Optimism...pessimism and the student learning experience

Terry Barber

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper explores optimism, pessimism and the variable effects this can have on student achievement. Firstly, there is an examination of theoretical frameworks which relate to situational and dispositional aspects. Secondly, the paper draws upon recent research carried out by the author with 106 undergraduate Community Education students at the University of Dundee, which examined explanatory style theory; situational/dispositional influence and the relationship with student achievement. Most people have an overall optimistic or pessimistic explanatory style. Explanatory style theory offers a framework for understanding how we habitually explain ‘bad' or ‘good' events in our everyday lives. Dispositional optimism refers to generalized outcome expectancies that good things, rather than bad things, will happen; pessimism refers to the tendency to expect negative outcomes in the future. Situational optimism refers to the expectations an individual generates for a particular situation concerning whether good, rather than bad, things will happen. Finally, the paper offers a model for developing a more creative and optimistic learning climate with students which contributes to a positive impact on mental well-being.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    EventLiving and Learning, Learning and Teaching: mental health in higher education - Lancaster, United Kingdom
    Duration: 30 Mar 201031 Mar 2010


    ConferenceLiving and Learning, Learning and Teaching: mental health in higher education
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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