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School Library Research

The Dispositions of Elementary School Children of Individualistic and Collectivist Cultures Who Are Intrinsically Motivated to Seek Information

Mar 5, 2016 4:00pm ‐ Jul 29, 2020 4:00pm



This paper is based on two studies conducted in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2008 and in Kampala, Uganda, in 2014. The basic research question addressed in both studies was: “What are the experiences in the lives of upper elementary-aged children that foster an intrinsic motivation to seek information?” The secondary question was: “How do the experiences of students from a collectivist culture (Kampala, Uganda) who are intrinsically motivated to seek information compare and contrast with the experiences of similarly aged students from an individualistic culture (Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A.)?” The focus of this paper is to explore the dispositions of both sets of informants using a theoretical framework consisting of the educative dispositions of an Effective Learner—independence, creativity, self-motivation, and resilience (Bertram and Pascal 2002)—as correlated with the dispositions listed in the American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st-Century Learner (2007). The findings were that both sets of informants exhibited an affinity for play and a tendency toward creativity, and that the Ugandan students were more inclined toward competence-building activities than their Colorado Springs counterparts, who generally exhibited noncompetitive dispositions. Furthermore, resilience was a disposition revealed by students in the Ugandan study.


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