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Social representations of intelligence and educational practices used by teachers facing academic failure _____ Représentations sociales de l’intelligence.

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Presentation on theme: "Social representations of intelligence and educational practices used by teachers facing academic failure _____ Représentations sociales de l’intelligence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social representations of intelligence and educational practices used by teachers facing academic failure _____ Représentations sociales de l’intelligence et pratiques éducatives utilisées par les enseignants en cas d’élèves en situation d’échec scolaire. MATTEUCCI Maria Cristina Faculty of Psychology, University of Bologna, Italy mariacristina.matteucci@unibo.it

2 2 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Teachers’ assessment and educational practices...not only determined by students’ achievements or performance ! 1. moral aspects also play a role in the feedback given to students; 2. lay theories and social representations influence both causal ascription and behavioral choice (Abric, 1994 a, b; Roland-Lévy, 2002; Dweck et al., 1993; Dweck et. al., 1995).

3 3 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 The “effort” moral precept Moral precepts do affect reward and punishment in achievement settings, as in a courtroom (Weiner,2003) Moral precepts do affect reward and punishment in achievement settings, as in a courtroom (Weiner,2003) “Ethic of Effort” in school: students have to work hard and try to do as well as possible in school work. “Ethic of Effort” in school: students have to work hard and try to do as well as possible in school work. The violation of this moral rule by a student, results in a teacher’s behavioral reaction The violation of this moral rule by a student, results in a teacher’s behavioral reaction

4 4 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Social representations What are the precedents, the inputs determining a social behavior, and in particular leading teachers to implement specific educational practices? Elements taking part in these processes are different. What are the precedents, the inputs determining a social behavior, and in particular leading teachers to implement specific educational practices? Elements taking part in these processes are different. Social representations can contribute to understand them, showing how prior widespread beliefs and implicit theories influence causal attributions (Hewstone, 1989; Jaspars & Hewstone, 1990) and social practices (Abric, 1994a, b). Social representations can contribute to understand them, showing how prior widespread beliefs and implicit theories influence causal attributions (Hewstone, 1989; Jaspars & Hewstone, 1990) and social practices (Abric, 1994a, b).

5 5 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Teacher’s Social Representations of Intelligence The main result concerns teachers sharing the idea of intelligence as “a gift” granted to the kids by nature, who seem to be more confident in educational practices resulting in severe assessment and competition. The main result concerns teachers sharing the idea of intelligence as “a gift” granted to the kids by nature, who seem to be more confident in educational practices resulting in severe assessment and competition. In particular, they tend to think that there is no other way to cope with poor performing students but giving the “right” assessment of their results, inflict a punishment and/or encouraging them by pointing out the need to keep up with their schoolmates (Mugny & Carugati, 1985; Carugati & Selleri, 2004). In particular, they tend to think that there is no other way to cope with poor performing students but giving the “right” assessment of their results, inflict a punishment and/or encouraging them by pointing out the need to keep up with their schoolmates (Mugny & Carugati, 1985; Carugati & Selleri, 2004).

6 6 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Purpose of the Study The study has two main goals: 1. to verify the role of lack of effort as a cause held for school failure in educational strategies choices (self-reported) made by teachers dealing with students’ failure. 2. to test the role of teachers’ social representations of intelligence on the causal ascription for failure and on educational practices.

7 7 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 1 H1: explication of failure based on lack of effort (rather than on “lack of ability”), will give rise to the ascription of a greater responsibility toward low-achieving students, and to an emotional reaction of “anger”, as well as leading to choose mainly severe practices with retributive purpose (versus utilitarian purpose) H1: explication of failure based on lack of effort (rather than on “lack of ability”), will give rise to the ascription of a greater responsibility toward low-achieving students, and to an emotional reaction of “anger”, as well as leading to choose mainly severe practices with retributive purpose (versus utilitarian purpose) Participants: 119 high school teachers (67.2% women; average age: 46.8, SD = 7.9) of Italian high schools located in two regions of north-central Italy (Marche and Emilia Romagna). Participants: 119 high school teachers (67.2% women; average age: 46.8, SD = 7.9) of Italian high schools located in two regions of north-central Italy (Marche and Emilia Romagna).

8 8 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 1 Materials: Materials: Two versions of a questionnaire designed to recall a real situation of failure (focusing on a “lack of effort” versus “lack of ability” student); several items aimed at assessing: responsibility; emotions, goals of intervention (utilitarian vs. retributive) and educational actions

9 9 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Purposes of educational practices “Retributive purpose” “Retributive purpose” (or just desert approach) holds that the perpetrator deserves to be punished, the punishment is an end in itself, proportionate to the wrongdoing. “Utilitarian purpose” (or consequentialist perspective) considers the costs and the benefits of punishment and the justification for punishment lies in prevention of future transgression by the perpetrator or by others through imitation. Carlsmith, Darley, & Robinson, 2002; Darley, Carlsmith, & Robinson, 2000; Fiske & Tetlock, 1997; Lerner, Goldberg, & Tetlock, 1998; Vidmar & Miller, 1980; Weiner et al., 1997

10 10 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Educational Practices 24 items - factorial analysis extracted 3 factors. F1. (“support practices”) includes 9 items related to practices focused on encouragement, confidence, willingness and teacher participation. F2. (“severe practices”) contains six items covering severe practices centred on punishment, negative evaluation and extra-homework. F3. is composed by 3 items relating to a “wait and see” attitude, and is characterized by patient and general interventions concerning the classroom atmosphere

11 11 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 1 - Results Responsibility Responsibility ** t (120)= 5.02, p. <.000 * n.s. (minimum score: 0; maximum score: 6)

12 12 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 1 - Results Educational Purpose (Mann-Whitney U Test) Educational Purpose (Mann-Whitney U Test) *= <.05

13 13 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 1 - Results Best-fitting model (failure for lack of effort) Best-fitting model (failure for lack of effort).35 Student’s Responsibility F1 Anger Retributive goal Severe educational practices E1 1 E2 1.43 E5 1 E3 1.28.09

14 14 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 2 H1: “severe” educational practices depend on social representations of intelligence “as a gift”, whereas “support practices” are predicted by social representations of intelligence as “an incremental issue”. H1: “severe” educational practices depend on social representations of intelligence “as a gift”, whereas “support practices” are predicted by social representations of intelligence as “an incremental issue”. Participants: 213 teachers from high schools located in a region of north-central Italy (Emilia Romagna) Participants: 213 teachers from high schools located in a region of north-central Italy (Emilia Romagna)

15 15 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 2 Materials and procedure: the same as in Study 1, with some additional measures. First of all teachers answered a set of items on beliefs and on social representations about intelligence (Carugati & Selleri, 2004; Dweck et al., 1995; Mugny & Carugati, 1985). Materials and procedure: the same as in Study 1, with some additional measures. First of all teachers answered a set of items on beliefs and on social representations about intelligence (Carugati & Selleri, 2004; Dweck et al., 1995; Mugny & Carugati, 1985).

16 16 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 2 - Results Social representations of intelligence Factor analysis of the items concerning social representations of intelligence resulted in two factors (accounting for 32% of the variance – after Varimax rotation). Factor analysis of the items concerning social representations of intelligence resulted in two factors (accounting for 32% of the variance – after Varimax rotation). F1: included seven items concerning beliefs about intelligence as a natural gift, a fixed trait (alpha = 0.79). F2: included seven items concerning beliefs of intelligence as an incremental issue (alpha = 0.66).

17 17 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 2 - Results F1 F1 You have a certain amount of intelligence, and you can’t really do much to change it (.75) Intelligence does not develop: it is an hereditary gift (.75) Intelligence is something personal and it can be changed (.69) People can learn new things, but they can’t really change their intelligence (.59) The development of intelligence occur according to a predetermined biological program (.43) F2 Through the effort into study, students can increase their intelligence (.70) The development of intelligence is a gradual learning of the social rules (.54) Teachers’ competence is the better guarantee for the intellectual development of students (.44) Intelligence is an individual competence to adapt to society (.34)

18 18 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Study 2 - Results S.R. of Intelligence as a gift Cause attributed: student’s lack of effort Student’s responsibility Anger Retributive goal Severe educational practices E1 1 E2 1 E3 1 1 1 E4 E5 1 E6.18.22.04 (n.s.).34.42.20.57.35

19 19 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 In summary The final model is partially consistent with theoretical predictions: The model confirms a link between “lack of effort”, responsibility, anger, retributive purpose and severe practices. The model confirms a link between “lack of effort”, responsibility, anger, retributive purpose and severe practices. Practices are predicted both indirectly through anger and retributive purpose, and directly by the cause labelled “lack of effort”. Practices are predicted both indirectly through anger and retributive purpose, and directly by the cause labelled “lack of effort”. Severe educational practices are not directly predicted by the S.R. of intelligence “as a gift”, but only indirectly through the retributive goal of practices, such goal is, in its turn, is meaningfully related to educational practices. Severe educational practices are not directly predicted by the S.R. of intelligence “as a gift”, but only indirectly through the retributive goal of practices, such goal is, in its turn, is meaningfully related to educational practices. The cause defined “lack of effort” blamed for failure by teachers is predicted by the S.R. of intelligence “as a gift”. The cause defined “lack of effort” blamed for failure by teachers is predicted by the S.R. of intelligence “as a gift”.

20 20 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Discussion (I) Students’ lack of effort is blamed for failure by teachers, students will accordingly be deem responsible for their failure and teachers’ emotional reactions will show anger toward the former. Students’ lack of effort is blamed for failure by teachers, students will accordingly be deem responsible for their failure and teachers’ emotional reactions will show anger toward the former. These elements will then elicit behavioral consequences resulting in practices with retributive purpose and severe punishment. These elements will then elicit behavioral consequences resulting in practices with retributive purpose and severe punishment.

21 21 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Discussion (II) These results may be interpreted in the light of the normative role of effort in school context: each and every student is supposed to put effort in their studies because it is one of their duties, and it is at the bases of the implicit contract “teacher-student”: whoever breaches this duty is deemed personally responsible for failure ! These results may be interpreted in the light of the normative role of effort in school context: each and every student is supposed to put effort in their studies because it is one of their duties, and it is at the bases of the implicit contract “teacher-student”: whoever breaches this duty is deemed personally responsible for failure !

22 22 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Discussion (III) Social representations of intelligence play a role in determining the causal ascription and in the process leading to the choice of intervention strategies, namely between representations of intelligence “as a gift” and practices with retributive purpose. Social representations of intelligence play a role in determining the causal ascription and in the process leading to the choice of intervention strategies, namely between representations of intelligence “as a gift” and practices with retributive purpose.

23 23 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 In conclusion… Social representations of intelligence and effort seems to be two critical issues in the school context, particularly because of their key-roles in the process that mediate between school failure and selected intervention strategies. Social representations of intelligence and effort seems to be two critical issues in the school context, particularly because of their key-roles in the process that mediate between school failure and selected intervention strategies.

24 24 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Caution in generalization! Given the limitations of the present work, suggesting caution in interpreting and make generalization over the results, this study may be considered as a step forward in understanding the school environment and teacher- student relationships, particularly in the event of school failure. Given the limitations of the present work, suggesting caution in interpreting and make generalization over the results, this study may be considered as a step forward in understanding the school environment and teacher- student relationships, particularly in the event of school failure. However, further investigation is needed, first and foremost to verify the link between social representations of intelligence, responsibility and justification for school performance. However, further investigation is needed, first and foremost to verify the link between social representations of intelligence, responsibility and justification for school performance.

25 25 8th ICSR - Roma 28th August- 1st September 2006 Principal References Principal References Dweck, C.S., Chiu, C., Hong, Y. (1995). Implicit Theories and Their Role in Judgment and Reactions: A World From Two Prospectives. Psychological Inquiry, 6 (4), 267-28 Dweck, C.S., Chiu, C., Hong, Y. (1995). Implicit Theories and Their Role in Judgment and Reactions: A World From Two Prospectives. Psychological Inquiry, 6 (4), 267-28 Matteucci, M.C., & Gosling, P. (2004). Italian and French teachers faced with pupil’s academic failure: the norm of effort. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 19(2), 147-166 Matteucci, M.C., & Gosling, P. (2004). Italian and French teachers faced with pupil’s academic failure: the norm of effort. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 19(2), 147-166 Mugny, G., & Carugati, F. (1985). L’intelligence au pluriel. [Social representations of intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press] Cousset : Del Val. Mugny, G., & Carugati, F. (1985). L’intelligence au pluriel. [Social representations of intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press] Cousset : Del Val. Weiner, B. (1995). Judgment of responsibility. A foundation for a theory of social conduct. New York, London: Guilford Press. Weiner, B. (1995). Judgment of responsibility. A foundation for a theory of social conduct. New York, London: Guilford Press. Weiner, B. (2003). The classroom as a courtroom. Social Psychology of Education, 6, 3-15. Weiner, B. (2003). The classroom as a courtroom. Social Psychology of Education, 6, 3-15.


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