Perceived Parenting Styles and Goal Orientations: A Study of Teacher Education Students in Hong Kong

Article excerpt

Two achievement goals and three perceived parenting styles were identified in a sample of Hong Kong teacher education students. Significant correlations exist within the perceived parenting styles and the achievement goals. Parental authoritativeness was significantly and positively related to learning goal, and parental authoritarianism was significantly and positively related to performance goal. In terms of gender, it was found that the positive relationship between authoritarian parenting style and performance orientation was significant in male but not in female students. On the contrary, the positive relationship between authoritative parenting and learning goal was significant only in female but not in male students. Analysis of the paternal and maternal influence showed there was no significant relation between paternal parenting styles and goal orientations but maternal authoritativeness was significantly related to learning goal. Further investigation with a larger sample, more male students and paternal influence would help confirm the paternal versus maternal influence on students' goal orientations.

Key words Learning goal, Performance goal, Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, Parenting style.

Research on motivation has shown that students' goal orientations are important factors influencing their learning behaviour and achievements (Minnaert and Janssen, 1992; Pintrich and Schunk, 2000). In goal orientation research, learning and performance goals have often been studied and several findings have been reported in literature. First, students who hold learning goals, also known as task or mastery goals, want to develop their competence on a task or increase their understanding of a subject, and anticipate this will be achieved by hard work. Students holding performance goals, also known as ego or ability goals, are concerned primarily with demonstrating their ability by outperforming others. Students who are performance goal-oriented tend to choose tasks which can be succeeded with little effort and they tend to withdraw from challenging tasks in order to conceal a perceived lack of ability. This kind of student is usually less likely to be intrinsically motivated (Dweck, 1986; Dweck and Leggett, 1988; Elliott and Dweck, 1988; Maehr and Braskamp, 1986).

Second, the adoption of mastery or learning goals is consistently associated with using effective and deep processing learning strategies, such as elaboration and organisation (Pintrich and Garcia, 1991) and selecting challenging tasks (Ames and Archer, 1998; Archer, 1994). In contrast, the adoption of performance goals is associated with surface processing learning strategies such as rehearsal (Albaili, 1998). Third, high-school and college students appear to be able to use both goals simultaneously and generally without experiencing the negative behaviours associated with performance goals (Ames and Archer, 1994; Greene and Miller, 1996). It is of value, therefore, to study the variables or factors relating to students' motivational goal orientations, as the goal orientations adopted by students are clearly linked to the approaches they use in learning situations, and subsequently their academic achievement. Some researchers have considered goal orientations as classroom context-dependent and they actively investigate the contextual effect on students' goal orientations (e.g. Ames, 1992). Other researchers have viewed goal orientations as a kind of individual variable, which may develop under the influence of family factors such as parenting involvement and parenting styles (Pintrich and Schunk, 2000). Furthermore, there has been evidence showing the impact of parental involvement on students' learning (Epstein, 1989). Some parents may see the importance of a mastery of goal orientation and will then work with the school to promote this orientation in their children, while other parents may believe that a mastery of goal orientation will not help to prepare their children for competition in the 'real world' (Pintrich and Schunk, 2000). …