Dweck's Achievement Goal Theory

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It has been now accepted that achievement goal theory is ‘ one of the most prominent theories of motivation in educational research’ in the last two decades (Senko, Hulleman, & Harackiewicz, 2011, p. 26). According to Dweck’s achievement goal theory (1986), individuals’ behaviour is driven by two different patterns: adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive achievement behaviours are those according to which people always try to challenge themselves and grow personally, as well as maintain their abilities and skills. Maladaptive achievement behaviours, on the other hand are those according to which individuals fail to achieve their goals or fail to attain those goals that used to be in their reach. Similarly, goal orientation can be divided in two …show more content…
These mindsets are the incremental and the fixed mindset. The first one refers to the notion that we can all change and develop through experience, which often relates to the mastery orientation mentioned above. Individuals with incremental mindset tend to believe that any skills they have can be fortified by putting effort on becoming better at them. The second one refers to the belief that nothing can be done about our abilities and skills, as they are established, they relate to our talents, they are inherited and cannot be changed nor developed. This type of mindset matches to the ego orientation, as individuals feel the need to prove to others that they can make it, rather than doing it for personal acknowledgement. Dweck’s (1986) table helps us understand clearly how the behaviour patterns are differentiated according to confidence in ability and goal orientation (see table …show more content…
For instance, Ahmavaara and Houston (2007) add to Dweck’s theory, by stating that the school type in which young people attend to has a statistical effect on their aspirations, as those who attended non-selective schools used to have lower aspirations than their peers who studied in a selective school. Moreover, the first group was found to have more fixed beliefs, which is not discussed in Dweck’s theory. However, it should be acknowledged that those findings are consistent with her theory, as they are related to the fact that individuals who have an incremental theory of intelligence are highly motivated and persistent and are therefore more likely to attend selective schools, while this motivation also prompts them into having higher aspirations (Ahmavaara & Houston, 2007). The same researchers also mention that ‘In her work, Dweck does not allude to differences in actual ability in relation to theory of intelligence so it seems that the differences we found between pupils in selective vs. non-selective schools are likely to be a product of the selection process.’ (p.

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