(Free Sample) Motivational Processes Affecting Learning

Review by: William A. Harper
By Carol S. Dweck

The Big Idea

A good number of years ago the American educator and philosopher, John Dewey, wrote a little, sticky sentence when talking about learning.  It was this sentence: “We must have lions in our path.”  In a general sense, Carol Dweck’s literature research review turns nicely on exactly that sentence.  Dewey was arguing that progressive human development depended upon facing challenges.  How we respond to those challenges largely defines the extent to which we become all that we can be.

Dweck’s subject is motivation.  Even though this review paper focuses primarily on children in the classroom, the subject of motivation is not so easily confined.  What we have here is a really useful distinction between two patterns of response to challenges.  The lesson reaches from the classroom to the pitch.  Of the two motivational processes affecting learning of all kinds, one is healthier (better adapting) than the other.  Knowing the differences between these two patterns of motivation will be a useful diagnostic to help the coach help the players help themselves help to grow.