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Expectations of yourself matter!!!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
A week or 2 ago, Vera Chen, whom I am mentoring in Beijing noted that life is undesignable though we think we are designing our lives. She also noted that one needs to walk through life and make decisions--good or bad--and get to know life better. She asked me if I believed that when people lower their expectations on life, they are more happy. I replied with the following:

"I think we lower and raise our expectations of life each day. When successful we raise them. When we meet famous people, we raise them. When we think about unique opportunities, we raise them. When we get positive feedback or recognition, we raise them. And there are more times when we lower them."

While expecations others have of you are key to your growth in life, perhaps even more important is your internal system of expectations, your volition, your passion, and your goals. Do not let others steal that away from you. As Bandura said, it is self-efficacy and self-confidence that matter. Expectations of yourself really determine your potential. So, the higher the role models available the better. That is why people in academia want to work with smart people. That is why some search for think tanks to work in. That is why exclusive conferences or institutes are things that people glow about. That is why high schools and universities are selective. It is hard to have the highest goals and expectations without the guideposts and the models in one's life. We all need that. Now that I have full professor status, I can try to be a little light for some graduate students who want to move into academia or corporate world.

I also told Vera to have a vision or reflection of where she wants to do. She is in educational technology but seeks interdisciplinary activities. I told her to write a major reflection or blog post and to revisit it in 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc. I thought that it each time she might change it and reshape it each time or expand on it in totally different ways. She is at the start of a master's at Peking University. She, like most graduate students (and many faculty members or instructors) need to ask themselves life questions in order to begin to vision where they want to be and to create some goals and visions. With the world in fast change in education and technology fields, we alll have many opportunities in front of us right now and some ending goals will help you sort out some of things to attend to.

What do you think?
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 9:40 AM  
  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger chun-yi said…

    I was frustrated when handing in my paper last night. At that moment, I thought I spent a weekend and Monday to wrote a critique becasue not only this study was more complicated but I'm an international. I thanks for all supports from my professors, friends, roommate, and my parents. They are really important and helpful. But I was unhappy becasue I expected to progress faster. That low self-efficacy made me anxious.(But this morning, I felt much better, and had some new ideas.)

    When reading this article, I was deeply touched by these words, "Expectations of yourself really determine your potential." I like this. I am here becasue I want to keep moving on in my life.

    Thank you so much for sharing this article.


  • At 8:00 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Hi Chun-Yi. Self-efficacy seems to be a term that more and more people use. My son used it last week at a high school meeting to describe common problems in high school. I thought it was only a word for doctoral students and professors but it has entered the common lexicon of our culture it seems. Glad you got some support--it does come from all over.

  • At 6:57 AM, Blogger Emma Liang said…

    I like your conversational view of personal growth.

    Some "successful" students in my class know how to deal with my instruction. They meet my expectation. To both of us, everything goes well and runs smoothly. Other students always have questions and puzzle me. Things keep happening in unexpected ways. Then I revise and consolidate some ideas.

  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    hi there Mei-ya. It is good to hear from you. Yes, it is interesting that some students get the pt right away and others remain lost. How long are they lost in a lost world before we pull them aside for specific mentoring? How knows? I think your students in Taiwan will need more frequent reassurances with the new curriculum you have designed.

  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger Panos said…

    Hi Curt, just found the time to read the article and the comments from all over the world! WebBlogs are indeed a powerful tool for info sharing and a potentail tool for deep thinking (depends on the writers and the readers). "Self-efficacy " is a concept that gives me trouble as to how much an individual is aware of it!! What are the mechanisms that would allow someone to uncover his/her potentials? most importantly what do we ( educators) can to help!
    Another issue that make me sceptical is the 'Self-directed' learning. Are we talking simply about self-sufficient thinking....or what? That's for a start!

    I will keep visiting your keep updating it :-)


  • At 10:06 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Ok, Panos, I promise to keep updating my blog.

  • At 1:18 AM, Blogger Mei-Ya Liang said…

    Do you believe that a new curriculum works only in some contexts and conditions?

  • At 10:03 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Yes, Mei-ya, a new curriculum will only work when it has support, when it is properly planned, when it is exciting and not boring, when it is challenging but not too much so, when it is evaluated continuously, etc. What do you think?

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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