AN APPRAISAL OF THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVATION ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS PERFORMANCE
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This research work investigated the influence of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government, Oyo State.
Specifically, the study was to determine Junior Secondary School students to ascertain the difference in students’ performance in writing based on motivation, gender of students, the type of school students attend and location of the school.
Descriptive research design of cross-sectional survey type was used for the study.
The total population of study comprised 100 respondents selected from Ogbomoso South, Local Government using purposive and simple random sampling.
The researcher designed questionnaire was used to gather the required information.
The analysis of data was used for frequency counts, percentages, mean scores and rank order while the formulated hypotheses were tested using t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) at 0.05 alpha level.
The study revealed that: there is a significant difference in the influence of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance based on students’ gender, school type and school location; there is a significant difference in influence of motivation on academic performance of junior secondary school students in writing in junior secondary school students’ gender has influence on their academic performance in writing in junior secondary school students’ school type does significantly influence their motivation in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government, Oyo State.
Based on the findings of the study, it was concluded that there should be seminar on the importance of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Oyo State; there should be seminar on the influence of gender on the academic performance of students in Oyo State; there should be seminar on the influence of school type and school location on the academic performance of junior secondary school students in Oyo State.
Background to the Study
An indispensable instrument for human progress, development and empowerment is education. Any individual, community or nation that plays down the importance of education, stands the risk of decay and retardation.
It is evident then that education plays a vital role in both the human and non-human development of an individual or a nation at large.
Junior secondary education has the broad aim of preparing students for useful living within the society and preparing them for senior secondary education (National Policy on Education (NPE), 2013).
One of the major roles of educators is to encourage learners to work harder in order to perform well in their academic pursuit.
The junior secondary school level is a very critical period in the education pursuits of students.
This is because it is a period of adjustment from childhood to adolescent. Hence, they need encouragement to achieve success in life.
This form of encouragement given to learners is called motivation.
Motivation is a prerequisite for students at the secondary school level.
Motivation is thought of as some kind of internal forces which arouse, regulate and sustain all important actions.
Omolehin (2010) opines that motivation is regarded as a factor within an organization that influences behavior directed towards satisfying needs and drive.
Motivation is seen as the complex internal process in man, originally initiated as felt need which leads man to an activity that will satisfy the need.
It can be deduced that motivation plays a major role in students’ academic work and in their achievement.
It is seen in students’ choices of learning tasks, in the time and effort they put in their studies, their persistence on learning tasks and coping with the obstacles they encounter in the learning process.
Furthermore, motivation is the process whereby a goal-directed activity is instigated and sustained.
It is a force that energizes and directs behavior towards a goal (Ibrahim, 2012).
It plays an effective role on academic achievement of students in general and writing learners in particular.
It is a concept that cannot do without actual action and ability.
Student motivation is the element that leads students’ attitude towards learning process.
Number of studies have been conducted to probe the role of students’ motivation toward academic performance in writing especially in English Language.
Student motivation is often separated into two types: Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
A student is intrinsically motivated when he/she is motivated from within.
Intrinsically motivated students enthusiastically engage themselves in learning out of peculiarity, attention, happiness or in order to achieve their own scholarly and personal aims.
Therefore, students with intrinsic motivation are more enthusiastic, self-driven, challenging and feel pleasure in their studies and students with extrinsic motivation try to drag themselves with academic coursework, feel compelled to learn, and always put minimum efforts to attain maximum appreciations.
Intrinsically motivated, students tend to use strategies that require more effort and that allow them to process information more strongly.
Language, a step designed to give a level playing ground for the task at hand, has been variously defined by many scholars such as (Lyons, 1991; Lehman, 1999; Pearson, 2000 & Mounin, 2004).
According to Lehman (1999), language is a system for the communication of meaning through sounds.
There is no doubt that Lehman’s definition is not comprehensive enough.
How about the writing aspect of language?
Language is human vocal noise or the arbitrary graphic representation of this noise used systematically and conventionally by members of a speech community for purposes of communication.
There are four skills of language.
These skills are listening, speaking, reading and writing.
In the context of first-language acquisition, the four skills are most often acquired in the order of listening first, then speaking, then possibly reading and writing.
For this reason, these capabilities are often called LSRW skills.
Listening is the first language skill we acquire in a language.
It is what is known as a receptive skill, or a passive skill, as it requires us to use our ears and our brains to comprehend language as it is being spoken to us.
It is the first of two natural language skills, which are required by all natural spoken languages.
Speaking is the second language skill we acquire in a language.
It is what is known as a productive skill or an active skill, as it requires us to use our vocal tract and our brains to correctly produce language through sound.
It is the second of two natural language skills.
Reading is the third language skill we may acquire in a language.
As with listening, it is a receptive or passive skill, as it requires us to use our eyes and our brains to comprehend the written equivalent of spoken language.
It is one of the two artificial language skills, as not all natural spoken languages have a writing system.
Writing is the fourth language skill we may acquire in our native language.
As with speaking, it is a productive or active skill, as it requires us to use our hands and our brains to produce the written symbols that represent our spoken language.
Along with reading, it is one of the two artificial language skills, as not all natural spoken languages have a writing system.
Therefore, writing is a comprehensive ability involving grammar, vocabulary, conception, rhetoric and other parts of the language (Zhang &Chen,1999).
Writing enhances language acquisition as learners experiment with words, sentences and other elements of writing to communicate their idea effectively and to reinforce the grammar and vocabulary they are learning in class (Bello,1997).
Writing is an important skill to be mastered in learning English as a foreign language.
It is not only a means of communication where students can share their views and thoughts, it is actually a prerequisite to master other language skills.
Man has primitive needs to write.
Children want to write, in fact need to write, before they want to read” (Elbow, 2003).
The purpose of teaching writing as one of the four language skills is to facilitate students’ learning, career and their daily communication.
Writing as a psychological need in the sense that it provides learners with evidence that they are making progress (Takrouri, 2002).
Writing also makes language learning more effective and authentic through creating a variety of activities inside and outside the classroom.
Al-Mutawa and Kailani (2009) considered writing as significant language skill that should be developed at an early stage of learning a language.
Yet, writing is a skill that should not be learned in an isolated form, it should be taught interactively with other language skills, i.e. listening, speaking and reading.
Writing has many important aspects, it makes students more relaxed and confident in other language skill because it allows them to work at their pace.
It also allows them to make changes and revision without pressure to perform on the spot that is associated, for instance, with speaking (Mahmoud,2000).
Writing plays two distinct roles in schools; First, it is a skill that requires mastering basic sub skills and processes such as; handwriting, spelling, a rich knowledge of vocabulary, mastery of the conventions of punctuation, capitalization, word usage, grammar, and the use of strategies; planning, evaluating and revising text.
All are necessary for the production of coherently organized essays containing well developed and pertinent ideas, supporting examples and appropriate detail.
The role can be characterized as “learning to write.” Second, writing is a means to extend and deepen students’ knowledge, it acts as a tool for learning subject matter (Graham&Perin,2007).
So, writing is a psycho-socio-mental linguistic skill.
Prakash (2007) explained that motivation is the heart of significant age level.
When motivation is high, students learn things without taking much time , but when it is low , they take longer time to learn the writing skill aspects and they are exposed to make many errors in learning the material.
Motivation is considered as the central construct in both educational and psychological research and plays a significant role in several theories of human development and learning (Weiner, 1990).
Learning is equally essential for performance, learning enables learners to acquire new knowledge and skills, whereas motivation provides the impetus for showing what we have learned . Motivation is an important psychological construct that affects learning and performance in at least four ways.
Firstly, it increases an individual’s energy and activity level (Pintrich, Marx, Boyle, 1993). Secondly, it directs an individual toward certain goals (Eccles & Wigfield, 1985).
Motivation affect choices people make and the results they find rewarding .
Thirdly, it promotes initiation of certain activities and persistence in those activities (Stipek, 2008).
It increases the likelihood that people will begin something on their own, persist in the face of difficulty and resume a task after a temporary interruption.
In addition, it effects the learning strategies and cognitive processes an individual employs (Dwek & Elliot, 2009).
It increases the likelihood that people will pay attention to something, study and practice it and try to learn it in a meaningful fashion. It also increases the likelihood that will seek help as they encounter difficulty. Educational psychologists have long recognized the importance of motivation for supporting student learning.
More recently, the partnership for 21st century skills has identified initiative as one of the life and career skills necessary to prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce.
However, many educators may be unfamiliar with methods for evaluating and encouraging motivation, particularly at the junior secondary level (Emily, 2011).
Various factors have been ascribed to the poor performance of students in English language.
Tella (2007) enumerates the various factors facilitating the poor performance of students in mathematics.
These factors can also be used as yardsticks for the poor performance of students in writing.
These factors are: students’ lack of interest, poor mastery of the language, students’ personality and self-concept, feeling of inadequacy, motivation and self-confidence, anxiety.
Other factors are poor facilities, equipment and instructional materials, poor teaching methods, large students’ ratio and so on.
Moreover, individual students have peculiarities such as intelligence, cognitive styles and personalities which play an essential role in learning and instruction as does the context of learning.
Many researchers have established the fact that individual students’ characteristic variables such as motivational orientations, self-esteem and learning approaches are important factors influencing academic achievements.
In view of this, the problem of students’ poor performance in writing seems to be a major one that requires urgent and serious attention since students lack of motivation has been identified to influence their performance in writing.
Gender refers to men and women, boys and girls as members of social groups. It is a socio-psychological concept used to describe the culture and social roles different societies of the world ascribe to male and female folks to depict the differences between them. A woman is evidently different to a man.
The anatomical differences are apparent at once, particularly in the development of a woman’s physique. If given the opportunity, a woman can succeed in most activities as well as a man (Llewellyn-Jones, 2005).
Although, a woman tends to have less developed muscles than a man, she can equal a man in physical and mental stamina and is able to perform jobs which have been reserved for men in the past.
Adegbite (2014) finds out that girls’ performance in writing is higher than that of boys. She concludes that at junior secondary school level, boys score higher than girls in mathematics, science and speaking. Girls, however, perform better than boys in reading, writing and music.
However, some scholars and researchers, nevertheless, argued that gender cannot be regarded as a serious determining factor to effective and efficient learning in the classroom.
For instance, Abe (1991) submits that gender has no direct influence on a person’s standard in writing.
This variable may, however, have great influence on junior secondary school students’ performance in learning writing.
Another important factor to be considered in this research work is the type of school which the child attends, as this has a great impact on the performance of the students.
Odewumi (2005) is of the opinion that the type of school a child attends – public or private has a great influence on the way they learn generally and vocabulary in particular.
This is because the proprietor of any school has an unimaginable influence on the school, especially in terms of school administration and policy making.
In most cases, private schools are better funded than many of the government-owned schools.
Odewumi (2005) is of the opinion that there is no way one could compare the public schools with private ones in terms of supply of instructional materials, organization, planning, practical teaching and funding among others.
The most prevalent attribute of children growing up in poverty is limited access to resources.
Resources exist in the form of finances, parental guidance, books, preschool tutorial, food, clothing and more. Often times, poverty-stricken children’s first worries are about their next meal.
Thoughts of high academic performance are not a priority.
Many children in this situation live with parents who are not high school graduates.
These set of parents do not have the optimal opportunities to spend time going over homework and providing parental guidance for important decisions on how their children can perform better in writing.
The findings of Ogundeyi (2014) reveals that a greater number (317) of adolescents involved in her study are from literate homes.
However, no significant difference was found in the number of adolescents from illiterate and literate homes who are independent, instructional or struggling readers.
Bada’s (2007) findings showed that children who come from homes where conversation is limited and books unknown are likely to be slower in their linguistic growth, writing and to find greater difficulty in learning to read than those who come from more favored backgrounds; and that the majorities of struggling readers have less well-educated parents.
Furthermore, come from socio-economically disadvantaged families who tend to lack educational resources including books.
Statement of the Problem
The influence of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance in writing of students has been an issue of concern to all stakeholders in education.
This is evident in the rate of mass failure of students in both internal and external examinations, as revealed by research studies.
Despite the Oyo State government’s effort towards the employment and training of staff in secondary schools, students’ performance in writing is still very low and below expectation.
Several research studies have identified other factors such as motivation, school climate, instructional materials, discipline and physical facilities, teacher quality, type of school, location of school, class size and over population of students in classroom as being responsible for poor academic achievement of students especially in writing.
Adegbite (2014) draws attention to the embarrassingly poor level of competence and a grossly inadequate proficiency in both speaking and writing among students at junior secondary level.
At the end of every instructional period in school, examination takes place. Over the years, the society has been recording persistent increase in the rate of poor performance in examinations particularly in writing.
This situation of unsatisfactory academic performance has created a shortfall in the number of qualified candidates needed for senior secondary education.
The problem of students’ poor performance in writing seems to be a major one that requires urgent and serious attention since students lack motivation which may influence their performance in writing. Motivation in this case could come in the form of praise, incentives and reward.
In this direction, Omolehin (2010) studies motivation for occupational preference and academic achievement of junior secondary school students in Mopa Muro Area of Kogi State.
She found out that motivation is a condition which students consider in determining and selecting occupation irrespective of gender, school or family type. Furthermore, the study showed that gender, school and family types have significant influence on students’ academic performance.
In Pakistan, Atta and Jamil’s (2012) research centers on the effects of motivation and parental influence on the educational attainments of students at the secondary level.
Their findings revealed that there was significance on the educational attainments of the students who were under the influence of their parents’ motivation.
The impact of motivation on students’ academic achievement and learning outcomes in reading and writing among secondary school students in Nigeria was studied by Tella (2007).
Four hundred and fifty participants were involved through the administration of questionnaire items.
Gender and academic achievement were used as dependent variables on academic achievement of junior secondary school students in English language.
Furthermore, the results revealed that highly motivated students performed better academically than the lowly motivated students.
The researcher has observed with dismay that the influence of motivation on writing in the study area is nothing to write home about.
Motivation of students has been neglected by the teachers which eventually lead to poor performance writing.
Lack of competent teachers and other facilities that promote teaching and learning are also in short fall which may tend to influence students’ academic achievement in school.
It is on this premise that the researcher is motivated to study the influence of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government of Oyo State.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of the study is to examine the influence of motivation on junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government of Oyo State. Specifically, the purpose of this study is to:
a. investigate the common types of motivation that influence junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government.
b. examine the relationship between motivation and performance of male junior secondary school students in writing.
c. examine the relationship between motivation and performance of female junior secondary school students in writing.
d. find out the relationship between motivation and performance of private junior secondary school students in writing.
e. find out the relationship between motivation and performance of public junior secondary school students in writing.