3
Supporting Students'
Confidence as Learners

Chapter 1 focused on helping you to think about motivation and identify realistic motivational goals for your students. Chapter 2 focused on establishing your classroom as a learning community that both reflects and supports your efforts to motivate your students to learn. Beginning here in chapter 3, I address these motivational efforts directly, working within the expectancy × value model. Chapters 3 to 5 focus on expectancy issues: protecting students' confidence as learners and providing extra support to those who have become discouraged.


ACHIEVEMENT SITUATIONS

Information about the expectancy aspects of motivation has been developed by studying people's reactions to achievement situations. Achievement situations require people to perform some goal-oriented task knowing that their performance will be evaluated. Some achievement situations pit people in direct competition with one another and produce winners and losers. Other achievement situations do not involve such personal competition but do involve characterizing performance with reference to standards of excellence. If there is a single clear-cut goal, people either succeed or fail in their efforts to meet it. If the task allows for more graduated or varied assessment, the quality of performance may be characterized more precisely or comprehensively.

Performance can be evaluated with reference either to absolute standards of excellence or to norms that allow comparisons relative to some

-55-

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