Motivational issues in gifted education: understanding the role of students’ attribution and control beliefs, self-worth protection and growth orientation

Emma C. Burns*, Andrew J. Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary/reference bookpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter the role of motivation in gifted education will be discussed. Although theories of giftedness have often included motivation as an important component of giftedness (Clinkenbeard, 2012), most research on motivation in giftedness has sought to establish the motivational characteristics of gifted students (Albaili, 2003). As a result, less is known about how different motivational factors impact gifted students’ academic development and outcomes. Thus, building on arguments by Martin (2002, 2017) and recent research in gifted education, the present chapter examines key motivational issues that are especially relevant for gifted students. First, we discuss attribution, control beliefs and self-worth protection. These are well-established areas of motivation that affect gifted students’ motivation and learning. Herein we examine the implications of these factors for talent development and how to support gifted students in their use of adaptive rather than maladaptive motivational strategies. Next, we discuss recent developments within motivational research, namely, an increased focus on growth orientation and how such an orientation may benefit gifted students. Specifically, we discuss the role of growth goal setting (Burns et al., 2018a, 2018b; Martin, 2006) and growth mindset (Dweck, 2012). Following from this we provide practical strategies for teachers, practitioners, and parents to promote growth orientation among gifted students and describe how these strategies may support gifted students’ talent development. Lastly, we discuss implications for future research regarding motivation and giftedness. Taken together, this chapter provides a substantial review of how different motivational factors may impact gifted students’ learning and discusses new developments and strategies in motivational research that may be effective for gifted students.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of giftedness and talent development in the Asia-Pacific
EditorsSusen R. Smith
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789811330414
ISBN (Print)9789811330407
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSpringer International Handbooks of Education
VolumePart F1630
ISSN (Print)2197-1951
ISSN (Electronic)2197-196X


  • attribution beliefs
  • control beliefs
  • gifted students
  • giftedness
  • growth mindset
  • motivation
  • personal best goal setting
  • self-worth


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