Free Essay

Attribution Theory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By jeso83
Words 820
Pages 4
Topic: Attribution theory.
I chose this topic because it interests me a lot. I have always had many difficulties when giving feedback to my students, writing reports is the most difficult thing for me to do. I never find the appropriate words, I don´t know how to motivate my students and how to tell them to improve without hurting their feelings.

In unit 2 we talked about different topics but this is the one that called my attention. I would like first to summarize what this theory is about.
It is widely know that people perceive events in different ways, not only at school but in their everyday lives, when something bad happens to us we generally blame someone or something else for the outcomes but when we do something right or something good happens to us we usually say it is because we for example put a lot of effort in the task, because we are lucky and so on. But, to what do we attribute our failures and success? Many theorists state that we attribute them to four factors, effort, ability, luck and task difficulty. The former factors are said to be internal and the latter external. On the other hand we can categorize them according to stability, in that case effort and luck are unstable and ability and task difficulty are stable. But what does internal, external, stable and stable mean? Internal means from within a person, external the opposite. Stable means that we can control it and unstable means the opposite. For example, a student is sad because he failed in an exam, when his father asks him why he has failed he says it was because the test was difficult; this student is blaming the test and not himself for not having studied hard. As task difficulty is a stable factor he may not study next time, why bother? There are many chances that the makeup test would be as difficult as this.

How can we relate this theory to practice? I think this is an easy question. We, as teachers, have to listen to our students, be aware of what is going on in their minds and try to understand why do they fail or succeed. We were once students who attended schools and used to have the same problems they have now so it should be easy for us to go inside our students´ minds. We also blamed our teachers for a bad grade and were happy when we got a good without studying saying that we were lucky.
We can use this theory to help our students improve, not only the ones who have problems with the subjects but also those who are good at it, there´s always something to improve. By listening to our students and following their achievements or failures we get to know them. Our job is to use the attribution theory in order to motivate them. As I mentioned before it is not easy to write reports or to talk to our students without feeling that we are not doing our best at motivating them, this theory help us a to think, to relate their successes or failures to something. Are they blaming the task, their ability, their luck or their effort, or lack of it? Our job is to make the stable factors unstable, make students realize that they have control over them. Let´s not forget that “it is the learner´s perception that determinate how attributions will influence future effort”. All in all, a good feedback will help them not to blame others but themselves and will help change the way they see things.
Here´s an example, instead of saying “You did very badly in this test, I can see that you didn´t study. Next time try not to guess the answers.” We can say: “This was not your best test. Next time try to take notes while in class and pay attention. If you have any doubts please ask me, I´m always there for you”. In the first quote we are demotivating the student, we are attributing his grade to lack of luck instead of effort, whereas in the second we are motivating him to ask, to think that his failure was due to lack of effort but that he can change this if he wants.

As for me, during this term I learned many things, I learned about different theories, motivation, cooperative work and a lot more, but this topic help me change some of my attitudes. I was the kind of person who always blames others, now I try not to. I´m working to try to change, to try to think that with a little effort there´s nothing I can´t do. This theory helped me realize I am capable of many things and that I can make students feel the way I feel.

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