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Understanding the Meaning of Effort in Learning a Motor Skill: Ability Conceptions

Weidong Li

This study was designed to examine the relationship between conceptions of ability and understandings of the meaning of effort. Participants practiced a novel task and completed an ability conceptions questionnaire prior to instruction and a meaning of effort survey after practicing the task. The majority of participants believed in the efficacy of effort, no matter what view of ability they endorsed. Partial support was provided for the proposition that participants with stronger incremental views of ability were likely to endorse the view that trying hard allowed them to fully use their ability. It is suggested that, to promote active engagement and enhance skill learning, teachers capitalize on the belief in the efficacy of effort by focusing their motivational strategies on students’ effort.

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Relationships among Dispositional Ability Conceptions, Intrinsic Motivation, Perceived Competence, Experience, and Performance

Weidong Li, Amelia M. Lee, and Melinda A. Solmon

This study was designed to explore the relationships among individuals’ dispositional ability conceptions, intrinsic motivation, experience, perceived competence, persistence, and performance. Participants practiced a novel task, completed surveys before instruction and after practicing the task, and completed a skill test. The results indicated that participants with higher levels of entity ability conceptions were likely to exert less effort and be less intrinsically motivated during practice. Participants with more experience were likely to feel more competent before and after practice. Perceived competence, incremental ability conceptions, and performance were positive predictors of intrinsic motivation. The results suggest that providing students opportunities to experience a variety of activities and creating an environment in which students can feel competent, believe in the efficacy of effort, and experience success could foster intrinsic motivation to actively engage in activities.

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Children’s Motor Skill Learning is Influenced by Their Conceptions of Ability

Ricardo Drews, Suzete Chiviacowsky, and Gabriele Wulf

The present study investigated the effects of different ability conceptions on motor skills learning in 6-, 10-, and 14-year-old children. In each age group, different groups were given either inherent-ability or acquirable-skill instructions before they began practicing a throwing task. Participants were blindfolded and were asked to throw beanbags at a target placed on the floor at a distance of 3 m. All participants performed 40 practice trials and received feedback about the accuracy of their throws after each trial. One day after practice, retention and transfer (greater target distance) tests without instructions or feedback were conducted to assess learning effects. Older participants generally had higher accuracy scores than younger participants. Importantly, instructions emphasizing the learnability of the skill resulted in greater throwing accuracy on the retention test than did those implying an underlying inherent ability. On the transfer test, the same effect was seen for the 14-year-olds, but not for the younger age groups, suggesting that adolescents may be more vulnerable to the threat of their inherent ability being exposed. The present findings demonstrate the importance of ability conceptions for motor learning in children and adolescents. They also add to the mounting evidence of motivational influences on motor skill learning.

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Can Ability Conceptualizations Alter the Impact of Social Comparison in Motor Learning?

Gabriele Wulf, Rebecca Lewthwaite, and Andrew Hooyman

We examined the interactive influence of normative feedback and conceptions of ability on the learning of a balance task. Ability conceptions were induced by instructions portraying the task as either an acquirable skill or reflecting an inherent ability. Bogus normative feedback about the “average” balance scores of others on a given trial suggested that participants’ performance was either above (Better groups) or below average (Worse groups). Thus, there were four groups: Inherent-Ability Better, Inherent-Ability Worse, Acquirable-Skill Better, and Acquirable-Skill Worse. Following two days of practice, learning was assessed on Day 3 in retention and dual-task transfer tests. The Better groups demonstrated more effective learning than the Worse groups. Questionnaire results revealed differences in self-related concerns between those groups. Signature size changes suggested that participants in the Worse groups perceived negative normative feedback as a threat to the self. The findings highlight the importance of motivational influences on motor learning.

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The Association Between Pupil-Related Psychological Factors and Academic Achievement in Physical Education

Ruben Vist Hagen, Håvard Lorås, Hermundur Sigmundsson, and Monika Haga

ability conceptions, intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, experience, and performance . Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 24 ( 1 ), 51 – 65 . 10.1123/jtpe.24.1.51 Little , R.J. ( 1988 ). A test of missing completely at random for multivariate

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Student Attitudes Toward Inclusion in Physical Education: The Impact of Ability Beliefs, Gender, and Previous Experiences

Raul Reina, Yeshayahu Hutzler, María C. Iniguez-Santiago, and Juan A. Moreno-Murcia

with visual impairments and deafblindness . RE:view: Rehabilitation Education for Blindness and Visual Impairment, 36 ( 4 ), 141 – 153 . doi:10.3200/REVU.36.4.141-154 Lodewyk , K. ( 2009 ). Relations among beliefs about epistemology, ability conceptions, and achievement in high school physical