My own reflections as I read Chapter 3 made me realize that while I intrinsically knew that goals, values, and expectancies could all influence our success in the classroom, research on this subject is rarely discussed. 

Reading the chapter, I thought back on what my classroom environment was previously and is now.  I like to think my teaching style and the environment I seek to cultivate is a positive and supportive.  But I think it is easy to get caught up in objectives, testing, and daily activities and forget to reflect upon our own class “environment”.

As I continue my long-term substitute position as an orchestra director, I have had the good fortune of working with a lead director who has mastered motivating her students with goals, value, and expectancies.  Many students in her high school orchestra are already highly achieving honors students, and all of them have auditioned for chair placements in the performing ensemble.   In addition to performance technique, this director teaches her students to be organized in their notes and practicing, is clear about her expectations, and doesn’t request more of them than they are capable of giving.  Students are continuously reviewing and rating their own rehearsals and discussing how they can be more productive.  They are learning in an environment where they feel supported by teacher and peers and usually find that they develop skills far beyond what they imagined by the end of the year (this is one of the top high school orchestra programs in the country).  While the director maintains high expectations and runs a strict rehearsal, she does so with a sense of humor.  She is clear about the groups’ objectives and the students respect her.  There are always bumps in the road, but as an assistant with this class for the past year I have been amazed at how environment does affect learning (and the students’ belief in self) in a big way. 

Sally Heuss
10/8/2012 12:58:37 pm

After reading chapter 3 on your site and this blog post, I have a much higher appreciation for my previous teachers and the positive learning environment they created in the classroom. It’s interesting and inspiring to read about the different factors that affect motivation and how one has the ability to have such a powerful impact on others' motivation levels, through their goals, values and expectancies.

It’s fun to read about the application you’ve been able to apply from this course to your experience with your position with the orchestra. It sounds like the director has a firm grasp on the topics you’re covering in this course!

10/9/2012 04:39:20 am

I keep forgetting your music connection. But it makes sense because most music people are good at technology. You are right that the environment will probably be one of the most important factors that affect learning, but we do forget about it. Maybe we need to focus a bit more. Sheri


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