The effects of physical education classes conducted according to different motivational climates on students’ achievement goals, motivational strategies and attitudes toward physical education
The aim of this study was to analyze whether conducting physical education lessons according to different motivational climates leads to a significant difference between students’ achievement goals, motivational strategies and attitudes toward physical education. The study subjects were 109 ninth grade students. The subjects were allocated to one of three experimental groups or to the control group. All of the students were applied pretests at the beginning of the semester. The researchers conducted a 12-week program of physical education lessons with the experimental groups in the school gym. The program used the same lesson plans however, in each experimental group, the researchers created different motivational climates (mastery, performance approach or performance avoidance) according to the Motivational Climate Observer Control List. The physical education lessons of the control group were conducted by the physical education teacher of the school. Consequently it was observed that the mastery and performance approach motivational climates within physical education lessons provides positive outputs in terms of cognitive and affective scores.
Achievement motivation and conditions within educational environments play an important role in activating students’ beliefs regarding achievement. These situational elements are related to students’ perceptions of the motivational climate. Motivational climate is the affective and social situation related to the interpersonal processes in learning environment and evaluation (Ames, 1992a; Nicholls, 1989). According to Duda (1993), since physical education lessons are the environments in which skills are demonstrated, and standards of excellence and performance evaluation is clear and obvious, motivational climate becomes an effective and important element of learning. Different studies pointed out the relationship between motivational climate, student behaviors, student attitudes and achievement goals (Ames, 1992b; Ames and Archer, 1988; Epstein, 1989; Treasure, 1993; Treasure and Roberts, 1994; 1995).
Ames and Archer (1988) determined that perception of mastery goal emphasis within a class environment had a positive relationship with learning strategies; and that the achievement goals of students affected their cognitive strategies. Examining previous studies of performance goals reveals differences between study findings. While some studies indicate that performance goals are positively related to superficial or effective academic study, other studies reported no relationship between performance goal and the use of cognitive strategies. Cognitive strategies are related to cognitive processes and the behaviors that students use in order to complete a task or achieve an objective in an academic subject during their learning experiences (Boekaerts, 1996). Zimmerman (1989) suggested that students’ efforts to regulate their learning involves three classes of determinants: their personal processes, the environment, and their behavior.
Strategies enable student learners to personally (self-) regulate their behavior and environment as well as their covert functioning (Zimmerman, 1990). Motivational belief is one of the most important elements in promoting students’ self-regulation of motivation. Motivational beliefs, including self-efficacy, intrinsic value and text anxiety, are defined by Pintrich and De Groot (1990) as a student’s perspective and beliefs in relation to his/her academic performance in the class and his/her cognitive activities. According to social cognitive theories, attitude also affects students’ achievement within a learning environment. It is known that physical education lessons include the provision of information about the relationship between physical activity and a healthy life, and thus promote a positive attitude towards physical activity (Goldfine, Nahas, 1993).
For this reason, Siedentop and Tannehill (2000) determined that the objective of physical education programs has become the creation of a positive attitude towards physical activity. Considering that cognitive and affective variables within a learning environment are related, it becomes important to examine these variables together and determine the level of relationship between them. This relationship indicates that motivational climate, which is an affective variable of the learning environment, has an effect on the affective elements related to individuals, including achievement goals and attitudes; and on motivational strategies, which are one of the cognitive variables of a learning environment. Therefore the objective of this study was to analyze whether there is a significant difference between mean scores of students’ achievement goals, motivational strategies and attitude towards physical education when physical education classes are conducted according to different motivational climates.
In this research an experimental design, which includes pre-test and post-test with a control group, was used. Pre-tests were applied to three different experimental groups, physical education classes were conducted according to different motivational climates throughout one semester and post-tests were applied at the end of the semester. At the end of the semester, focus group discussions were also done with five students from each group. Pre-test and post-test were applied to the control group in the beginning and at the end of the semester. Lesson plans which were used in the main study were tested with a pre-study in the second semester of 2008- 2009 academic year. Three ninth grade classes participated in pre-study and the convenience of lesson plans to grade level and to formation of motivational climates that were used in this study, by applying physical education lesson plans. Lesson plans were applied to three different experimental groups as mastery, performance approach and performance avoidance motivational climate.
The classes were video-taped, these tapes were watched by three specialists, who are experts in curriculum development, Achievement Goal Theory and physical education, and by considering the specialists’ opinions and the difficulties that have emerged during application by the researcher, the lesson plans took its final form. Experimental groups of the main study contained 81 (40 female, 41 male) ninth grade students from a public school in Denizli city center). Data of the students, who were absent in physical education classes for more than three weeks, was excluded. Control group contained 28 (14 female, 14 male) ninth grade students from the same high school. Mean age of the research group was X Age=14.378±0.487. In the beginning of the semester, Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) was applied to test whether the experimental and control groups were cognitively equal; Attitudes Toward Physical Education and Sport Scale (ATPESS) was applied to test the equality of attitudes towards physical education classes of experimental and control groups. Physical Activity Assessment Questionnaire (PAAQ) was applied to test the equality in terms of physical activity levels.
Cognitive, affective and physical activity level equivalencies of the experimental and control groups were tested by One Way ANOVA Test and it has been determined that these three groups are equal in terms of test scores [ATPESS F (3,115) = 3.162, p = .127; GEFT F (3,115) = .875, p = .456; PAAQ F (3,114) = 2.504, p = .063)]. Permission to conduct the study was obtained from Hacettepe University Ethics Committee and Denizli Ministry of Education. Trichotomous Achievement Goal Scale (TAGS), Trichotomous Motivational Climate Scale (TMCS) and Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) were applied to the students in experimental and control groups in the beginning of first semester of 2009-2010 academic year. Lessons began in school’s gym in the second week of semester. The first researcher conducted the physical education classes of the mastery climate group, the performance approach climate group, and the performance avoidance climate group for 12 weeks in the gym. Physical education classes of the control group were conducted by physical education teacher of the school. The classes were video-taped and these tapes have been watched by a curriculum development in physical education specialist, a Achievement Goal Theory specialist and a physical education field specialist.
To control whether the appropriate motivational climate had been created by the teacher in each experimental group, the experts used the Motivational Climate Observer Control List. Motivational Climate Observer Control List was prepared by the first researcher by considering Epstein (1989)’s TARGET (Task, Authority, Recognition, Grouping, Evaluation, Time) elements and took its final form during pre-study stage. For the lessons, which were assessed according to Motivational Climate Observer Control List, the consistency among experts were calculated 80% for mastery climate lesson, 70% for the performance approach climate lesson and 73.3% for the performance avoidance climate lesson. The lessons were conducted by using the same subjects, teaching methods and styles, teaching materials, assessment materials and time periods in all three experimental groups. However, in each experimental group, different motivational climates were created by the researcher.
While creating mastery, performance approach and performance avoidance motivational climates, Motivational Climate Observer Control List were used as a base. During the 12-week of application period, all three experimental groups practiced fundamental practices for 1 week, track & field for 2 weeks, volleyball for 5 weeks, and basketball for 4 weeks. In all three experimental groups, practice, reciprocal and inclusion styles were used. In week thirteen, five students from each group (a total of 15 students) were selected by using affirmative or falsifiable case sampling method and a separate focus group discussion was made with each test group. During these focus group discussions, students were informed that their comments would not affect their grades and would not be shared with someone else and they were also encouraged to be sincere. In the focus group discussions, made with each experimental group, the aim was to receive the opinions of the students about motivational climate applications. After these discussions were recorded by voice recorders and put down on paper, codification was done by three experts, reliability among coders was calculated and findings were analyzed in consideration of these codes. The post-tests that were applied at the end of the semester to the experimental and control groups to test the hypothesis of the study were TAGS, TMCS, MSLQ, and ATPESS.
1. 4X3 MANOVA was applied to TAGS development scores of the experimental and control group students. Mastery achievement goal development score of mastery experimental groups increased significantly, and mastery achievement goal development score of performance approach experimental group decreased significantly, performance approach achievement goal development score of performance approach experimental group increased significantly, performance avoidance achievement goal development scores of performance avoidance experimental groups increased significantly, mastery and performance approach achievement goal development score of control group increased while performance avoidance achievement goal development score decreased.
2. 4X3 MANOVA was applied to TAGS development scores of the experimental and control group students and the effect of motivational climates of physical education lessons on achievement goals of students were found to be statistically significant [Wilks’ ? = .870, F (3, 106) = 5.100, ?2 = .130 and p = .002]. Scheffe Test results revealed that; mastery achievement goal of performance avoidance experimental group was significantly lower than mastery and performance approach experimental groups; performance approach achievement goal of performance approach experimental group was significantly higher than control group.
3. 4X5 MANOVA was applied to MSLQ development scores of the experimental and control group students and the effect of motivational climates of physical education lessons on self-regulation, cognitive strategy use, self-efficacy and intrinsic value of students were found to be statistically significant [Wilks’ ? = .749, F (3, 106) = 6.709, ?2= .251 and p =.000]. Scheffe Test results revealed that; cognitive strategy use of mastery experimental group was significantly higher than performance avoidance experimental group and control group; self-efficacy of mastery experimental group was significantly higher than performance avoidance experimental group and control group; intrinsic value of mastery experimental group was significantly higher than performance avoidance experimental group and control group and performance approach experimental group was significantly higher than performance avoidance experimental group.
4. One Way ANOVA was applied on the ATPESS development scores of the experimental and control group students and the effect of motivational climates of physical education lessons on attitudes toward physical education of students was found to be statistically significant [F (3, 106) = 12.442, p = .000]. Scheffe Test results revealed that; attitudes toward physical education of performance avoidance experimental group were significantly lower than other three groups.
Qualitative data obtained from focus group discussions support the findings. While the students in the “mastery” and “performance approach” experimental groups reported that their interest in physical education lessons increased, the students in the “performance avoidance” experimental group stated that they were disturbed by the lesson and the competitive environment within the lesson.
It was observed that the mastery and performance approach climate in physical education lessons resulted in more positive results in terms of students’ cognitive and affective aspects in comparison to the perceptions of students in the performance avoidance climate. As a result, it is suggested that Turkish physical education teachers adopt mastery and performance approach climates with high school teachers. To achieve this, teachers need to learn how to use TARGET elements in changing the motivational climates of lessons. This problem can be achieved by in-service education programs prepared for teachers.
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