“What can teachers do to encourage mastery motivation?
…1. Provide a moderate choice of activities. Choosing activities promotes autonomy and offers children some control over their own learning. Research indicates that a modest number of choices, rather than no choice or a large number of choices, is optimal in enhancing intrinsic motivation.
2. Provide children with activities that offer opportunities to learn rather than opportunities only to be correct or incorrect. For example, provide problem-posing tasks, games, or other activities in which there are several possible ways to solve the problems posed.
3. Support children’s activities in ways that do not interfere with autonomy. Sometimes this requires adults to wait rather than anticipate a child’s needs when she encounters difficulty with a task. If the child is getting very frustrated, a well-timed suggestion (e.g., ‘Maybe if you turn that piece around…’) rather than a direct command (e.g., ‘That piece fits here’) may support her attempts to persist.
4. Ask parents about their perspectives on their child’s motivation. Parents know what children enjoy doing and what challenges provide them with pride in accomplishment.” (70)
Future research needed into mastery motivation, the author suggested (in 1998!) included exploring the following questions:
“To what extent do peers challenge each other as they persist together on a joint enterprise? To what extent do thesocial dynamics of a classroom offer a range of challenges appropriate for each child? To what extent do children develop a sense of shared agency in making a difference in their preschool classroom?” (70)
Ref: Penny Hauser-Cram (1998) ‘I think I can, I think I can: Understanding and encouraging mastery motivation in young children’ Young Children, July, pp67-71