Does one size fit all? Cultural perspectives on school motivation

Dennis Michael MCINERNEY

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


Early theorizing on what motivates students to learn was largely based on Western conceptualizations and specifically on a “one-size-fits-all” belief that what works is relatively universal. However, the one-size-fits-all notion fails to explain diversity in motivation and achievement. Every perspective on motivation should be looked at for variability in meaning and relevance within particular social and cultural settings. The critical importance of culture and the cultural setting adds new richness and complexity to theorizing on motivation in school settings. Overall, the essay briefly describes the transitioning of theory from Western-based, relatively monocultural theories of motivation to a richer understanding of motivation by interrogating theoretical perspectives and practical applications through a cultural lens. Copyright © 2023 Oxford University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMotivation science: Controversies and insights
EditorsMimi BONG, Johnmarshall REEVE, Sung-il KIM
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780197662380
ISBN (Print)9780197662359
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


McInerney, D. M. (2023). Does one size fit all? Cultural perspectives on school motivation. In M. Bong, J. Reeve, & S.-I. Kim (Eds.), Motivation science: Controversies and insights (pp. 77-82). New York: Oxford University Press.


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