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 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.