The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 43–65 | Cite as

Boys and motivation

  • Andrew J. Martin


This paper explores key gender differences in motivation from a quantitative perspective and presents findings from a qualitative study into boys’ perceptions of motivating teachers and motivating pedagogy. Data collected from 3773 high school students suggest that girls score significantly higher than boys in their belief in the value of school, learning focus, planning, study management, and persistence while boys rate significantly higher in self-sabotage/self-handicapping. However, girls rated significantly higher than boys in anxiety. In the qualitative phase of the research, boys identified the following features of effective and motivating pedagogy: a good relationship between student and teacher, the teacher’s enjoyment of teaching and working with young people, providing boys with choices and input into the lesson, making schoolwork interesting and/or relevant, providing variety in content and methods, and respecting boys’ opinions and perspectives. The paper then draws on data presented elsewhere to show that, in addition to some key gender differences in motivation, there are also some noteworthy parallels between boys and girls. The paper concludes with a discussion of motivation as it relates to the social construction of gender, fear of failure and masculinity, and program development, construction and implementation.


Educational Psychology Study Management Labour Market Outcome Tucker Lewis Index Mathematics Anxiety 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australian Association for Research in Education 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SELF Research Centre, Bankstown CampusUniversity of Western SydneyPenrith South DCAustralia

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