Performance vs. Mastery

I might be a little late to this conversation, but I’m reading a book chapter about motivation, time spent reading, and comprehension (Guthrie, WIgfield, Metsala & Cox, 2006), and I came across info about motivation and goals that made my brain go CLICK.

This is what we’re doing to our students in schools. That, and we’re taking our struggling readers, assuming their difficulties are with phonology, and putting them in remedial classes that treat them like they’re all working with the same set of tools.  But I digress.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsOne of the aspects of the game I play with my students is group competition. They demonstrate that they can out perform other teams throughout the course of the game, however, my hope is that multiple groupings keep everything from being about the competition and more about the reciprocal teaching. I won’t be sure until I ask.

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThese are my students. I have so many who just won’t do anything. They lack such motivation. Guthrie & Co., consistent with other researchers on motivation, define motivation in terms of an individual’s characteristics, one of those being competence-related beliefs. Naturally, a student’s motivation is going to be higher if they feel like they can successfully complete a task, or if they have mastery oriented goals and are adept at coping with failure.

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And by the same token, what about the motivation of the students who go through my class, where there are a fair number of extrinsic motivational rewards? In what ways can I use these extrinsic rewards while cultivating their intrinsic motivation for reading?

This is what I’m working on right now.

On mastery, briefly. In schools, we don’t often provide opportunities where students can attempt to improve their capabilities at a particular task. They can’t retake a test until they get the grade they want like one can replay a mission in Call of Duty to unlock the achievement they’re trying to unlock. And this is a major problem I see with education now. We’re so focused on the test and single shot proficiency that we don’t have time to learn from our mistakes. We don’t have the time to revisit what we missed and use that information to propel us forward or to ignite our curiosity.

It’s any wonder that many students in school today struggle with intrinsic motivation, really.

When you were in school, were you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? Just curious.

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