This book is about educational psychology, not curriculum. But this chapter presents some good examples of how educational psychology interacts with other areas of education, including curriculum.

Simply stated, the curriculum is what students are expected to learn. Perkins (1992, 1993) has pointed out that the motivation of students is often influenced more by what students are expected to study than by the methods teachers employ in delivering the curriculum.

Curriculum designers should take into
consideration such psychological components as the developmental
level of the students and the factors of intrinsic motivation
described in Table 5.1 when they decide what to include in the
curriculum. For example, high school sophomores can become
intrinsically motivated to learn about probability theory, because it
is important to their lives in ways ranging from playing (or
avoiding) state lotteries to understanding AIDS. On the other hand,
sophomores rarely have a driving urge to memorize the theorems of
Euclidean geometry. Curriculum designers, therefore, may consider
allowing sophomores to study probability theory rather than Euclidean
geometry. Likewise, although *The Scarlet Letter *and *Hamlet
*are important parts of our literary heritage, it is possible that
they are developmentally and motivationally inappropriate for most
high school students who are required to read them. Students could
perhaps develop reading and thinking skills more profitably by
focusing on literary works of equally high value that are more
developmentally appropriate and more intrinsically.

The preceding paragraph is not a demand that
schools stop teaching Euclidean geometry or any particular literary
works. It merely suggests that principles of educational psychology
should be taken into consideration when determining *what* to
teach as well as when deciding *how* to teach it. For example,
Euclidean geometry should be taught to sophomores only if there is
evidence that it is a developmentally appropriate subject for
sophomores, that the study of geometry really is an effective way to
learn thinking skills that can be generalized to other parts of the
curriculum, and that students of that age can become intrinsically
motivated to study it.

Perkins (1992) suggests that classroom teachers should occasionally ask themselves what new topic they could teach or what new spin they can give to a current topic in order to offer students more meaningful and motivating learning opportunities.

Although the focus of this chapter has been on motivation at the individual and classroom level, it is important to note that policies initiated at broader administrative levels also influence the motivation and academic performance of students. Administrative policies influence such factors as the ways students are grouped for instruction, the amount of peer interaction that is likely to occur, the motivational value of instructional materials, the emphasis given to normative as opposed to personal goals, the definition of success, and the criteria for recognition. Administrators and committees that determine these policies should be aware of the principles discussed in this chapter and of the impact of these policies on the motivation of individual students (Ames & Archer, 1988; Maehr, 1991; Maehr & Midgley, 1991).

Motivating Through Curriculum

Click on a topic from the following list, or use your web browser to go where you want to go:

Introduction

Motivation

Intrinsic
Motivation

Challenge

Curiosity

Control

Fantasy

Interpersonal
Motivation

Summary of Intrinsic
Motivation

Motivating Through Curriculum
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Reinforcement and
Punishment

Affective Aspects of
Motivation

Physiological
Aspects of Motivation

Cognitive Aspects of
Motivation

Needs and Motivation

Self-Efficacy

Attribution
Theory

Development and
Motivation

Motivation as a
Personality Characteristic

Teacher
Expectancy

Social Aspects of
Motivation: Classroom Structure

What Teachers Can Do
About Motivation

What Parents Can Do
About Motivation

What Students Can Do
About Motivation

Chapter Summary

Annotated
Bibliography

Footnotes

Answers to Quizzes