Teachers' goal orientations and conceptions of teaching and learning: An exploratory study

Sindu George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The current paper reports on the impact of teachers' different goal orientations on their conceptions of teaching and learning. Data were drawn from thirty-six teachers from three schools in the Melbourne area, and twelve teacher education students. Data regarding their goal orientations were collected using the teacher goals scale developed by Butler (2007). Three goal orientations were taken into consideration: mastery, ability-approach, and ability-avoidance. The Teaching and Learning Conceptions Questionnaire (TLCQ) developed by Elliot and Chan (2004) was employed to collect data on teachers' constructivist, teacher-centered, directive, and transmissive conceptions of teaching and learning. Correlation analyses revealed a strong and positive correlation between mastery goal orientations and constructivist conceptions of teaching and learning (r = .58). Significant negative correlations were observed between mastery and teacher-centered (r = - .44) as well as directive (r = - .31) conceptions of teaching, whereas the correlation with transmissive conceptions of teaching was not significant. Ability-approach goal orientation did not show significant correlation with any of the conceptions regarding teaching and learning, while ability-avoidance goal orientation was inversely related with constructivist conceptions of teaching and learning (r = - .41). Although the study was conducted with a modest sample size of 48, the significant relationships between the mastery goal orientation of teachers and their constructivist conceptions of teaching and learning underscore the importance of mastery goal orientations of teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalThe International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Ability-approach goals
  • Ability-avoidance goals
  • Constructivist conceptions
  • Directive conceptions
  • Mastery goals
  • Teachercentered conceptions
  • Transmissive conceptions

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