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The goal of this paper is to articulate a theoretical basis for work with at-risk students and to provide a foundation for new methods for teachers who will be working with this population. The topic is narrowed to concerns related to academic achievement. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that external conditions are major antecedent settings for the at-risk condition. However, rather than focus on external factors, intrinsic factors that influence students' attribution toward learning in spite of context are examined. Learning approaches that strengthen academic self-efficacy, improve self-concept, and help students move toward a more internal locus of control provide a better platform for individuals to make lasting changes in their beliefs about learning. Moving responsibility back to students allows them to gain control over their learning and reinforces antecedents of personal agency. Learning requires a dynamic tension between conflicting ideas, yet in classrooms where the emphasis is entirely on objective meaning, students are not encouraged to relate their personal subjective understandings. Human agency and motivation, psychological constructs, cognitive theories, traditional origins of agency, and student centered leaders are examined. Contains 25 references. (JBJ)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Achievement Need, At Risk Persons, Elementary Secondary Education, High Risk Students, Learning Motivation, Locus of Control, Opinion Papers, Self Motivation, Student Motivation

Author: Higgs, Graham E.


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