IOE DISSERTATION 2009

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  1. 1. INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF LONDON PSYCHOLOGY AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT MA/MSc IN PSYCHOLOGY OF EDUCATION Investigating the Relationship between Motivation and Future Aspirations and a Young Person's Perceptions of Social Connectedness. By Camilla Williams (Word Count 19,568) A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirement for the MA/MSc degree in Psychology of Education September 2009 This report/dissertation may be made available to the general public for borrowing, photocopying or consultation without the prior consent of the author.
  2. 2. i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many thanks and my infinite gratitude To my amazing Mum and Dad for their unwavering love, support and encouragement, without them none of this would have been possible, and everything I do, I do to make them proud. * To my wonderful boyfriend, Moritz; not only is he a constant source of intellectual inspiration to me, he is also very good at cheering me up! * To Dr. Jane Hurry, Lecturer in Research Methods at the Institute of Education, University of London, for her patience (which was nothing short of saintly), her guidance and her support. She is a wonderful supervisor.
  3. 3. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS i LIST OF TABLES iv ABSTRACT vi 1. INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 1 1.1 ACADEMIC MOTIVATION: WHERE DOES IT COME FROM AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?........................................................................................................... 3 1.2 OCCUPATIONAL IDENTITY: THE FORMATION AND IMPORTANCE OF IDENTITY.................................................................................................................... 12 1.3 SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS ............................................................................... 19 1.3.1 Social and Community Networks .................................................................... 21 1.3.2. Perceptions of Prejudice.................................................................................. 23 1.3.3 Family and Marriage........................................................................................ 26 1.3.4 Attitudes towards Politics and Current Affairs ................................................ 26 1.4 THE PRESENT STUDY ............................................................................................ 28 2.1 PARTICIPANTS .................................................................................................... 29 2.2 RECRUITMENT METHODS AND PROCEDURE.............................................. 31 2.3 MEASURES ........................................................................................................... 31 2.3.1 Assessing Social Connectedness...................................................................... 32 2.3.2 Motivation for Learning................................................................................... 34 2.3.3 Occupational Identity....................................................................................... 36 2.4 RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF THE SUBSCALES AND THEIR CONSTRUCTS USED IN THE QUESTIONNAIRE .................................................. 37 3. RESULTS ..................................................................................................................... 40 3.1 DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS................................................................................ 40 3.2 RESEARCH FINDINGS........................................................................................ 42 3.2.1 Hypothesis 1............................................................................................................. 42 3.2.2 Hypothesis 2............................................................................................................. 48 3.2.3 Analysis of the Relationships between Social Connectedness, Identity status and Motivation.......................................................................................................... 50
  4. 4. iii 4. DISCUSSION............................................................................................................... 55 4.1 Hypothesis 1............................................................................................................ 55 4.2 Hypothesis 2............................................................................................................ 58 4.3 Limitations.............................................................................................................. 59 4.4 General Discussion: Educational Implications and Conclusion ............................ 62 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................. 69 APPENDICES ................................................................................................................ 101 APPENDIX 1.................................................................................................................. 101 OFSTED reports for the three participating schools................................................... 101 APPENDIX 2.................................................................................................................. 125 Letter sent to schools .................................................................................................. 125 APPENDIX 3.................................................................................................................. 126 Self-report Questionnaire............................................................................................ 126 APPENDIX 4.................................................................................................................. 136 Statistical analyses (SPSS Output).................................................................................. 136
  5. 5. iv LIST OF TABLES Table 1 30 Nationalities of Study Participants Table 2 39 Internal Coefficient Alphas for the Scales and Subscales Table 3 41 Descriptive Statistics for Study Variables Connectedness & Motivation in English Table 4 42 Descriptive Statistics for Study Variables Motivation in Maths and Occupational Identity Table 5 44 Pearson Correlations between Connectedness and Motivation in English Table 6 47 Pearson Correlations between Connectedness and Motivation in Math Table 7 48 Pearson Correlations between Connectedness and Occupational Identity Table 8 49 Pearson Correlations between Occupational Identity Statuses
  6. 6. v Table 9 50 Multiple regression analysis of the relationship between Connectedness and Occupational Identity Table 10 51 Multiple regression analysis of the relationship between Motivation in English and Occupational Identity Table 11 51 Multiple regression analysis of the relationship between Motivation in Maths and Occupational Identity Table 12 52 Full regression analysis of the predictive power of Social Connectedness and Occupational Identity on Motivation in English Table 13 53 Full regression analysis of the predictive power of Social Connectedness and Occupational Identity on Motivation in Maths
  7. 7. vi Abstract Previous research has largely focused on the importance of attachment [theory] in relation to social behaviour, academic attainment and identity formation (Bowlby, 1969; Brown et al. 1997; Carlson & Sroufe, 1995). However, it is also important to consider the effects of wider social behaviour on the individual, especially in light of the theory that the development of individual identity is socially constructed (Ct & Allahar, 1994; Mead, 1925, 1934). Taking into account the individualisation of Western society (Durkheim, 1933; Jenks, 2003; Reith, 2004) and the increase of negative media attention on antisocial youths (Hall et al., 1978; Goffman, 1961), the aim of this study was to determine whether perceptions of social connectedness influences the development of motivated behaviour (including efficacious beliefs, task value beliefs and goal orientations) and the formation of occupational identity statuses (i.e. Achieved, Moratorium, Foreclose and Diffused; Marcia, 1966). The sample consisted of 91 adolescents in Year 10, aged between 14-15 (M = 14.63) from three schools in London. Each participant completed a confidential self-report questionnaire that assessed their perceptions of social connectedness (Social Connectedness Scale; constructed by the author), their motivation in English and Maths (Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire; Pintrich, et al., 1991, 1993) and their occupational identity (Occupational Identity Scale; Melgosa, 1987). The results confirmed that feelings of social connectedness are both positively correlated with academic motivation, and more positively related to the more advanced Occupation Identity statuses (achieved, moratorium, foreclosed) than to the least advanced (diffused), suggesting that connectedness promotes exploration of and commitment to values and goals. Therefore, future research should examine the factors that mediate the relation between the deleterious effects of deficient connectedness and academic motivation and occupational identity formation, such as resiliency and locus of control, so as to better design intervention strategies and encourage social participation.
  8. 8. 1 Investigating the Relationship between Motivation and Future Aspirations and a Young Person's Perceptions of Social Connectedness. ...the generation of schemes of classification and of social distinction in the practice of social relations is an essential ingredient in the formation of social and individual identity. (Lasch & Friedman, 1992:4) 1. INTRODUCTION It has been an enduring belief that the social world has a pre-eminence over the individual; each social institution, every venerated social value or belief and