According to Pitler and Stone (2012) fostering a classroom culture where students build a distinct connection between persistent efforts and achievement is essential. Pitler and Stone (2012) provide three recommendations for guiding this trust in students that their efforts will yield success over time:
- Teach students about the connection between effort and achievement by fostering self-efficacy.
- Empower students with modeling and reinforcement of consistent effort.
- Collaborate with students to self-track their efforts toward achievement.
One recommendation described by Pitler and Stone (2012) that I would like to integrate into my teaching practice is the promotion of mastery-goal orientation. I think this approach to accomplishing individual and cooperative tasks would lend itself to a highly motivated classroom culture. According to Pitler and Stone (2012), “a mastery-goal orientation allows teachers to design tasks that are appropriate for students at different levels of learning and to personalize recognition when students accomplish tasks. This is particularly important for struggling students who may perceive that they have few chances for success or recognition due to a history of academic failure (p. 61).” One essential component of mastery-goal orientation is modeling mistakes as opportunities for growth. I have a lot of experience doing this with young primary students because this was a cornerstone of my mentor’s teaching style. I have seen how students are willing to take academic risks when they have a teacher who celebrates mistakes as opportunities to learn. Another essential component of mastery-goal orientation is designing concrete systems to empower students to track their steps toward personal mastery. I do not have much experience with integrating these systems for self-tracking steps to achievement. Considering my inexperience with self-tracking systems as , I chose to evaluate myself with the Pitler and Stone Teacher Rubric for promoting mastery-goal orientation. I found that while I do an exemplary job of promoting an environment where students are “never competing against each other, but only themselves (p.68) (the fourth criteria on the mastery-goal orientation rubric); I need to do more intentional planning to ensure that I am consistently differentiating instructional activities, scaffolding students’ learning, and providing a supportive environment for all learners.
As an intern, in spite of my best intentions to plan for all my students to be on a self-tracking path to mastering a skill; I often failed to recognize students’ various needs until after I had taught a lesson and performed formative assessments. My goal for this summer is to collect various instructional strategies that have been proven effective for empowering students to track personal success.
Another concrete strategy I plan to integrate into my future classroom is community celebrations of individual achievements. According to Pitler and Stone (2012), an exemplary qualification for promoting mastery-goal orientation is to help students understand that they are most successful as a class when all class members have met their learning goal. Community celebrations that highlight every student’s unique talent for a given subject, i.e.- writer’s workshop publication celebrations, promote a mutually supportive environment where individuals are intrinsically motivated to work hard.
Pitler, H., Stone, Bj. (2012). A handbook for classroom instruction that works. -2nd ed. Alexandria, VA.