The Adolescent Students views of Factors Influencing their Learning

By Angela Mornane.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study is part of a wider project – Influences on students’ learning goals and their capacity for self-regulation. This broader project evolved from the concern that over a period of time there has been a decrease in school engagement and increased alienation among middle school students and that through interventions that are in keeping with curriculum needs, teachers may be able to influence the students’ approach to learning. An area of self-regulation that was explored in detail was that of possible selves. Possible selves has been described as “the future-oriented component of self-concept” (Oyserman, Terry, & Bybee, 2002, p. 313). Various researchers have agreed that possible selves are critical for motivating action (Strauman & Higgins, 1987; Oyserman & Markus, 1990). By connecting current learning in middle school to future goals and aspirations, this project seeks to gather insights into whether students will be encouraged to develop mastery goals and move to incremental views of intelligence.The project took a longitudinal case study approach with 10 students from regional Victoria. Five students were from a Catholic secondary school and five were from a government secondary school. There were six males and four female students in the project. Students were interviewed individually every four weeks and observed in the classrooms over a period of nine months. These schools were chosen to become part of this project because of a history of disengagement and low motivation among students.

The year 8 students participated in structured interviews questions that enquired into their family backgrounds, extra-curricula activities, peer-relationships, school environments, affects of learning, motivations and aspirations for their future. Instruments sought to discover any connections between resilience, academic resilience, self-regulation, motivation, goal setting and the future possible selves. Students also participated in activities that looked at specific classes, for example, Mathematics, Science and English, and how they learnt in each subject. They also completed drawing activities that focused on their career aspirations and abilities to set goals.

Keywords: Middle Years, Resilience, Academic Resilience, Self-regulation, Motivation, Possible Selves

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp.221-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.434MB).

Angela Mornane

Doctoral Student, Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I am a doctoral student at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and I anticipate I will have completed my thesis by April, 2009. At present I am analysing the data collected from my project and writing the findings from the research. I have worked as a teacher, and student counsellor and am interested in the area of resilience and how students learn in schools. Many students in Year 8 find themselves lacking motivation and so I am seeking ways through my research to engage students to learn and be able to plan towards the future. I would like to have the opportunity to share my findings with the broader community.


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