Beyond Cold Conceptual Change: Th...
Beyond Cold Conceptual Change: The Role of Motivational Beliefs and Classroom Contextual Factors in the Process of Conceptual Change Paul R. Pintrich Ronald W. Marx Robert A. Boyle Review of Educational Research, Vol. 63, No. 2. (Summer, 1993), pp. 167-199. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0034-6543%28199322%2963%3A2%3C167%3ABCCCTR%3E2.0.CO%3B2-1 Review of Educational Research is currently published by American Educational Research Association. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/about/terms.html. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/journals/aera.html. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. The JSTOR Archive is a trusted digital repository providing for long-term preservation and access to leading academic journals and scholarly literature from around the world. The Archive is supported by libraries, scholarly societies, publishers, and foundations. It is an initiative of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in technology. For more information regarding JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. http://www.jstor.org Fri Nov 16 18:13:31 2007
Review of Educational Research Summer 1993, Vol. 63, No. 2, pp. 167-199 Beyond Cold Conceptual Change: The Role of Motivational Beliefs and Classroom Contextual Factors in the Process of Conceptual Change Paul R. Pintrich, Ronald W. Marx, and Robert A. Boyle The University of Michigan Conceptual change models of student learning are useful for explicating the role of prior knowledge in students' learning and are very popular in the research on learning in the subject areas. This article presents an analysis of a conceptual change model for describing student learning by applying re- search on student motivation to the process of conceptual change. Four general motivational constructs (goals, values, self-efficacy, and control beliefs) are suggested as potential mediators of the process of conceptual change. In addition, there is a discussion of the role of classroom contextual factors as moderators of the relations between student motivation and concep- tual change. The article highlights the theoretical difficulties of a cold, or overly rational, model of conceptual change that focuses only on student cognition without considering the ways in which students' motivational be- liefs about themselves as learners and the roles of individuals in a classroom learning community can facilitate or hinder conceptual change. Research on student cognition has demonstrated that students' prior concep- tual knowledge influences all aspects of students' processing of information from their perception of the cues in the environment, to their selective attention to these cues, to their encoding and levels of processing of the information, to their search for retrieval of information and comprehension, to their thinking and problem solving (Alexander &Judy, 1988 Alexander, Schallert, & Hare, 1991 Pintrich, Cross, Kozma, & McKeachie, 1986 Winne & Marx, 1989). These cognitive models are relevant and useful for conceptualizing student learning, but their reliance on a model of academic learning as cold and isolated cognition (Brown, Bransford, Ferrara, & Campione, 1983) may not adequately describe learning in the classroom context. In particular, cognition-only models of student learning do not adequately explain why students who seem to have the requisite prior conceptual knowledge do not activate this knowledge for many school tasks, let alone out-of-school tasks. In this article, we will discuss both individual A portion of this manuscript was presented in a symposium entitled "Beyond Prior Knowledge: Issues in Comprehension, Learning, and Conceptual Change" at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, April 1992. Special thanks to our colleagues, Phyllis Blumenfeld, Karen Wixson, Marty Maehr, and Phil Winne, for their thoughtful and incisive comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. In addition, we thank four anonymous reviewers for their comments, which were very helpful in revising the manuscript for publication.
Pintrich, Marx, and Boyle differences in motivational beliefs as well as classroom contextual factors that may contribute to this problem. The failure to activate or transfer appropriate knowledge can be attributed to purely cognitive factors including automatization, encoding, and metacognitive and self-regulatory processes (Schneider & Pressley, 1989), but it is likely that motivational and contextual factors also play a role (Garner, 1990). Models that focus only on cognition tend to avoid including constructs such as an individual's goals, intentions, purposes, expectations, or needs (Pintrich, 1990 Searle, 1992). This cognition-only strategy is useful for investigating the general cogni- tive competence of compliant subjects in an experimental setting where they are provided with a relatively clearly defined problem or task, but the model loses some utility when applied to students' actual cognitive engagement in classroom academic tasks. Students can and do adopt different goals and purposes for their school work, and becoming cognitively engaged in the myriad of classroom academic tasks is really a choice they can make for themselves. In addition, their level of engagement and willingness to persist at the task may be a function of motivational beliefs (Pintrich & De Groot, 1990a, 1990b Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992). These three aspects of an individual's behavior-hoice of a task, level of engagement or activity in the task, and willingness to persist at the task-are the three traditional behavioral indicators of motivation. Almost all motivational research has been directed at explaining these three aspects of behavior and has invoked a number of motivational constructs as precursors of motivated behav- ior. Given general cognitive models that assume an active learner who selectively attends to information, activates prior conceptual knowledge, and monitors comprehension, then cognitive engagement in academic tasks may be a good representative of motivated behavior. However, there has been little research or theory development that attempts to link motivation and cognition (Winne & Marx, 1989). Accordingly, it seems important to begin to build the connections between the motivational and cognitive components of student learning. Besides the intraindividual links between motivational and cognitive compo- nents of learning, the actual classroom context may influence students' motiva- tion and cognition and, most importantly, interaction between these two con- structs. or examule. the tasks that students confront in a classroom are often not as structured con'ceptually or procedurally as they might be in the experimental setting of a psychology laboratory (Blumenfeld, Mergendoller, & Swarthout, 1987 Blumenfeld, Pintrich, Meece, & Wessels, 1982 Doyle, 1983). Given that these classroom tasks are often not clearly defined, students must often define the tasks for themselves, providing their own goals and structure. Students may not perceive the tasks in the sameway that teachers do and may not understand what cognitive resources are appropriate for different tasks (Marx & Walsh, 1988 Newman, Griffin, & Cole, 1989 Winne & Marx, 1982). At the same time, other classroom tasks (e.g., drill and practice worksheets) may be so overstruc- tured and repetitive that very little cognitive engagement is required for satisfac- tory performance (Doyle, 1983). In addition, the overall classroom structure and organization can influence students' perceptions of what is considered learning as well as their actual cognitive engagement (Stodolsky, 1988). However, this contextual analysis still leaves a role for the active individual. As Lave (1989)
Conceptual Change and Motivation points out, in many contexts, not just schools and classrooms, individuals often have to make choices about whether they have a problem or not, then make choices about the specification of what constitutes the problem, and finally decide how they will go about solving it in that context. Again, given that this is a choice that individuals make, motivational constructs such as goals and agency beliefs can play a role in helping describe the factors that influence individuals' ability to recognize a problem, define it, and attempt to solve it. The purpose of this article is to present a conceptual analysis of the relations between motivational factors and student cognition as well as an analysis of classroom contextual factors that may condition the relations between student motivation and cognition. There are many models of student cognition derived from a variety of theoretical perspectives, but we focus on a model of conceptual change that is important for describing how students' prior knowledge may facilitate or impede actual learning. Of course, there are other perspectives on knowledge change and development, such as nativist views on the origins of knowledge (e.g., Spelke, Breinlinger, Macomber, & Jacobson, 1992) and net- work models basedon associationism and connectionism (e.g., Singley & Ander- son, 1989), but we focus on conceptual change because of its relevance to conceptual understanding in schools (Gardner, 1991). In addition, conceptual change models have become very popular and useful in research on learning in the subject areas (science, mathematics, social studies e.g., West & pines, 1985). At the same time, in contrast to work on students' cognitive learning strategies which has examined the role of motivational beliefs (see Pintrich & De Groot. 1990a. 1990b: Pintrich & Schrauben. 1992). research on students' ,, conceptual change has never explicitly examined the role of an individual's motivational beliefs. Accordingly, the purpose of this article is not to present a comprehensive review of the research, given that there is virtually none on motivation and conceptual change, but rather to develop an argument for the importance of examining motivational beliefs as mediators and classroom con- texts as moderators of conceptual change. As part of this argument, we suggest a conceptual framework for future research in this area that includes the interac- tions between cognitive and motivational constructs as well as classroom factors. We begin with a brief examination of the general conceptual change model as it might be amenable to a motivational analysis, then discuss how different motiva- tional beliefs and classroom contexts may facilitate or impede conceptual change, and suggest directions for future research. Definition and Description of Conceptual Change The conceptual change model of learning has been thoroughly described by Posner and his colleagues (Hewson & Hewson, 1984 Posner, Strike, Hewson, & Gertzog, 1982 Strike & Posner, 1985 Strike & Posner, 1992). Conceptual change models generally rely on an organismic metatheoretical position (Pepper, 1942) and are similar in many ways to Piagetian theory, although conceptual change models take a more domain-specific view of individuals' conceptions or schemata in contrast to the more global, formal structures and operations of Piaget. This standard individual conceptual change model assumes that onto- genetic change in an individual's learning is analogous to the nature of change in scientific paradigms that is proposed by philosophers of science. There are,
Pintrich, Marx, and Boyle however, disagreements between philosophers, historians, and sociologists of science about the nature of change in scientific paradigms. It is beyond the scope of this article to address all the issues related to these disagreements, but there are two issues that are relevant to the argument of this article. First, there is disagreement about the nature of scientists' judgments and evaluations of differing paradigms along a continuum from rational (being driven solely by logic and scientific findings, a cold model) to irrational (being driven by personal interests, motivation, and sociaVhistorica1 processes, a hot model, often described as a naturalist position Giere, 1988). Second, there is disagree- ment over whether the actual content of scientific theories or just the process of doing scientific research (including developing new ideas and theories) can best be described as rational or irrational. Ever since Kuhn (1962), there has been some agreement that the process of scientific research is influenced by psycho- logical, sociological, and historical factors, but, more recently, sociologists of science, particularly the social constructivists (e.g., Knorr-Cetina, 1981 Latour, 1987) have argued that the actual substantive content of scientific models and theories is influenced by these irrational factors (Cole, 1992). In contrast, other philosophers of science (e.g., Thagard, 1992) and sociologists of science (e.g., Cole, 1992) counter that, while the process of scientific research may be influ- enced by these irrational factors, the ultimate acceptance of substantive content, in particular the core knowledge in an area, is determined by empirical and logical factors. In terms of mapping these different positions onto individual conceptual change, we take the constructivist position that the process of conceptual change is influenced by personal, motivational, social, and historical processes, thereby advocating a hot model of individual conceptual change. At the same time, while we accept the position that within natural scientific communities the actual substantive content of theories that is accepted as core knowledge is often determined by logical and empirical factors (Cole, 1992 Thagard, 1992), we believe that, in terms of individual conceptual change in the classroom, the classroom community does not generally operate in the same fashion as the scientific community. Accordingly, we believe that the actual content of stu- dents' theories and models is influenced by personal, motivational, social, and historical factors, as shown by the existence and persistence of students' miscon- ceptions in science. These assumptions underlie our analysis of how students' motivational beliefs and the classroom context influence the process of individ- ual conceptual change. We begin our analysis with a brief description of the traditional model of individual conceptual change. Basically, the standard individual conceptual change model describes learning as the interaction that takes place between an individual's experiences and his or her current conceptions and ideas. These conceptions create a framework for understanding and interpreting information gathered through experience. Cur- rent conceptions held by the learner can result in problems resulting from discrepancies between experience and current beliefs, but current conceptions also provide a framework for judging the validity and adequacy of solutions to these problems. Thus, a paradox exists for the learner on the one hand, current conceptions potentially constitute momentum that resists conceptual change, but they also provide frameworks that the learner can use to interpret and understand new, potentially conflicting information.