Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More from "Drive": Performance Goals vs. Learning Goals

Look at what Daniel Pink has to say about mastery in Drive:

If you believe intelligence is a fixed quantity, then every educational and professional encounter becomes a measure of how much you have. If you believe intelligence is something you can increase, then the same encounters become opportunities for growth. In one view, intelligence is something you demonstrate; in the other, it's something you develop.

The two self-theories lead down two very different paths -- one that heads toward mastery and one that doesn't. For instance, consider goals. [Carol] Dweck [a psychology professor at Stanford University] says they come in two varieties -- performance goals and learning goals. Getting an A in French class is a performance goal. Being able to speak French is a learning goal. "Both goals are entirely normal and pretty much universal," Dweck says, "and both can fuel achievement." But only one leads to mastery. In several studies, Dweck found that giving children a performance goal (say, getting a high mark on a test) was effective for relatively straightforward problems but often inhibited children's ability to apply the concepts to new situations. For example, in one study, Dweck and a colleague asked junior high students to learn a new set of scientific principles, giving half of the students a performance goal and half a learning goal. After both groups demonstrated they had grasped the material, researchers asked the students to apply their knowledge to a new set of problems, related but not identical to what they'd just studied. Students with learning goals scored significantly higher than on these novel challenges. They also worked longer and tried more solutions. As Dweck writes, "With a learning goal, students don't have to feel that they're good at something in order to hang in and keep trying. After all, their goal is to learn, not to prove they're smart." (119-120)

Now consider this blog post on how project-based learning leads to mastery:

How Project-Based Learning Develops Drive and Mastery