The P20 Motivation and Learning Lab is co-directed by Dr. Ellen Usher from the University of Kentucky and Meribeth Gaines, principal of Wellington Elementary School in Fayette County, opening Fall 2011. The broad aim of the lab is to examine academic motivation in a variety of contexts and to identify practices that best promote and sustain the motivation students need to acquire skills essential for success and well-being in the 21st century. The lab will address the critical issue of student and teacher motivation, which includes variables such as self-efficacy, achievement goals, interest, engagement, and self-regulation, and achievement outcomes in P20 settings in Kentucky and beyond. The lab will be launched with three initial guiding themes, each of which will apply the use of innovative approaches to the scientific study of motivation in applied classroom settings:
1. A Learner-Centered, Developmental Approach
- The Motivation and Learning Lab will collect data from students and teachers across multiple time points. Longitudinal data collection and analyses will permit us to depict trajectories in motivation across time and to test variables that predict changes in students’ motivation growth or decline.
2. An Approach that Examines Differential Patterns in Motivation for Culturally-Diverse Learners
- Research conducted in the Motivation and Learning Lab will focus on examining differences and similarities in motivational profiles for students and teachers with diverse cultural values and with diverse group memberships.
3. An Approach that Examines the Relationship Among Teacher Beliefs, Practices, and Student Motivation
- The work of the Motivation and Learning Lab will focus on identifying innovative practices that enhance student and teacher motivation, which, in turn, enhance learning. Rather than simply offering a snapshot of the current state of students’ and teachers’ motivation, our work will focus on examining the possible effects on motivation of being a member of a classroom in which innovative or traditional approaches are used.