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Teachers' Emphasis on Mastery Goals Moderates the Behavioral Correlates of Coolness in Early Adolescent Classrooms

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Abstract

This study investigated how two aspects of the classroom environment (teachers' emphasis on mastery goals and descriptive norms (i.e., the average student disruptive, prosocial, and achievement-related behavior in a classroom), moderated the relationship between student behaviors and coolness. The sample included 976 students nested in 54 fifth-and sixth-grade classrooms. Students completed peer nominations of coolness and three behaviors (prosocial, disrup-tive, and academic achievement). Students reported on the extent to which their teacher emphasized mastery goals in the classroom. The extent to which each of these three behaviors correlated with coolness varied across classrooms. The variability between classrooms in the behavioral correlates of coolness was not related to descriptive norms but was related to classroom mastery goals. In classrooms with a high-mastery goal emphasis, good grades and prosocial behavior were more likely to be perceived as cool. Our findings also suggest the need for future studies to examine the direct effect of prosocial descriptive norms on nominations of coolness. This study adds to a growing literature on how teaching practices matter for peer relationships in the classroom.

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... Although this is the first study to exclusively investigate students' perceptions of TMPR, there is a growing body of work from the past decade showing that teachers can and do affect a variety of peer ecology outcomes including levels of peer acceptance (Hendrickx et al., 2017), the formation of friendships (Cappella et al., 2017), and the extent to which prosocial and disruptive behaviors are associated with popularity (McKellar et al., 2021). Much of the empirical evidence about teachers' influence on the peer ecology derives from classroom observations or students' perceptions about broader aspects of teaching (e.g. ...
... Our study adds to emerging evidence showing that teachers' support for students' motivation is positively associated with students' perceptions that their popular peers are academically responsible (McKellar et al., 2021). ...
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We studied how specific motivational processes are related to the salience of mastery and performance goals in actual classroom settings. One hundred seventy-six students attending a junior high/high school for academically advanced students were randomly selected from one of their classes and responded to a questionnaire on their perceptions of the classroom goal orientation, use of effective learning strategies, task choices, attitudes, and causal attributions. Students who perceived an emphasis on mastery goals in the classroom reported using more effective strategies, preferred challenging tasks, had a more positive attitude toward the class, and had a stronger belief that success follows from one's effort. Students who perceived performance goals as salient tended to focus on their ability, evaluating their ability negatively and attributing failure to lack of ability. The pattern and strength of the findings suggest that the classroom goal orientation may facilitate the maintenance of adaptive motivation patterns when mastery goals are salient and are adopted by students. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Article
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Bullying and victimization were studied from a longitudinal, multi-method, multi-agent perspective as youngsters made the transition from primary through middle school. Generally, bullying and aggression increased with the transition to middle school and then declined. Bullying mediated youngsters' dominance status during the transition. Bullying may be one way in which young adolescents manage peer and dominance relationships as they make the transition into new social groups. Victimization declined from primary to secondary school. Correspondingly, youngsters' peer affiliations decreased, initially with the transition, and then recovered. Victimization, however, was buffered by peer affiliation, especially like most nominations relative to friendship nominations, during this time. Additionally, and consistent with the idea that bullying is used for dominance displays, cross-sex comparisons of aggressive bouts indicated that boys targeted other boys and did not target girls. Results are discussed in terms of the changing functions of aggression during adolescence.
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Much research has focused on youth who are rejected by peers; who engage in negative behavior, including aggression; and who are at risk for adjustment problems. Recently, researchers have become increasingly interested in high-status youth. A distinction is made between two groups of high-status youth: those who are genuinely well liked by their peers and engage in predominantly prosocial behaviors and those who are seen as popular by their peers but are not necessarily well liked. The latter group of youth is well known, socially central, and emulated; but displays a mixed profle of prosocial as well as aggressive and manipulative behaviors. Research now needs to address the distinctive characteristics of these two groups and their developmental precursors and consequences. Of particular interest are high-status and socially powerful aggressors and their impact on their peers. The heterogeneity of high-status youth complicates the understanding of the social dynamics of the peer group, but will lead to new and important insights into the developmental significance of peer relationships.
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This study examined gender and status differences among sixth through eighth grade early adolescents' (N = 387) descriptions of what it means to be popular. More boys than girls specified being cool, athletic, funny, and defiant/risky, whereas more girls than boys identified wearing nice clothing, being attractive, mean, snobby, rude, and sociable as descriptors of popularity. Descriptions also varied as a function of the individual's status: adolescents who were perceived as popular described popularity primarily in positive terms, whereas adolescents perceived as average and unpopular used both positive and negative terms. Compared with their same-gender peers, more popular boys indicated being cool, attractive, and athletic, whereas more popular girls specified being athletic and liked. Compared with popular girls, more average girls used the terms mean and conceited in their descriptions, whereas more average and unpopular girls indicated the term snobby. This study illustrates the complexity and variability in early adolescents' social constructions of popularity.
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This study examined the degree to which children and adolescents prioritize popularity in the peer group over other relational domains. Participants were 1013 children and adolescents from grade 1 through senior year of college (ages 6–22 years) who were presented with a series of social dilemmas in which attaining popularity was opposed to five other priorities: friendship, personal achievement, following rules, prosocial behavior, and romantic interests. A curvilinear trend was found for the priority of popularity that peaked in early adolescence. At this age especially, participants prioritized status enhancement over other domains. Across the age range of this study, males and majority students were more preoccupied with reputational status than females and minority students. The discussion focused on the developmental functions of reputational status in early adolescence.
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The frequency of cheating in today’s classrooms undermines educators’ efforts and threatens students’ learning. Data from 444 high school students in 48 math and science classrooms at two time points were analyzed to examine the classroom and individual influences on students’ attributions of blame for cheating and to examine the relationship between students’ attributions of blame for cheating and subsequent cheating behavior. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that student-level and aggregate views of teacher characteristics were related to concurrent and subsequent attribution of cheating blame to teachers and to subsequent cheating behaviors, over and above the influence of moral emotion dispositions. La fréquence de la tricherie scolaire met actuellement à mal les efforts des enseignants et menace l’apprentissage des étudiants. L’analyse de données recueillies en deux temps sur 444 étudiants issus de 48 classes de mathématiques et de sciences a permis d’explorer les influences de la classe et les influences individuelles sur l’attribution par les étudiants de la responsabilité de la tricherie et d’examiner la relation entre les attributions de responsabilité de la tricherie par les étudiants et leurs comportements subséquents de tricherie. La modélisation hiérarchique linéaire a indiqué que les mesures au niveau individuel (étudiant) et l’opinion (agrégée au niveau de la classe) qu’ont les étudiants des enseignants étaient liés, au-delà de l’influence de dispositions relatives aux émotions morales, (1) à l’attribution, simultanée et subséquente, de la responsabilité de la tricherie aux enseignants et (2) à des comportements subséquents de tricherie.
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Despite a recent increase in research on the associations between classroom goal structures, motivation, affect, and achievement, little is known about the effects of changes in the perceived classroom goal structure as students move from one grade level to another. Comparisons of students who perceived an increase, decrease, or no change in the mastery and performance goal structures of their classrooms during the transition to middle school and across two grades within middle school revealed that changes in the mastery goal structure were more strongly related to changes in cognition, affect, and performance than were changes in the performance goal structure. The most negative pattern of change was associated with a perceived decrease in the mastery goal structure.