How do teacher messages about failure relate to students’ subsequent engagement and achievement?

LAURA NICHOLSON, DAVID PUTWAIN, GULSAH KUTUK

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Prior to high-stakes examinations, teachers may warn students of the negative consequences of failure in an effort to increase engagement and ultimately achievement. These types of messages, namely fear appeals, have been shown to indirectly relate to engagement and achievement in different ways depending on how they are evaluated by the student. When fear appeals are evaluated as a challenge, they are positively related to engagement and achievement. When evaluated as a threat, fear appeals are negatively related to engagement and achievement. In the present study, we offer a robust test of these relations. Importantly, we assess how fear appeals relate to subsequent engagement and achievement, mediated by message evaluation.
Design: This study used a two-wave longitudinal design and a multilevel structural equation model that controlled for autoregressive and concurrent relations in the domain of mathematics.
Methods: Self-reported data were collected from 1,530 participants, aged 14-16 years, at two time points over the final two years of secondary education. These data were linked to prior and subsequent achievement.
Results: Students who attended more to teacher fear appeals showed greater subsequent engagement, if fear appeals were evaluated as a challenge, and lower subsequent achievement, if evaluated as a threat.
Conclusions: Fear appeals may be an effective strategy to improve students’ outcomes, such as engagement and achievement, but only if students evaluate the message as a challenge. Given the difficulties associated with teachers judging students’ motivation and emotion as private experiences, fear appeals should be used with caution.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2021
EventBritish Psychological Society Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference - Virtual
Duration: 8 Sep 20219 Sep 2021

Conference

ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference
Period8/09/219/09/21

Keywords

  • Education

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'How do teacher messages about failure relate to students’ subsequent engagement and achievement?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this