ERIC Number: ED400124
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Oct
Working with Perfectionist Students. ERIC Digest.
Perfectionist students are not satisfied with merely doing well or even with doing better than their peers. They are satisfied only if they have done a job perfectly. Problems associated with forms of perfectionism that focus on seeking success are relatively minor, but problems associated with forms of perfectionism that focus on avoiding failure can be destructive to achievement motivation. This digest lists the characteristics of student perfectionism, including: (1) performance standards that are impossibly high and rigid; (2) motivation from fear of failure; (3) difficulty in taking credit or pleasure in accomplishments because such achievement is merely what is expected; and (4) procrastination in getting started on work that will be judged. The digest then discusses the performance norms and work expectations that perfectionist students need to relearn, including understanding that: (1) schools are places to learn knowledge and skills, not merely to demonstrate them; (2) errors are normal, expected, and necessary aspects of the learning process; and (3) it is usually more helpful to measure progress by comparing where one is now with where one was, than by comparing oneself with peers or with ideals of perfection. The digest concludes with a list of strategies that effective teachers can use to help perfectionist students, including: (1) building a friendly, supportive learning environment; (2) establishing that mistakes are a normal part of the learning process; and (3) articulating expectations that stress learning and improvement over perfect performance on assignments. Through such strategies teachers can learn to support the success-seeking aspects of achievement motivation while working to reduce unrealistic goal setting. (LPP)
Descriptors: Academic Aspiration, Academic Failure, Achievement Need, Attitude Change, Cognitive Restructuring, Elementary Secondary Education, Goal Orientation, Learning Motivation, Personality Traits, Student Attitudes, Student Characteristics, Student Motivation, Teacher Expectations of Students, Teacher Influence, Teacher Student Relationship
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.