Teacher Influences on the Development of Students’ Personal Interest in Academic Domains

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As the above quote from the authors of the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives handbook on the affective domain indicates, learners’ development of interest in particular academic domains has long been viewed as a possible and desirable outcome of their instructional experiences. Our chapter aims to present an overview of what theory suggests and research has shown about when, how, and for whom this is likely to come about. Our discussion focuses on aspects of the instructional context that reflect or respond to teacher influence in K-12 classroom situations. The empirical research reviewed addresses the academic domains of mathematics, science, social studies/history, and reading. Studies included address teacher-relevant influence on multiple possible forms of interest, including longer-term interest in the topic or domain as well as more immediate responses to the learning situation or task. Our discussion proceeds by investigating the following questions in turn: What is interest? Why is it important for educational researchers, practitioners, and policymakers? How does it develop? How might teachers influence its development? What does the research show about teacher influence? What issues, questions, and implications for practice are suggested by this research?

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Handbook of Social Influences in School Contexts: Social-Emotional, Motivation, and Cognitive Outcomes

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