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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Television as teacher : motivation to learn messages in children’s educational programming Wainwright, Deborah Karin


This study examined the use of recognized production features and motivation to learn strategies in 3 educational television programs: Sesame Street, Between the Lions, and ZOOM. It was hypothesized that educational television may be limited with regard to its presentation of motivational strategies: A content analysis of 5 episodes of each subject program was conducted. Coders observed the use of production features of the medium believed to support children's learning from viewing, and the use of teacher and learner strategies known to support intrinsic motivation for learning. Coders also examined any attempts by these programs to extend the on-air lessons beyond the television viewing time. The results reveal that these programs incorporate many of the production features thought to support children's learning from television. But the results also show that few of the recognized motivation to learn techniques are being portrayed in the content of these programs. As well, there is little evidence of attempts to extend the lesson beyond the program viewing time. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that these educational children's programs are not providing much support for intrinsic motivation in their viewers. Suggestions for how producers can revise or develop programming that can motivate viewers are discussed. The results inform producers, researchers, and parents of learning and motivation to learn opportunities offered to children on educational television today.

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