Attributions:

Attributions are explanations for successes and failures

Attributions are beliefs about what causes what

Attributions guide future behavior

 Additional Information:

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The way you interpret your prior successes and failures will determine the amount of time you will allocate to future tasks

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People, usually, attribute success to internal causes (i.e. hard work)

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People tend to attribute failure to external causes (i.e. bad luck)

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One of the main factors why people attribute success to internal causes and failures to external causes deals with self-esteem.  High self esteem is maintained through this process

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 As teachers we need to be on the lookout because students may occasionally form false attributions

  

Ways Students May Attribute Their Successes and Failures

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 How intellectual they are

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The amount of effort they put into an activity

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The level of difficulty of the activity (was it easy or hard)

  

Areas Where Attributions Differ

Locus/Place

Stability

Controllability

 

Locus/Place:  Internal versus External

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 Students may attribute success and failure to factors within themselves (internal factors)

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 Students may attribute success and failure to factors outside their control (external factors)

  

Stability:  Stable vs. Unstable

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Attributions result of stable factors, unchangeable events

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 Attributions can also be the result of unstable factors, those that change constantly

 

Controllability:  Controllable vs. Uncontrollable

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 Controllable factors are those that can influence and change

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  Uncontrollable factors are those in which students attribute outcomes to forces out of their control

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Students who continuously attribute their failures to stable and uncontrollable forces are unlikely to change future behavior that will lead to success

 

 Areas Where Attributions Influence Cognition & Behavior

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 Emotional reactions to success and failure

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 Expectations for future success or failure

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Expenditure of effort

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Help-seeking behavior

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Classroom performance

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 Future choices

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 Self-efficacy

 

 Attributions and its Development

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Several factors influence the development of attributions:

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 Past successes and failures

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Are successes and failures followed by reinforced or punishment?

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What expectations do we as teachers have for future student performance?

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 Messages we provide regarding attributions

 

 Ways to Promote Productive Student Attributions

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 Practice scaffolding with students so success can be more common then failure

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Provide reinforcers for successes

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Have high expectations for your students

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 Help students view failure as the result of controllable and changeable causes

  

Mastery Orientation Versus Learned Helplessness

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 Mastery Orientation:  I can do it! attitude

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Learned Helplessness:  I canít do it! Attitude

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 Students who demonstrate mastery orientation attribute their success to their own accomplishment and abilities

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Students who demonstrate learned helplessness attribute their failures to lack of ability, and their successes to uncontrollable causes, not giving themselves enough credit

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  Mastery orientation students have a higher sense of self efficacy