• helps learners develop feelings of control and autonomy;

• fosters interest and develops beliefs about the value of literacy tasks;

• helps learners monitor their progress and regulate their behavior toward attaining their goals;

• teaches students to attribute successes and failures to their own effort rather than unchangeable aptitudes;

• provides learners with opportunities for success while providing optimal challenges to develop proficiencies;

• fosters social relationships and interactions known to affect learning;

• uses classroom structures and selects texts that can counter any past negative experiences with schooling;

• removes barriers to participation and practice so that learners have the motivating experience of making progress; and

• gives learners access to knowledgeable and skilled teachers and appropriately designed materials.

Because the motivation to engage in extensive practice is so important for developing literacy, a separate companion booklet, Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning and Motivation, explores this topic in greater depth.

Priorities for Research on Motivation and Persistence

Studies of motivation and persistence have not usually included adolescents and adults who need to develop their literacy. Research that involves those who design, teach, and participate in adult literacy instruction is needed in several areas to:

• identify instructional approaches that promote engagement and persistence with learning for low literacy adults;

• develop measures to assess learners’motivation, which will allow researchers to test hypotheses about how to motivate persistence;

• identify ways to support persistence depending on the factors affecting the learner’s engagement, which may include issues related to work, family, health, age, and culture;

• examine how the various components of motivation relate to one another to affect persistence in the context of adult instruction;

• assess how the texts and tasks made available to adult literacy learners affect their motivation to persist;

• identify group differences and similarities in the factors that influence motivation to persist;

• identify technologies that motivate persistence and the best ways to introduce them and support their use;

• understand the conditions and incentives that motivate learners to enroll and persist in literacy courses; and

• develop and implement support systems for motivating persistence, and evaluate their effectiveness.

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