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Bernard Weiner: Theory of Attribution
Transcript of Bernard Weiner: Theory of Attribution
Weiner proposed the theory of attribution to explain how individuals interpret academic success and failure.
Motivation for Education
According to Weiner, individuals
feel the need to explain their success
or failure and this need is more prevalent in situations where the outcome was not
expected (i.e. a student scores an "F" on
an assignment but expected an "A".
A basic assumption of Weiner's theory is that an inidividual's perception of why they succeeded or failed influences how they will perform in the future.
Individual's attribute successes and failures to four factors:
I have always been a straight A student!
I studied for hours for this test!
That test was super easy!
Thank goodness I was familiar
with the subject!
Internal Locus of Control
Refers to whether an individual attributes success or failure to internal or external causes.
If an individual views the cause as stable, they would expect the outcome in a similar situation to be the same as the outcome they experienced before
Refers to whether an individual views the cause as one they can change or to a cause over which they have no control.
1. If they attribute their academis success to:
internal, unstable factors over
which they have control (i.e. effort)
internal, stable factors over which
they have little control but which may sometimes be disrupted by other factors (i.e. ability disrupted by occassional bad luck
2. If they attribute their failures to internal,
unstable factors over which they have control (i.e. effort)
That professor is not a good teacher !
I didn't have enough time to study!
The classroom was too hot!
I take really good notes!
I was born with the dumb gene!
I just have good luck!
My teacher hates me...she wants me to fail!
mental ability or capacity
test taking strategies
According to the theory of attribution . . .
Students will be motivated and persistent at academic tasks if they attribute their academic successes to:
1. Internal, unstable factors over which they have control (e.g. effort) or internal, stable factors over which they have little control but which may sometimes be disrupted by other factors (e.g. ability disrupted by occasional bad luck)
2. If they attribute their failures to internal, unstable factors over which they have control (i.e. effort)
How are attributions communicated to learners?
Teachers communicate important information to their students through their feedback on assignments, and during classroom instruction. If teachers communicate that failures (i.e. poor exam grade) are due to external factors such as poor study efforts or testing strategies, students are more likely to be academically motivated in the future (Anderman, 2009).
You earned it!
It shows that you worked hard!
Wow, it was your lucky day!
Today was my lucky day!
I'm just super smart!
I will study just as hard for the next
I will never be good at science
no matter how hard I try!
Strategies for Educators
Help student's identify failures that are due to controllable, unstable causes (i.e. effort, test-taking skills).
Create an "open" classroom environment by setting high student expectations and attributions that promote a student's personal belief in goal attainment.
Present course material and assignments that are challenging and provide opportunity for verbal and written feedback that increases the student's motivation.
Use attribution statements that promote success.
Use assessment tools that help student's identify their beliefs on causal dimensions of their success and failure.
Avoid educator bias that underestimates students abilities based on inaccurate perceptions
Anderman E., & Anderman, L. (2009). Attribution Theory. Retrieved from http://www.education.com/reference/article/attribution-theory/
Attribution Theory. Retrieved from http://education.purduecal.edu/Vokell/EdPsyBook/Edpsy5/edpsy5 attribution.htm
Bernard Weiner: Attribution Theory, Lesson & Quiz. Retrieved from http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/bernard-weiner-attribution-theory-lesson-quiz.html
Weiner, B. (1990). History of motivation research in education. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(4), 616-622. doi:10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.199
Weiner, B. (2000). Intrapersonal and interpersonal theories of motivation from an attributional perspective. Educational Psychology Review, 12(1), 1-14
According to the theory of attribution the way in which individuals explain success and failure can be classified based on 3 categories or what Weiner described as "causal dimensions":
1. Internal Locus of Control
3 . Controllability