Quantify Students Engagement In Activities Education Essay

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The motivation on educational context is inversely proportional to the progression of school life, needing constant stimuli to maintain the students producing and learning, or even wanting to. (STIPEK, 1993 apud BZUNECK, 2010) The change of behavior if compared with early ages of studying is enormous (BUZNECK,2010). And (de) motivation is pointed as the great villain of this twist that happens in students behavior related to school. (MCCALSIN&GOOD, 1993)

(De) motivation and motivation are usually seen as general and unchangeable states, but as the studies are being released is it known that motivation is a complex construct, with several layers and various theories to explain the variation. (AMES, 1992, BZUNECK, 2010, BORUCHOVITCH, 2010)

Stipek(1996) pointed out four motivational topics relevant to the educational context. They represent constructs or psychological variants. They are: positive reinforcement, cognitions, values and achievement goals.

The achievement goals can be divided in: avoidance, performance and mastery goals, the two first being part of the same division.

The performance goals, (avoidance and performance) are mainly focused on the representation of the student before class. While the student oriented by the performance goal wants to represent a positive role, as being part of the best of the class, the most intelligent, based on the fact that the self esteem of this student belongs to sensation of victory before others (CABAL, 2004; AMES, 1992) and the avoidance goal represents a negative role when the self esteem is not based on the good performance at classroom and there are avoidance of effort as a matter of prevention to fail. (AMES, 1992; BZUNECK, 2010)

Narrowing the focus, the chosen topic to be studied is the achievement goal, divided in three other topics: mastery goal, performance goal and avoidance goal.(CABAU,2004), the last one being chosen to be the main focus of this research, jointly with the social representation presented at classroom.

This paper will bring a theoretical framework about motivation, the segmentation of theories, the focus on the achievement goals and its division to studies objectives, education environment and social representation in High School Gabriel Carneiro Martins and the results that were submitted through analysis based on the characteristics of social representations.

The goals of this research are: the quantification of the students' engaging to the English Language, investigate the propensity of the achievement goal regarding working avoidance and mastery goals, analysis of classroom's social representation and the role of colleges on learning of EL and reflect about the class role to motivate learning, by being a motivating space.

This research is organized in: theoretical background, methodology, data analysis and discussion and the concluding remarks.

2 theoretical background

2.1 motivation

Motivation at the beginning, was concerned to human psychology, as a science being supported by several theoretic chains, due to its complexity, internality and peculiarities adapted to the context, has been studied under different approaches.(BZUNECK, 2004)

The root word comes from Latin, movere and with a derivation from Late Latin gave origin to the nearly term motive. And it is what propels people to take some actions. It acts right on the reason of what or why the individual is performing determined movement and presenting a specific behavior. (BZUNECK, 2010). It can be understood as a psychological factor or even a combination of those factors that can be encountered in almost every human activity, that drive people to learn. (BZUNECK,2010).

A current definition of the concept of motivation concerns with the fact that is an impulse given by a factor and this factor can be internal or external. Generalizing, the person that does not want or feel the need to act is seen as unmotivated and the one who wants do take an action because a certain purpose is seen as motivated. (DECI; RYAN, 2000 IN: ALMEIDA, 2012)

Another definition is the interest carried by a person who wants to complete a task or learn a new concept or activity, only moved by his own intention, the basic characteristic of a motivated action is the true engagement of fulfilling the objective. (GUIMARÃES,2010).

Broph(1999), states that is the drive that impulses the individual to have some attitudes, determinate behaviors to satisfy his needs, including the technical ones and the scholar environment did not searched before.

Broph(1999) also says that all the needs of the apprentice and unlikely their first efforts that were to satisfy their own wills and the school delimitates and imposes what and how they have to learn.

Despite the fact that motivation is not assimilated as a final goal, but a process,(BUZNECK, 2009) seemed to be easily understandable and based on its characteristics, would be a simple field to research.

However, the complicated and multifaceted character of motivation opens a considerable amount of study lines and a clinical eye depending on the context that will be analyzed.

2.1.2 Achievement Goals

The multiplicity of the concepts about motivation allowed contextualizing in several contexts, including the educational context and the variety of adaptation facilitated that action.

On this paper, the chosen theory is about the achievement goals that is about what people want to achieve, adapted on the educational context, and which concerns what each student feel that is necessary to accomplish.(BZUNECK, 2009)

The achievement goals are studied on the educational context and (DWECK & ELLIOT, 1983; BZUNECK, 1999, 2002;) it is one of the contemporary study lines provided of the traditional studies relating motivation with accomplishment.

The goals that are referent to this line of studies are qualitative defined when is about academic realization or it must be presented a performance.(CARDOSO, BZUNECK, 2004)

The basic connection of the achievement goals and the students is the purpose of certain behavior to get a certain result, the pattern presented, the beliefs attributions and what is related between these patterns and beliefs and the behavior itself,(WEINER, 1986; AMES, 1992) including a cognitive process, affective and behavioral consequences.(AMES, 1992).

This theory has the most of its research field on the education context, based on the fact that there are plenty of external influences, as the classroom environment and specific teaching practice that can or cannot determinate or induce to a defined achievement goal.( AMES, 1986; BZUNECK, 2009)

It seems that the most of the studies in this particular field of the Achievement goals' theory are focused in two dominant goals, the learning( also known as mastery, task or success oriented) and the performance( also known as ego-oriented or failure avoidant).(SEIFERT;O'KEEFE, 2001)

Ames and Archer(1998), adopted another nomenclature: the mastery goal and the performance goal, maintaining the idea that performance is not linked simply with the performance itself, but with the external evaluation of the action and the response of the person to this external evaluation. The mastery goal, is concerned with the internal stimulation given to the person to perform a specific action.

Labels were determined by the personal preferences of the authors and the historical academic production. Therefore, in a field related to personality psychology, is adopted the polarization of the two goals and the degree of engagement on the task versus the engagement of the ego. (BZUNECK, 2009)

Despite the amount of names and possible changes of meaning, it is important to realize that the achievement goals are concerned about the reason a student perform a certain action and what he/she wants to fulfill, even a lack of engagement can satisfy a particular goal and propel an achievement. (AMES, 1992)

It is presented a tendency of polarization of behavior that increases and divides the focus of the studies, paying attention on what influences students and the determined goals to accomplish.(ELLIOT & HARACKIEWICKZ, 1996; PINTRICK & SKUNK, 1996 IN:BZUNECK, 2009). Mastery Goals

According to Bzuneck(2009), the behavior of a student typically oriented to the mastery goal is different of the one oriented to the performance goal. Researches reveal a pattern behavior presented for each one of the goals.

For example: a student who reveals to be following the mastery goals apparently conceive success in the school context by the improving of knowledge and skills, progressing their abilities with creativity and innovation. Their beliefs about the positive results are based on effort which is an internal factor and under self control. This notion of self regulation brings a determinate autonomy to allow the intellectual growing. It is similar to the student who presents intrinsic motivation.(AMES, 1992)

The students pursuing the mastery goals may present intellectual and cognitive growth, believe that intelligence is malleable and the effort is the cause of success or failure.(SEIFERT; O'KEEF, 2001)

Another feature of the mastery goals is the increase of time spent on studying and they are persistent facing difficult tasks. But more important than the success itself is the engagement to learning, by using learning strategies and failure is understood as an effort of a wrong strategy and the success will come after a change of approach. (AMES, 1992)

Challenge is still present on the ones oriented by this achievement goal, by employing skills to overcome the presented challenge, such as, increasing the usage of deep learning strategies and the success is measured about what is being learned. (SEIFERT, O'KEEF, 2001)

The competence is established by observing personal progress. The feeling of competence origins on a temporal comparison based on self referenced criteria, the person himself settles a criteria that is going to compare his performance with himself. (CURY, BIDDIE, SARRAZIN,FAMOSE; 1997)

Fulfillment will appear when the individual overcome himself, improving his skills being involved on the tasks progressing towards mastery. (CURY, BIDDIE, SARRAZIN,FAMOSE; 1997) Avoidance Goals

The student oriented to the performance goal bases your success on the comparison with the performance of the others and the possible measures to reassure his or her intelligence in a simpler way that do not compromise the probable positive results.

Firstly, several analyses about the performance goals, presented results that allow a negative interpretation over the effects, because of the constant comparison with companions. Their learning strategies are not considered profound, just a superficial approach just to assure success. (BZUNECK, 2009)

In case of a failure, attributes it to a lack of skills and presents negative emotions, as shame, anger, etc. Depending on how the students assimilates the failure, there is an attemptive to avoid effort, despite the fact that is a bothway solution, the achievement in this context is to prevent failure and the positive result is a pleasant consequence.(BZUNECK, 2009)

Demonstrate to other his/her capacity is the main concern to the student oriented by the performance goal.

However, may not have only negative aspects surrounding the performance goal. Studies presented another perspective, based on the fact if that is an absence of mastery goals, the performance goals may encourage more effort to learn, even if were to compare to another person, this pursuit provides knowledge that is going to accomplish a purpose.

2.2 Social representation and the Educational environment

Moscovici(2011) establishes the context that surrounds the beginning of the social representation. The source of the studies is based on two different theories about thought.

The first one understands that the thought has the "unlimited power" to conform reality, to penetrate it and activate it to change the course of the events. The second has the belief is that the thought is modeled by the influence of the environment or the objects that are part of their life, the unlimited power belong to the objects and they change the way of thinking, determine completely their evolution and be interiorized by the mind.

The first one presents the thought as the agent over reality and the second, the thought is a reaction of reality.

Moscovici analyzes the perception of external stimulation, and their response is understood as the evaluation given based on the need of comprehension of the complete reality and the presented autonomy to evaluate that.

The social representation is settled on an environment that begins to be constructed on the mind. The thought is perceived as the base of the primordial filter that is going to build the representation or the notion that a certain fact or object brings to a person as the result of external stimulation added with the internal ideas.

Bower(1997) punctuates that the filter provided by the combination of external stimuli and the perceptive system can be seen as a representation. The notion provided by the representation about a certain fact or object is mister to begin an understanding about it.

The usage of the perceptive system and the notion of the representation about the combination of stimuli helps about the interpretation of the worlds that cannot be seen for several beings. And representation is as much as important as the perception of real objects.

Bower(1977) understands representation as a conjunction of stimuli provided by men, that has the function to serve as a replacement to a sign or a sound that cannot occur naturally and can be substitutes of stimulation based on the fact that it produces the same experience as the natural world would produce.

The natural world is basically social, so, the information that is presented were twisted by representations imposed before. There is a predisposed way to analyze and absorb those information and the result of the information and the fact that pass through the filter of individual perception, is where representation is constructed.(MOSCOVICI, 2010)

Representations have two finalities: the conventionalization of objects, people or events and the prescription of the facts.

The first,

2.2.1 Learning and the school environment

The learning itself is the propellant action and the source of the major motivation on early ages, mostly in a practical matter, inside or outside on school, however, as the time goes by and the scholarity increases, apparently this engagement decreases, what brings a disconnection on the classroom activities. (GUIMARÃES, 2010)

Despite the fact that learning appears to be stimulating and school is an environment that supposes to promote scientific learning, there are some features that might be obstacles to encourage theoretical learning .

Differently of most activities that people, especially in school age use to be engaged on, at school, the student has to follow a syllabus which contains subjects he may or may not enjoy, chosen principally based on what society and government believe he must learn and the presence and the accomplishment of all the demands given by teachers and other authorities is mandatory.(BROPHY, 1999)

The school, and precisely, the classroom is not uniquely composed of tasks and demands that shall be done, it is not only the place where students go to have scientific instruction, also they go to learn how to socialize, to have the basic formation to become a citizen, aware of their duties and rights and of values that substantiate the Brazilian society.(Brazil, 2010)

Encompassing the social and the scientific role of the institution, there are an amount of ideological requirements that need to cohabit with the scientific meaning of the subjects to be taught.

These multiples roles of the school, represented by the teacher in the classroom, can be overwhelming for the students to assimilate the right parts.

The teachers, in case of a language class, at public schools, must have a class that provides their students the language teaching, as grammar, the language in use, as social context and the construction of the citizenship, to build a critical and conscious subject.


This particular research presents an exploratory character, proposing a familiarity with the issue to be worked with, to explain the theme or to help to build hypotheses and in this specific work, is also considered as procedure to analyze the practice of the daily educational context (GIL, 2007; TELLES, 2002)

One of the researches that are under this exploratory bias is the action-research. Its definition can be understood as a type of research conceived and done in narrow association with an action or resolution of a collective problem. (THIOLLENT, 1985)

Action-research is also a collective research that has a goal to comprehend in a systematic way and with planned actions, in this paper, being focused in the daily educational context.

3.1 Setting

The research was carried out in a public school of Londrina - Brazil, it is located in a traditional neighborhood, having students since 6th grade until 3rd year high school.

3.2 Subjects

The subjects of the research were chosen from two groups that had been taught, as practicum, during the period of May 15th to August 6th and totalize a number of 70 students of second high school of a public school of Londrina - Brazil, with average age between 14 years old and 19 years old.

3.3 Data collection instrument

It was applied a questionnaire of self report, in only one subject, based on the fact that motivation is a complex construct and because was the data instrument based on the achievement goal approach developed by Bzuneck(2001)

The questionnaire was developed based on the achievement goal approach with 36 closed and objective questions in Likert scale that surveyed about: a) what is the achievement goal that leads the student to learn, b) if is the avoidance achievement or the learning achievement, c) the social representation of colleges and the teachers during the English learning process.

3.4 Data collection procedure.

The questionnaire was applied by the teacher-student Renata Dias with the assistance of the regent-teacher, on August 21st, during the two first classes at the morning, each group in one class.

The regent-teacher helped to explain what was going to be done with the collected data and the reason why these particular questions were necessary to the teacher-student continuing to carry out the research.

After this short explanation, the form was delivered to the students, one for each one.


The main subject of this paper changed when we crossed the data acquired with the questionnaires with the observation and the experience of teaching in this particular context.

Firstly, we believed that the analysis would be objective and attached only to the questionnaire, but the main instrument to collect data ended up opening new topics to analyze.

The results of the questionnaire portrayed us that the mastery goal was the main achievement goal in the English discipline, instead of the avoidance goal, that was the expected, based on the observation classes and the recorded classes.

The objective data pointed out a conflict with the resulting data of observation and the data collected from observations.

In those classes, most of the students performed a listless role classroom, demanding to be stimulating constantly, and even when they were plenty stimulated; it was difficult to us to get a satisfactory result. Both groups, in general speaking, did not demonstrate much engagement on the activities; however, when a student began to answer the questions and help with activities, we could observe that part of the others started to participate as well.

The students built their own "microsociety" in the educational environment, with rules and procedures, but trying to adapt with the rules received from the administration of the school. They follow the rules, but attempt to discover a way to impose their own will.

The groups were formed by teenagers and in this phase of life, they need to feel like part of a group, so, seem to be part of their normal behavior, and the social representations that are established in this microsystems contribute to the understanding of the routine.

Through analysis we could extract the following social representations:

The regent-teacher, as the authority to be defied or completely respected, the students who defies silently, through gestures, irony or even the refusal to do the activities, the students who makes jokes, the students who just do not want to do anything and the teacher-students that were seen as the strangers in the nest, or even an earlier vacation.

The classroom as a whole, demonstrated few attempts to proceed as the teacher instructed, some students, however, answered the questions and the exercises.