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As a teacher I am dealing with an extremely critical age which is adolescence stage. This stage as we learned in the psychology is characterized by diverse types of overflowing emotions. They are more biases towards seeing and judging the world by their souls and feelings than reasoning and logic. As stated in stiggins, "we can succeed as teachers only if we help our students want to learn. Motivation and desire represent the very foundations of learning. Desire and motivation are not academic achievement. They are affective characteristics". I highly belief that affect is directly proportional with disposition, for students to want to learn this will never be achieved unless there is love, respect and relaxing learning atmosphere between them and their teacher.
As cited in stiggins, an attitude is "a favorable or unfavorable feeling about something or someone". Throughout my experience it is proved that student' attitudes towards any specific subject as well as their academic performance is highly by their feelings of love and respect to their teacher. I have a personal experience that occurs this week with my student's in preparatory one. There was a generalized phenomenon that most of the students show bad performance in the weekly quiz. They attribute this to having an English assignment that consume great amount of time. I express negative feelings and informed them that I am not pleased with their achievement. Next day, I was astonished to find all the students gather themselves and come to me in the science lab to repeat the quiz after studying hard. I belief their desire to please me represents a driving force that encourages them to better academic performance.
* School related values:
I trust that we as do teachers play a major role in our students 'life. I certainly belief that part of my role as a teacher is to implement proper believes and values in my students minds. I can stop proceeding in my lesson if I find one of my students bulling his colleague. School is not only a place through which students raise their academic performance. They spend with us more time than that they spend with their parents. Consequently, we as teachers have to focus on ethical behaviors. Besides, I spotlight on the value that lies behind each scientific concept during my classes. I always inform my students that science can solve millions of questions in our daily life. Moreover, I have to guide my students to appreciate academic achievement and healthy lifestyle and belief that they are the most important channels that build a successful person.
*Academic self - efficacy:
Self-efficacy is defined as the belief that one is able to perform in a certain behavior to reach certain goals. I think that our role as teachers is to encourage in students "the desire to become everything that one is capable of becoming" (Weiner, 1980). As clarified in stiggins, "students, who perceive themselves as being in control of their own academic destiny and who, at the same, seeing learning success as being within their reach, are predisposed to do the things that will lead to success". Besides, teachers also have to trust that as long as their students are exhibiting effort, they can succeed. I as a teacher, I never close the door in front of my students. I find that it is best for them to trust that it is their own performance rather than exterior conditions that leads to success or failure. Psychologists define this as having "an internal locus of control".
During my reading in stiggins, I am really impressed by these words: "strong interests, like positive attitudes, can link students to their greater potential for success". I belief it is my duty to study my students and categorize them according to dispositions, interests and behaviors. Consequently, knowing how to motivate students is a very important issue that I must be aware of as this helps keeps them interested all the time. "Behaviors can be predicted by knowing which key opens what door" (Davis, 1999).
I think that academic aspiration is highly dependent on the previous two points which are academic self efficacy, academic interests as in this case the students have the aspiration to learn more than what is required from them. They want to explore and tackle more and more educational experiences. As cited in stiggins, "aspirations emerges from student's history of academic success or the lack of thereof, feelings of self-efficacy or control over the level of success, interests in the topics they are studying, and attitudes about school".
According to stiggins, anxiety can act as a driving force that pushes the students to better achievement on the other hand it can represent fear, stress, frustration and a spirit of losing hope for success. I think that the only way to defeat these problems in my classrooms is to teach my students that I am assessing them to promote learning. Moreover, I never grade them to punish or reward I only grade to help them know where are they from the learning process.
*Options for assessing affect and how I use them with my students:
As emphasized in stiggins, we can assess affect and disposition by three different methods which are written response such as questionnaires and reflections, performance assessment or personal communication with our students.
*Questionnaires and reflections:
Questionnaires represent one of the most effective ways of assessing affect and dispositions. I always give my students at the beginning of the academic year a questionnaire through which I give them the opportunity to participate under my guidance in designing the framework with which we are going to work. Besides, by the end of the first term I give them another questionnaire which is more likely to be a time for reflection on the past term. In the latter I ask the students not to write their names on it and this to create a space for them to suggest ideas that they think would facilitate the learning process for them and we discuss them. Consequently, as cited in stiggins, I have to "focus on topics that students care about and making sure they know we will act on results in a way that benefit from". Moreover, I sometimes give my students open ended questions in which they can express their feelings towards specific event. Although, as I mentioned I only refer to this in specific situations in which I need to know my students reflections on them as my subject area "science" doesn't need great amount of reflections as do languages. Throughout my experience I discovered that students prefer this written type of assessment more than the other two ways which requires the necessity of face to face speech.
* Performance observations in assessing dispositions:
I totally agree with stiggins, that "developing performance assessments of dispositions requires that you follow exactly the same basic design sequence used for performance assessment for achievement". I must set clear the performance that I am going to judge, specify the observed task, identify the scoring rubric and finally record the results in my register form to avoid falling in bias problems. This does not mean that I am against ongoing impulsive observation assessments as they are necessary for maintain what is called positive attitudes within my classes. Although, I as a teacher must be very careful in evaluating my students as cited in stiggins, "what if our casual observations and intuitive inferences about the underlying causes of the behavior we see is wrong".
Going through discussions and interviews with my students reflects for me the feelings that they posses towards everything related to the learning process. I always try my best to gain the trust of my students and consequently, they can be open and honest with me in expressing their feeling, dispositions and affects. Of course conferences and interviews in classrooms help teachers to show friendship, trusts, and interest in students and also helps students to perform additional work and enjoy the class as it motivate both the teacher and the students.
We as teachers can spend an entire day in a classroom trying to engage students in learning know they are not all the same. What works with one, may not work with another. Each student is motivated differently. As we try to solve the motivation mystery, may the words of Anatole France serve as a guide: "The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards?"