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A Distinctive Cultural and Gender Difference in Children's Interest and Effort in Learning: The Impact of Choice and Testing.

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A cross-cultural experiment testing the effect of personal choice on learning was conducted with fifth and sixth graders from Canada (n=130) and Taiwan (n=153) using a computerized foreign language learning task. The results show that choice had no significant impact on children's interest, effort, or learning outcome. Although comparable to their Chinese counterparts in efficacy beliefs, the Canadian children reported that they were more interested, but showed less effort and performed less well on the task. The Canadian boys had lower efficacy beliefs and consistently showed less interest and effort than did the girls; this gender gap was not evident among the Chinese children. Among the Chinese children, unlike the Canadians, effort was unrelated to efficacy beliefs or interest. When told explicitly there would be no test, Chinese children became more interested in the task, but the Canadians were unaffected. Implications of these findings are discussed, and further studies are suggested. (Contains 3 tables, 3 figures, and 28 references.) (Author/SLD)

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Author:d'Ailly, Hsiao
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Apr 1, 2002
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