This paper considers the association between instruction style and student academic performance, and draws from recent laboratory research where accounting student performance was found to be closely associated with the effect of instructor behaviour upon student task motivation and deep learning. Drawing upon emergent motivation theory, we discuss the proposition that appropriate instructor behaviours, through their positive effect upon student task motivation, anxiety and emergent confidence, can induce an upward performance shift, or interrupt a downward shift. A performance spiral model is modelled whereby students carry with them the learning responses from repeated good (or poor) performance into subsequent task settings, with corresponding accentuated effects upon anxiety and motivation.
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