The Motives for Learning in Elementary Students: The Parents and Teachers Agency

According to conception of cultural and historical development, motives represent essential structural component of any kind of activity. Learning at school is a kind of collective joint activity according to activity theory. Motives might be conformed and evaluated during learning process as its essential element. Different motive might be acquired during interactions within learning process. Pupils might share  their  motives,  but  also  might  present  differential  variants  of  combinations  of  types  motives: external  and  internal  motives.  The  objective  of  this  chapter  is  consideration  of  formation  and assessment of motives of pupils. The authors propose the qualitative way of analysis of the sphere of motives by specifically organized interview with teachers and parents. The procedure of interactive drawings with pupils is proposed as a new and original way for analysis of motives. The study was accomplished  in  a  private  school  in  the  Puebla city,  Mexico,  with  the  pupils  of  the  third  grade  of primary  school.  The  results  show  the  presence  of  both  external  and  internal  motives  in  pupils. External  motives  can  be  divided  into  three  groups:  motives,  which  support  the  learning  process, motives, which are indifferent to the learning process and motives, which become serious obstacles for cognition. Different strategies of analysis of the motives permit to understand better participation of different factors in conformation of the sphere of motives at school age. The data of the study have pointed  out  that  the  methods  of  qualitative  assessment  permitted  to  obtain  important  information about the sphere of motivation of pupils for learning activity as internal motives of learning activity. Other motives were external and were related to diverse external aspects of school live as friends, classroom,  kindness  of  the  teacher,  playing  games  and  so  on.  Positive  external  motivation  is  the predominant type of school motivation within included population of the third school grade of private primary  school.  Three  initial  years  of  education  at  primary  school are not  enough  for formation  of internal motives of study. At the same time, it is possible to observe that positive attitude of parents and teacher may influence on positive motives of the pupils. In all observed cases, we may conclude the presence of positive motivation of children. The motivation of the pupils was external and internal types. The motivation of the teacher was academic and internal. The motivation of the parents was positive of both external and internal types, exactly as the children. We might conclude that system of teaching based on activity theory is capable of introducing of initial positive motivation in pupils and teacher therefor it is possible to expect gradual changes of children’s motivation into profound internal interest for future studies.

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