The climate we create in a classroom is vital to the learning outcomes we can expect and receive from our students. If students know that true understanding and application of the course material is valued in your course, then students will focus their efforts on learning and demonstrating the material and not just memorizing content.
Educational researchers have brought together a set of practices that help to create this mastery goal focus in a course. Take a look at the practices that will help your students stay on TARGET:
- Tasks are meaningful, challenging, and interesting, with a range of options available so that ability difference are not accentuated.
- The teacher shares authority and responsibility for rules and decisions with the students.
- Recognition is available to all students and involves progress or effort, with few opportunities for social comparison among students.
- Grouping is flexible and heterogeneous, and students are not grouped by ability.
- Evaluation is criterion-referenced, not made public, and grades and test scores are interpreted in terms of improvement and effort.
- And time use is flexible, with opportunities for students to pace themselves.
Implementing these principles in your course will help motivate your students and increase deeper learning in your courses.
Patrick, H., Kaplan, A., & Ryan, A. M. (2011). Positive classroom motivational environments: Convergence between mastery goal structure and classroom social climate. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(2), 367-382.
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