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Expectancies are the result of various factors, but particularly the goals held by a student, and the student’s self-efficacy . A student with mastery goals and strong self-efficacy for a task, for example, is likely to hold high expectations for success—almost by definition. Values are also the resultof various factors, but especially students’ interests and feelings of self-determination . A student who has a lasting personal interest in a task or topic and is allowed to choose it freely is especially likely to value the task—and therefore to feel motivated.

Ideally both expectancies and values are high in students on any key learning task. The reality, however, is that students sometimes do not expect success,nor do they necessarily value it when success is possible. How can a teacher respond to low expectations and low valuing? A number ofsuggestions to meet this challenge have been offered in conjunction with discussions of other theories of motivation. In brief, raising low expectations depends on adjusting task difficulty so that success becomes areasonable prospect: a teacher must make tasks neither too hard nor too easy. Reaching this general goal depends in turn on thoughtful, appropriateplanning—selecting reasonable objectives, adjusting them on the basis of experience, finding supportive materials, and providing students with help whenneeded.

Raising the value of academic tasks is equally important, but the general strategies for doing so are different than for raising expectations. Increasingvalue requires linking the task to students’ personal interests and prior knowledge, showing the utility of the task to students’ future goals, andshowing that the task is valuable to other people whom students’ respect.

A caution: motivation as content versus motivation as process

A caution about self-efficacy theory is its heavy emphasis on just the process of motivation, at the expense of the content of motivation. The basic self-efficacy model has much to say about how beliefs affect behavior, but relatively little to say about which beliefs and tasks are especiallysatisfying or lead to the greatest well-being in students. The answer to this question is important to know, since teachers might then select tasks as muchas possible that are intrinsically satisfying, and not merely achievable.

Another way of posing this concern is by asking: “Is it possible to feel high self-efficacy about a task that you do not enjoy?” It does seemquite possible for such a gap to exist. A young child may show some promise as a pianist, for example. Given encouragement (pressure?) from her parents, hersuccesses lead to further practice. She may persist in developing as a pianist,her beliefs in her skills propelling her to commit more and more time to practice and a high level of performance. But, it is possible that this girldoes not particularly like playing the piano; perhaps she does it to please her parents. From a motivational perspective, self-efficacy (the girl’sconfidence in her skills as a pianist) explains her persistence and effort, but does not tell the full story. Accounting for such a gap requires a differenttheory of motivation, one that includes not only specific beliefs, but “deeper” personal needs as well. An example of this approach is self-determination theory.

References

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Bong, M.&Skaalvik, E. (2004). Academic self-concept and self-efficacy: How different are they really? Educational psychology review, 15 (1), 1-40.

Eccles, J. (2009). Expectancy value motivational theory. Retrieved from http://www.education.com/reference/article/expectancy-value-motivational-theory/

Eccles, J., Wigfield, A.,&Schiefele, U. (1998). Motivation to succeed. In W. Damon&N. Eisenberg (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology, Volume 3: Social, emotional, and personality development, 5th edition (pp. 1017-1095). New York: Wiley.

Erikson, E. (1968/1994). Identity, youth, and crisis. New York: Norton.

Goddard, R., Hoy, W.,&Hoy, A. (2004). Collective efficacy beliefs: Theoretical developments, empirical evidence, and future directions. Educational Researcher, 33 (3), 3-13.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2010). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from [link] http://dl.dropbox.com/u/31779972/Emerging%20Perspectives%20on%20Learning%2C%20Te aching%2C%20and%20Technology.pdf

Pajares, F.&Schunk, D. (2001). Self-beliefs and school success: Self- efficacy, self-concept, and school achievement. In  Riding&S. Rayner (Eds.), Perception (pp. 239-266). London: Ablex Publishing.

Pajares, F.&Schunk, D. (2002). Self-beliefs in psychology and education: An historical perspective. In J. Aronson (Ed.), Improving academic achievement (pp. 3-21). New York: Academic Press.

Schunk, D.&Zimmerman, B. (1997). Social origins of self-regulatory competence. Educational psychologist, 34 (4), 195-208.

Much of the material from this topic was adapted from (Seifert and Sutton, 2011).

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Oneonta epsy 275. OpenStax CNX. Jun 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11446/1.6
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