“Increasing Motivation Through Setting Achievement Goals
2. How do you currently (implicitly or explicitly) promote learning goals and a mastery orientation? How might your practices foster a performance orientation?
As one who regularly works to educate and meet the needs of several dozen teachers, whenever feasible I both guide and challenge teachers. Beginning with the school year and then quarterly thereafter, I provide teacher surveys as related to school environment, instructional practices and needs, and specific program effectiveness. At other times I’ve provided a rubric as related to teacher quality. Such information is compiled and shared with them. Further each teacher quarterly establishes individualized goals often based on areas of need and weakness indicated. Within the quarter I do my best to provide understanding and skill development for them as related to personal needs and requests. Also after doing individual assessments of the teacher, I provide both suggestions and mandates related to professional practice needs. Following a narrative, I provide a checklist with skill improvement needs and specific deadlines. Weekly teachers provide me with information, concerns, and needs as related to their team meetings; such items also help me in pinpointing targets and related tasks.
Such practices may foster a performance orientation for at times abbreviated instruments containing observation ratings i.e. from 1 to 5. Further, recognition of teacher efforts and accomplishments may foster, unintentionally, comparative aspects and may easily be perceived as being related to winning approval, favoritism, / or performing better than others…This requires sensitivity and balance.
Currently our teacher-staff learning community is fragmented. A mixture of new and veteran teachers appear to venture little beyond their teams, and several teams have little quality dialogue. With our head principal also acting as superintendent, last minute expectations and changes continually throw individuals off balance; therefore, I doubt most teachers feel their confidence is protected (Stipek, 75). As a result, I feel motivation waning and low achievers stalemating with little desire for instruction. Time has not been allowed for myself, as assistant principal, to provide sufficient instructional support. Although the ‘stronger’ are making steady progress and consuming new means, I know the fragile are frustrated and feel they are “drowning” (Brophy, 78).
With this in mind, what cognitive motivation strategies might I use to promote learning goal orientation? I need to look at the weary and apply the following:
1) I need to bolster their confidence through individual activities and challenges. Using multisensory input, I might build with them individual well-structured, manageable assignments/ or strategies centered specifically around areas of teacher interest/or need. Such assignments/ or strategies should be short and simple with attention given to the task divided into parts and based on realistic goals.
2) Ideally such assignments would be modeled, but at the very least provision for directions to structure tasks and criterion for success should be provided. Having individuals repeat specific vital steps, and training them in methods of self-instructional guidance would be highly beneficial (Brophy, 77).
3) While discussing tasks either before/ or after lesson application, I should reinforce the fact that I am available as a non-evaluative tutor who carefully shares specific praise. Should the discouraged teacher fail when applying a specific method or the over-all lesson format, she needs to know that “revision” is not only acceptable but also expected. (Throughout this time a ‘study buddy’ beyond myself would be best.)
4) Although I regularly endeavor to provide individual teacher feedback, for the instructor to maintain motivation I should focus on additional positive feedback specifically tied to the assignment /or strategies. Calling attention to success, sending positive notes, and encouraging the teacher to focus on the day’s performance and accomplishments rather than the ‘star’ in the classroom next door would be necessary.
I’ve never really looked at my position and related responsibilities with the specific intent of promoting a learning goal orientation. However, perhaps specific targets and mastery would be of benefit not only to the teacher but also myself. Why not establish clearly specified learning objective and apply other mastery learning processes? After all, I don’t want them to practice errors, and this in turn would cause me to focus on several key ideas/or areas of need. Further, commitment to established goals would provide the teacher and others occasion to celebrate success!
4. Complete the survey in Appendix 13A Stipek. How is your self-efficacy related to your expectations for your students’ learning?
Reading Stipek’s chapter, Communicating Expectations, brought to the forefront an obvious aspect as related to teacher self-efficacy and individual personalities within our school environment that I really had not given too much thought to previously. Teacher response to new techniques, varied levels of control of student behavior, and even stress and burn-out are clearly aspects to consider( Stipek, 213).
As for myself, my self-efficacy rating paralleled clearly with student learning expectations. With a total score of six, this aligns with my consistent viewpoint and personality as related to both personal and student responsibility within the learning framework. Although family environment and attitudes may undermine student motivation, I believe as an instructor it is my ‘ways and means’ that stir and engage, and when challenged I seek out individuals and resources to help solve the puzzle successfully. Further, students are individuals with their own unique interests, skills, and needs… and as such I view the unfolding of such individual aspects crucial when instilling responsibility within them….I also feel blessed that my personality does not chafe at the word ‘change’; in fact, I welcome this often dreaded word. As a result, I seek out the new and different whether within instructional techniques or in meeting individuals.
What is the best management system you have seen or used in executing mastery learning?