Cover image for Engaging minds : motivation and learning in America's schools
Engaging minds : motivation and learning in America's schools
Goslin, David A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
ix, 201 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
"A ScarecrowEducation book."
Engagement, a necessary condition for learning -- Effort versus ability : a matter of expectations -- Rewards for effort -- Organizing effort : increasing the efficiency of learning -- Valuing effort : social and cultural influences on academic motivation -- Competition for effort : academic versus other goals -- Engaging more minds : increasing motivation and learning in school.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LB1065 .G67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Provides a framework for thinking about what can be done to increase student engagement in learning.

Author Notes

David A. Goslin is past president and CEO of the American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences (AIR) and former executive Director of the National Research Council's Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (CBASSE). A sociologist, he is the author or editor of four books: The Search for Ability: Standardized Testing in Social Perspective; Teachers and Testing; The School in Contemporary Society; and The Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Why is it that so many teenagers would prefer to do anything rather than their homework? Educational researcher Goslin examines the forces that keep students from taking an interest in their studies, and, thus, from achieving academic success, in this in-depth but somewhat outdated analysis. According to the author, the main factors working against students' engagement are poorly structured school systems, cultural beliefs that elevate other activities (such as music, sports and dating) over scholastic success, variations in national curricula, poverty and absentee parenting. Goslin argues against state and local control of schools, and for a centralized, national curriculum. Teachers, he believes, should not be left to plan their lessons alone. Goslin also contends that the current trend against extrinsic rewards-such as praise and money-denies the strong motivation such rewards can give children. But the biggest challenge schools face, he says, is finding a way to reconcile our contradictory beliefs about the importance of "innate talent" and of hard work. Ultimately, however, the book is hampered by its lack of fresh evidence-Goslin's arguments rely heavily upon comparisons between schools in the U.S. and those in Japan and China. One frequently cited study is over 10 years old. And, though most teachers would agree with his repeated assertions that American students spend too much time watching TV, his belief that the "development of social skills and relationships" can pose an obstacle to academic success may strike many as misguided. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Goslin was formerly the president and CEO of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in the behavioral sciences and executive director of the National Research Council's Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (CBASSE). The central message of his important study is that motivation and engagement in the learning process are key to academic achievement. Contending that lack of student engagement is the central obstruction to real learning, Gosling provides here a concrete and readable guide to understanding the forces shaping students' motivation, ultimately stressing that it really stems from hard work. Drawing heavily on current research, the author backs up his arguments with ample examples and offers commonsense suggestions on how to improve current practices in order to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education in the United States. Thoughtful, timely, and compelling, this study will serve as a great reference for further research in the field and is recommended not only for educators but for parents and teachers as well.-Samuel T. Huang, Univ. of Arizona Lib., Tucson (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.