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June 2019 SEA-Q


Individuals who seek to validate their sense of innate ability by demonstrating their aptitude to themselves and others are said to have:

  • A) Learning orientation
  • B) Performance orientation 
  • C) Poor metacognition
  • D) Deliberate practice


B) Performance orientation


Understanding concepts relevant to learners may help educators facilitate more effective and efficient learning.

Goal orientation: Achievement goal orientation refers to goals that learners set for themselves when confronted with situations in which they have the opportunity to demonstrate (to themselves and to others) their aptitude and level of mastery. There are two different goal orientations that seem to influence how residents view feedback regarding their performance. Learners with a learning orientation primarily look for opportunities to increase their mastery through exposure to increasingly challenging situations. Those with the learning orientation have an implicit “growth image” in which individual aptitude is malleable and capable of improvement through practice. These individuals are more likely to apply feedback (and seek feedback) to their practice in their striving towards mastery.

On the other hand, learners with a performance orientation view their performance at tasks as a reflection upon their inherent ability. Individuals with a performance orientation have an implicit “fixed image,” in which aptitude is seen as innate and less responsive to improvement with practice. They are less likely to tackle difficult situations because they are afraid of failing. Therefore, performance is seen to either confirm or refute the individual’s view of their innate aptitude. In this type of goal orientation, feedback is sought to reinforce the individual’s self-perception, and negative feedback is avoided as a threat to their self-image. Difficult challenges may be avoided by these learners given the implicit threat of failure.

Metacognition: Metacognition is the process of thinking about how and what one learns and understands. Metacognition allows for recognition of knowledge gaps and creates space for adjustments in the process of learning.

Deliberate practice: Deliberate practice is a process of focusing on a specific aspect of performance or knowledge and developing strategies to push beyond the current limits of aptitude. This requires consistent feedback for modulation of practice as the learner strives for mastery in the specific area of concentration.


  1. Weidman J, Baker K.  The Cognitive Science of Learning: Concepts and Strategies for the Educator and Learner.  Anesth Analg. 2015 Dec;121(6):1586-99
  2. Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. Print.

Author Information:

Bryan Mahoney, MD
Director, Residency Training Program
Department of Anesthesiology
Mount Sinai St Luke's, Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospitals

Dr. Mahoney currently serves as the Residency Program Director at the Mount Sinai St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital, Department of Anesthesiology, where he is a faculty member in the Division of Obstetric Anesthesiology and a faculty member of the HELPS Center at the Mount Sinai Hospital Icahn School of Medicine.


The SEA is proud to be a member-driven organization, dedicated to the teaching and development of future anesthesiologists, and to the advancement of those who educate them.

Contact Info:

Society for Education in Anesthesia
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