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József Balázs Fejes and Krisztián Józsa: The characteristics of learning motivation among disadvantaged students

We have little empirical evidence of the effect of family environment on learning motivation in Hungary. The aim of our research is to reveal how the disadvantaged status of students influences the development of learning motives. Three dimensions of the disadvantaged status were examined: financial, emotional and linguistic. The effects of the education and the unemployment of parents on learning motivation were targeted as well. The sample included 246 students in grade 7 (13-year-olds), half of whom were disadvantaged in at least one dimension. Data were collected through teacher and student questionnaires containing closed questions only, designed to cover the following motives: mastery motives, reading self-concept, math self-concept, desire of positive feedback for learning, and the practical value of learning. Although the questionnaire addresses only a small number of possible learning motives, its complexity makes it an appropriate instrument for mapping the differences between individual students. A factor analysis confirmed the sub-scales of the questionnaire and the reliability values are good. The results suggest that both financial and emotional disadvantages are highly reflected in learning motivation, while linguistic disadvantage does not seem to exert much influence. Emotional disadvantage hinders the development of learning motives more significantly than does financial disadvantage. The lack of emotional security results in falling behind in the development of each examined type of motive. There seems to be a weak correlation between parents’ education and students’ motivation. While the mother’s university or college degree has a marked positive effect on the child’s learning motivation, the secondary school leaving exam of the father already produces a similar effect. The disadvantaged status explains about 10% of the variance of learning motivation. The unexplained 90% suggests that other factors could also have a significant impact on the development of learning motivation.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 105. Number 2. 185-205. (2005)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Fejes József Balázs és Józsa Krisztián, SZTE Neveléstudományi Tanszék, H-6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30-34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia