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Student's attribution of success and self-perception of abilities in the teacher-student interaction Cartwright, Johanna S

Abstract

Sevaral studies present evidence which supports the proposition that we infer our attitudes and internal states from observation of our overt behaviour and that these inferences are related to differential knowledge or attributions about the reasons for the behaviour. This proposition was examined in the teacher-student interaction from the student’s point of view. Sixty subjects participated in a learning experience. Half the subjects ware taught by a so called expert teacher (high-expert) and the remaining half were taught by a fellow student (low-expert). All subjects received success feed-back after the teaching period. It was expected that subjects in the high-expert condition would attribute success to the teacher more than those in the low-expert group. In addition it was predicted that subjects in the high-expert group would expect to do poorer on a second learning task without the help of the teacher, than subjects in the low-expert group. The results indicated that the experimental manipulation was successful in producing differential perception of teacher expertise. The two hypotheses, however, were not confirmed by the data. Several points of methodological and theoretical nature were raised, which suggest possible future avenues of research in the area of attribution in social interaction.

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