Click for video about practicing lack of effort.
is essential for learning and performance. Researchers are
increasingly finding that feedback has many boundary conditions:
It is not as simple as either-you-get feedback-or-you-do not. The
style and content of feedback is also important. For example, Carol
Dweck (1975) found that, following failure, many students profited
when teachers commented that the students did not seem to be trying
hard enough. Those students— especially the ones who anguished over
their failure— improved even more after they practiced the same explanation
for failure: "I didn't put out enough effort." Dweck’s reasoning was
that effort explanations are readily changeable; decisions about how
much effort to expend are under personal control. By comparison, explanations
that rely on more stable reasons— such as “I am not good at this”—
are beyond personal control. If a student blames failure on lack of
ability, then there is nothing much to do about it. Unfortunately,
attributions for failure, practiced again and again, become self-fulfilling
prophecies. After several years of practice, unwittingly reinforced
by teachers’ hints about ability, student attributions for failure
become resistant to change.
Dale Schunk (1984) showed that successful students
who received feedback complimenting their skills (as discussed in
the previous section), rather than solely focusing on their effort,
developed higher self-efficacy and learning. So skill attributions
for success seems to result in higher expectation for future skill
development, whereas simple effort attributions may prompt students
to question their competence since they apparently need to work
hard to succeed. In short, the Dweck and Schunk studies suggest
this feedback pattern: Encourage students to use effort as
an explanation for failure, and the skills they have developed as
an explanation for success.
Do not attribute poor performance to lack of
ability and caution parents to avoid it as well. You have
probably heard parents make statements such as “I was never very
good at math, and my son is just like me” or “I had to work
so hard in science, and my daughter is the same way.” Such
statements set the stage for low self-efficacy. When students do
not do well, a combination of modeling and goal setting techniques
(discussed in future sections) can be implemented along with friendly
encouragement to “try harder.”
Keep in mind...
- Help students practice lack-of-effort
explanations when they perform poorly, while drawing attention
to the skills they have. You might say, "You know how to use a
ruler, but you need to be more careful reading the numbers."
Check Your Understanding
- When students do not do well, spend
time discussing the skills they need to develop.
Next Section: Avoid
the Appearance of Unsolicited Help
Previous Section: Compliment
Students on the Skills They Develop
c. 2000 - Del Siegle - This
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