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Motivation to study: Upper secondary school teachers´and students´views on students´motivation to study
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education. (Skolutveckling och utbildningsledarskap)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4398-5394
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9182-6403
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Students’ motivation to study in upper secondary schools

 

 

 

 

Lena Boström (Professor in Education)

lena.bostrom@miun..se

Göran Bostedt (Associate Professor in Political science)

goran.bostedt@miun.se

 

Department of Education

Mid Sweden University

Sidsjövägen 5

S- 851 70 Sundsvall

 

                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keywords: study motivation, extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation, upper secondary school

Abstract

In order to increase the number of student who successfully complete upper secondary school, Sweden reformed its upper secondary school system in year 2011. Despite the new system "the throughput is in principle unchanged, which means that approxima­tely every fourth student interrupts his upper secondary studies" (Sveriges elevkårer & Lärarnas Riksförbund, 2015, p 6). The main explanation for this was stated to be a lack of study motivation among students. Some 53 percent of the upper secondary school students reported low study motivation.

The most important factors for improving students’ motivation are, according to Sveriges elevkårer & Lärarnas Riksförbund, a) the supportive interaction between teacher and student and b) access to student health. This means that both internal and external motivational factors are viewed as important for reaching better study results. Research often highlights internal factors as particularly interesting when focusing students’ study motivation (Wery & Thomson, 2013). However some researchers (Blomberg, 2016: Hugo 2011; Håkansson & Sundberg, 2012) also argue for a broader perspective on the issue of motivation. In order to analyze the lack of motivation to study as the cause of low throughput in upper secondary school, a perspective is thus chosen which not only focuses the individual student but also takes into account both the classroom situation as well as the entire school. International research on student motivation is extensive.  While international research on student motivation is extensive, it is not as prominent in the Swedish educational context (Giota, 2013).

 

The results of this study are based on empirical data from one of Sweden’s 20 largest municipalities. The municipality was chosen as a result of a decision taken by local politicians to focus raising the students’ motivation to study as a highly prioritized activity for the upper secondary school programs. In 2015, the chosen municipality was, compared to both Swedish municipalities of the same size as well as other municipalities in Sweden, in a troublesome situation in terms of student completion (Skolverket, 2015).

 

The aim of the study is to describe and analyze what determines student motivation or lack of motivation to study. The research questions are:

a)      What determines upper secondary school students’ motivation/lack of motivation to study?

b)      What are teachers’ and students’ perceptions on how to increase students’ study motivation in upper secondary school and reasons/explanations for low study motivation? 

c)      To what extent is motivation linked to specific course content? 

d)     To what extent is motivation related to the conditions for the implementation of the course/didactical approaches? 

e)      How can we understand and describe students’ ambitions or lack of ambitions in relation to acquire the knowledge and skills the programs and its courses are in line with the intentions? 

 

Students’ study motivation will be analyzed from a perspective where motivation is more about transaction than interaction (Perry, Turner and Meyer, 2006). Motivation should not only be understood as an individual aspects, but also as negotiating meaning in social interaction. Motivation is seen as a process integrated into a larger whole, impossible to separate from learning, individual differences, and the nature of tasks or social context. For these reasons, it is important to analyze and discuss the results in relation to learning and perspectives on knowledge. According to Perry et al. there are strong links between motivation and a) communicated expectations b) clear feedback on results, c) interaction between teacher and pupil and between students, d) positive climate and e) teacher leadership. Students` study motivation will thereby be discussed based on individual characteristics, group dynamics, didactics and learning environments. In other words, we will analyze how both internal and external motivational factors can affect the results.

 

Since the study focuses on organizational conditions, perceptions of inter-human processes and individual properties, the study has been designed as a case study with an ethnographically inspired approach (Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007). The empirical data is based on 207 students’ responses in a web-survey containing 20 questions about motivation and six semi-structured group interviews with 12 students and 20 teachers. The students and teachers represent four different study programs (Social Science, Social Care, Individual choice and Vehicles and Transport programs). The programs were selected according to the principle of a) constituting a variation in what is theoretically versus practical oriented programs, b) ensuring a reasonable distribution between boys and girls, c) representing a possible variation in pupils with regard to learning strategies and d) representing student groups with different challenges in learning. All participants were informed about the project's objectives and applicable research ethics rules.

The study is divided into two sub-studies. Sub-study one is based on a quantitative approach. The responses to the different questions in the questionnaire are presented by descriptive statistics with the four study programs divided into separate groups. The data were also analyzed with the help of other statistical methods, such as analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Kruskal-Vallis. The statistical calculations were conducting using SPSS.

Sub-study two is based on s a qualitative research design, which ca be characterized as a hybrid content analysis (Fereday & Muir-Cochrane 2006), which started initially with deductive analysis, switched to inductive analysis and finally linked with deductive analysis and then switched to an inductive analysis and finally linking the theoretical starting points in the result. Here deductive analysis (theory-driven) means that themes have been determined in advance before the interview material is analyzed, which can be described as themes based on existing theories and research results (Mayring, 2000). The four themes we build the analysis on are the concepts of motivation, motivational strategies, learning environments and other environment. In order to analyze the content of the interviews, an inductive content analysis was used which was based on the interview responses. In other words, the analysis switched to an inductive approach. With the four themes as a basic structure, a categorization matrix was developed and all data were sorted into relevant theme. Based on the results from the two sub-studies, the research questions will be addressed and discussed.

The statistical data show differences between study programs in terms of positive/negative attitude towards schoolwork, absence from school, expectations on teachers and on results, competitiveness in realizing personal ambitions, support in terms of personal feedback and attitudes towards learning (i.e. learning for exams or learning for knowledge). There are also differences in self-esteem and self-confidence that affect motivation among the students. On the other hand, students tend to appreciate school as an institution, they feel safe being at school and the teachers have legitimacy in the eyes of the students.  

The results from the interviews indicate that both teachers and students view the complex interplay between results and motivation as an important part of the concept of motivation. Study results affect motivation and vice versa in both a positive and a negative way. Teachers and teachers' leadership are also of great importance for students’ study motivation. Teachers focus their leadership tasks on the importance of knowledge. Students relate to teacher leadership in relation to personal qualities such as being understood and getting support.

A difference between the two samples, is that teachers emphasize "life skills" in learning such as strategies for purposes, intermediate goals and sense of belonging, whiles students do not ll mention these strategies at all. A category where the perceptions between teachers and students coincide is the importance of well-being and safety in the learning environment and that the class/group/peers represents a motivational source for them. The teachers pointed to the importance of adaptations and smaller groups in the learning environment. The students believed that the external learning environment also played an important role. Regarding the surrounding environment, the two groups mentioned the importance of peers as a motivational factor, either helping to increase or reduce study motivation.

 

References

Blomgren, J. (2016). Den svårfångade motivationen: elever i en digitaliserad lärmiljö. (Diss) Gothenburg studies in educational sciences 393

 

Giota, J. (2013). Individualisering i skolan – vilken, varför och hur? En

forskningsöversikt. Vetenskapsrådets rapportserie, 3, Stockholm:

 

Fereday, J. & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2006). Demonstrating Rigor Using Thematic Analysis: A Hybrid Approach of Inductive and Deductive Coding and Theme Development. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, pp 80-92.

Hammersley, M. & Atkinson, P. (2007).  Ethnography: Principles in practice. New York Routledge,

Håkansson J. & Sundberg, D. (2012), Utmärkt undervisning: framgångsfaktorer i svensk och internationell belysning. Stockholm: Natur och kultur,

Illeris, (2015) Lärande. Lund: Studentlitteratur

 

Mayring,P. (2000). Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Social Research, Vol. 1, No. 2, Art. 20

 

Perry, N., Turner,J.C.,  & Meyer, D.K  (2006) Student Engagement in the classroom. In Alexander, P., Winne, P. (Eds) Handbook of Edcucational Psychology. Erlbaum

 

Sveriges elevkårer & Lärarnas Riksförbund, (2015). Från avhopp till examen- så vill skolan utveckla skolan. Retrieved from www.lr.se/download/18.682f72ec14e16f2ff5c7b1ba/1435316342104/Fr%C3%A5n%20avhopp%20till%20examen%20Web.pdf

 

Wery, J. & Thomson, M. (2013). Motivational strategies to enhance effective learning in teaching struggling students. Support for learning, Vol. 28, pp. 103-108

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
study motivation, extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation, upper secondary school
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-37141OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-37141DiVA, id: diva2:1349379
Conference
European Conference on Educational Research, Hamburg 2-6/9 2019
Available from: 2019-09-09 Created: 2019-09-09 Last updated: 2019-09-17Bibliographically approved

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