The Influence Of Motivation On Junior Secondary School Students’ Performance In Writing
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 behaviour 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 behaviour 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 favoured 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 centres 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:
- Investigate the common types of motivation that influence junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government.
- Examine the relationship between motivation and performance of male junior secondary school students in writing.
- Examine the relationship between motivation and performance of female junior secondary school students in writing.
- Find out the relationship between motivation and performance of private junior secondary school students in writing.
- Find out the relationship between motivation and performance of public junior secondary school students in writing.
The following research questions are raised to guide the conduct of the study:
- What are the common types of motivation that influence junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government?
- What is the relationship between motivation and performance of male junior secondary school students in writing?
- What is the relationship between motivation and performance of female junior secondary school students in writing?
- What is the relationship between motivation and performance of private junior secondary school students in writing?
- What is the relationship between motivation and performance of public junior secondary school students in writing?
The following research hypotheses were tested in this study:
- HO1: There is no significant relationship between motivation and performance of junior secondary school students in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government.
- HO2: There is no significant relationship between motivation and performance of male junior secondary school students in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government
- HO3: There is no significant relationship between motivation and performance of female junior secondary school students in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government.
- HO4: There is no significant relationship between motivation and performance of private junior secondary school students in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government.
- HO5: There is no significant relationship between motivation and performance of public junior secondary school students in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government.
Scope of the Study
This study focused on the relationship between motivation and performance of junior secondary school students in writing in Ogbomoso South Local Government area of Oyo State. The study focused students at the junior secondary school level in Ogbomoso South Local Government Area of Oyo State. In addition, the study determined the influence of variables such as gender, school type, school location and parental educational background on motivation.
A modified instrument tagged Influence of motivation on academic performance in writing questionnaire was used to gather the data. The data collected were analysed using percentages and the other research questions with their corresponding hypotheses using the t-test statistical tool at 0.05 level of significance.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined operationally as they are used in this study to remove ambiguity.
Is the capacity to have an effect on character, development or behaviour of student or the effect itself
The process of arousing and sustaining interest of learners towards achieving an academic goal.
The student whose interest is aroused and sustained while teaching and learning take place.
Lowly Motivated Student:
The student whose interest is not aroused and sustained while teaching and learning take place.
Schools established, managed and controlled by private organisations, religious groups or individuals, usually for profit.
Schools established, managed and controlled by the government.
Students’ outcome from the standardized test administered
Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this study would provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help students in achieving their academic goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their schools, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school. This study will also be significant because the findings could stimulate parents, school managers, teachers, students and the society’s awareness on the importance of motivation on writing.
The findings of the study will also assist school administrators and curriculum planners to develop strategies that would reduce negative effects of poor motivation on academic achievement of students.
The findings of this study would be useful to school proprietors, government school administrators and parents in understanding the influence of motivation on academic achievement of students in secondary schools.
This study would also be of importance to students themselves as it will be made known to them the effects of motivation on their academic performance most especially in writing.
Finally, the findings of this study would serve as a source of information to future researchers in this area by providing them with useful empirical data, which will enrich their study.
Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations
This chapter essentially focused on the influence of motivation on the junior secondary school students’ performance in writing in Ogbomosho South. The results and findings obtained in chapter four were discussed in this chapter. A total of 422 respondents were sampled on the basis of variables of gender and school type. Two research questions were answered using percentages, while other five research questions were with their corresponding hypotheses were tested at 0.05 alpha level with the Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation statistics. Thereafter, conclusions were drawn based on the findings of the study and recommendations and some suggestions were made for further studies.
Discussion of Findings
The result indicated that majority of the junior secondary school students sampled had the intrinsic type of motivation towards their writing performance. The result is in consonance with the findings of Goldberg (1994) who reported that intrinsic motivation gives learners higher self-perceptions of competence in academics. In the same view, Omolehin (2010) agreed with the outcome of this finding that intrinsic motivation helps learners to find their feet in the class and also aid their learning style. Though the study by Olajide (2010) reported that students are hardly motivated by their teachers but students still learn while they were being taught by teachers.
In addition, the results of this study revealed that majority of the junior secondary school students have performed beyond average in writing. This corroborates the submissions of Stutzman (2006), Bumganer (2007), Yu, Tian, Vogel & and Cliwai Knok (2010) that students’ performance in English language is determined by their needs and aspiration as determined by the teachers. Tella (2007) also reported that different factors contribute to the performance of the learners in school. The report of Ten Cate (2007) also buttressed this result with the report that students’ performance in English Language is attributed to the way use verbal reinforcement strategy.
The finding of this study is that motivation influences performance of secondary school students in writing. This implied that there was significant influence of motivation on the performance of secondary school students in writing. It means that the students had being motivated and it had influence the performance of secondary school students in writing. This finding is in agreement with the submissions to Oye, Adamsa and Nur (2012) who reported that parents and teachers ways of motivating their students do really determine their academic performance. Asiyebola and Alabi (2008) confirmed that learners learn not as much through listening to lectures by the teacher but a lot more by reading on their own and that the reading should range from the teachers notes, rarely and periodically. But nowadays, students boycott their lessons to learn at their own pace.
The study also revealed that gender significant influence motivation and the performance of junior secondary school students in writing and there was a significant influence of gender on motivation and the performance of junior secondary school students in writing. The finding of this present study seems to agree with those of Gabriel (1997), Idorenyin and Monday (2008), Omodara (2010) and Fakeye (2010) who found that there are no differences in the performance of male students. Omolehin (2010) submits that gender has significant effect on students’ performance. Akinsaya et al. (2011) also report that male students generally outperform their female counterparts in English vocabulary. This finding, however, runs contrary to the findings of Adegbite (2014) that female students performed better than their male counterparts in a study done on English vocabulary. The finding however negated those of Umo (2001) and Ugoeze (2006) who reported that gender was not a relevant factor that should be reckoned with predicting academic achievement. That is, that students’ mean achievement did not differ as a result of gender. In view of the inconclusiveness of the findings from these studies, more studies are required to elucidate the relationship male and female students’ performance in writing.
The result of the study revealed that school type significantly influence motivation and the performance of private junior secondary school students in writing and there was a significant influence of school type on motivation and the performance of public junior secondary school students in English language. This negated the finding of Sather (2000), Adwoade (2003) and Bello (2011) who found that private schools cannot be compared with public schools which give the best to their students. Bello (2011) reported that students of private schools performed better than their public school counterparts.
Based on this study, it was therefore concluded that majority of the junior secondary school students sampled had the extrinsic type of motivation towards their performance in writing. Majority of the junior secondary school students have performed beyond average in writing. It was also concluded that there was influence of motivation on the performance of secondary school students in writing, there was significant influence of gender on motivation and the performance of junior secondary school students in writing and a significant influence of school type on motivation and but no significant influence of school type on the academic performance junior secondary school students in writing.
In the light of the findings of this study, the following recommendations were made: the students should know that there abound great opportunities for them on the through motivations towards their academic, they should therefore convert the privileges for their advantages.
Concerted effort should be made by parents and guardians to motivate students so as to perform better in writing and other related subjects that will add value to their academic performance.
Teachers should also motivate students to perform better in English Language so that students would not be carried away from the academic aspects through other devices. They should also give enough time for personal study on that will add value to their academic information. The various school Authorities should have electronic libraries open to all students with all the necessary accessories to motivate their learning. In addition to that, school libraries should be well-located and functional so that students can make good use of them and procedures for borrowing books should be flexible to stimulate students’ learning.
The curriculum and syllabus designers should integrate into the curriculum and syllabus the use of techniques and skills that can motivate students. Students should also be encouraged to spend more time reading by including reading hours into the school curriculum.
Policy makers should put in place all efforts that can students learning through motivation. Efforts should therefore be made by the government and policy makers to introduce the motivation schemes for students and their teachers.
Suggestions for Further Studies
This study is limited to Ogbomosho South LGA in Oyo State; more researches could also be carried out in other local government areas of Oyo State and other States in Nigeria. It is carried out only in junior secondary school; it could also be carried out in senior secondary schools, colleges of education, universities and other institutions on their use of English. This would help to increase the generalizability of the findings and to test the validity or to ascertain the degree of the relationship between motivation and performance in English in the country as a whole. Studies should be carried out on the motivation in the teaching and learning of English Language in schools.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What motivates students to write?
Most writing motivation and engagement research has focused on individual aspects of motivation and engagement – for example, only on self-belief or confidence in writing, or on students’ valuing of writing, or on writing fear and anxiety.
What factors influence students’ ability to write?
The study published in Educational Psychology investigated the Wheel’s factors in the writing domain, as follows: Self-belief. Self-belief is students’ belief and confidence in their writing tasks and in their ability to write. Valuing. Valuing refers to how much students believe that writing is useful, relevant, meaningful, and important.
What is the latest study on writing motivation and engagement?
Here we summarise findings of a recent Australian study of writing motivation and engagement published in the international journal, Educational Psychology (Collie, Martin, & Curwood, 2015). This study identified the motivation and engagement factors important for students’ writing success. What is writing motivation and engagement?
How do attitudes and behaviors affect writing?
While students may take part in very different writing tasks depending on the subject area, their ability to craft a creative story in English and to produce a detailed report in science (for example) are in part dependent upon the attitudes, behaviours, and emotions relevant to writing and writing tasks.