Home' Teacher : December 2010 Contents 26 TEACHER DECEMBER 2010
We all know intuitively that students who
approach a subject or learning task with a posi-
tive attitude are more likely to learn than those
students who hold a negative attitude. Research
also tells us that what we say and do as teachers
in the classroom has a great influence on student
learning. While there is nothing surprising about
the need to promote and develop positive student
attitudes, what may be surprising is that many of us
don't overtly plan for this critical aspect of learning.
Much of our plan ning stops at curriculum, resources and
The relationship between student attitudes and learning is com-
plex and has been the subject of literally hundreds, if not thousands, of
research studies on student motivation. Robert Marzano and his colleagues,
in Dime n sions of Lear ning, synthesised much of this research to provide a practical
model for teachers that reflects what is known about how students learn. The upshot of
this, and similar syntheses over the past several decades, is that we know some important
things about how student attitudes affect learning and how we can foster positive attitudes
towards learning in all students.
In linking the motivational research to teacher practice, Marzano and co. identified six
elements that, when addressed, guide teachers through the critical conditions needed for
student learning. From a student's perspective these can best be phrased as questions. Do
I feel accepted? Am I comfortable? Can I make mistakes? Is this information useful to me?
Can I do this? Do I know what is expected?
By attending to the six questions during the planning process, we can create learning
environments and tasks that help all students develop attitudes conducive to learning.
THE POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE THINGS WE SAY AND DO
AS TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM HAVE A GREAT
INFLUENCE ON STUDENT LEARNING -- WHICH IS
A GOOD REASON, SAYS ROB MCEWAN, TO
PLAN FOR POSITIVE ATTITUDES.
Plan to be
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