Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

The Effects of Making Reading Inferences on Mastery Goals, Self-Esteem and TOEIC Reading Comprehension

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

The Effects of Making Reading Inferences on Mastery Goals, Self-Esteem and TOEIC Reading Comprehension

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study is to investigate if learning to make inferences can increase mastery goals, self-esteem and comprehension. Although students are more likely to be intrinsically motivated to master a subject or task through mastery goals, the problem is that students with weak or no learning strategy skills may not be as successful when compared to their higher performing peers. Without development and training these students may struggle because they are not able to fully absorb new material that has been taught in class. There is limited research as to how the learning strategy of making inferences can promote and enhance reading comprehension and mastery goals. However, if students do not have positive self-esteem then making inferences may not produce the full effect of achievement. This study addressed these shortcomings of mastery goals orientation.

Educational psychologists agree that motivation plays a vital role for students to participate and strive towards a desired academic outcome. For students to become successful within the learning environment, it is important that learning is characterized by mastery goal orientation, curiosity and persistence. In addition, if students are encouraged by their teachers to do their best and if they are well respected then it may significantly impact feelings of support associated with learning (Broussard & Garrison, 2004). In addition, "overcoming difficult challenges will increase student's self-esteem" (Gottfried, 1990, p. 525). Self-esteem is defined as one's own worth or abilities in regards to a favorable impression of him or herself. Students with higher self-esteem will usually feel more positively about their abilities and previous achievements. In addition, they will also be aware of their limitations (Pullmann & Allik, 2008).

Making inferences is a learning strategy that is geared for a reader to make a conclusion drawn from evidence presented in a story. Making an inference is to hypothesize future outcomes in the story based on the clues and ideas that the author has left within the reading passages (Graves, Juel & Graves, 1998). Making reading inferences may increase students' overall reading comprehension abilities because successful students that are proficient at this task are better able to predict information and recall what has happened within the story (Goodman, 1973). This claim is supported by Collins, Brown and Larkin (1980), who noted that skilled readers are able to construct a problem-solving model in which they are able to infer what will happen next in the text. According to Park (1999) empirical research has proven that motivation is a significant factor when used with learning strategies, especially for reading purposes. However, little is known about the relationship between making reading inferences and motivation.

According to Benabo and Tirole (2003) goal orientation theory focuses on how students are able to process and store information based on their motivation to achieve a desired task and outcome. There are two major types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic (Amabile, Hennessey, & Tighe, 1994). According to Deci, Koestner and Ryan (1999) intrinsic motivation comes from within. Students that are intrinsically motivated wish to learn so that they can get better at a task that they value for its own sake. Students with high intrinsic motivation are most likely to have high mastery goals. Mastery goal orientation is defined as intrinsic motivation of a student wanting to achieve a task for the enjoyment of learning. Mastery goal orientation is significant because it will help students to develop new skills through challenging experiences (Schunk, Pintrich, & Meece, 2008). By contrast, Lepper, Greene and Nisbett (1973) defined extrinsic motivation as a desire to achieve a task that is influenced by an external factor and as a means to an end (i.e. money, trophy, fame). Students with high extrinsic motivation are most likely to have high performance goals. …

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