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Att behöva eller att vilja läsa: hur lärare tänker om elevers motivation gällande skönlitteraturläsning
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages.
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages.
2014 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
To enforce or encourage reading : Teachers’ thoughts on pupil motivation regarding literature (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to investigate how Swedish teachers think and reason about pupil motivation in schools, primarily in conjunction with literature. The latest edition (2012) of the highly considered international survey PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) showed a decrease in, among other things, Swedish students reading comprehension. This has subsequently created a debate focusing on negative trends in reading and also how Swedish as a school subject should deal with this problematic situation.

Four interviews with Swedish teachers were conducted. Three key areas of interest were focused on during the interviews. Firstly we wanted to research how teachers reason about motivation and how it can increase pupils’ wish to read, secondly how and if their thoughts could be linked to their perception of Swedish as a school subject and thirdly what their thoughts might be on the results and effects of the PISA-survey. Established research and theories about motivation and the Swedish school subjects were used in order to analyse and compose the collected data.

The teachers in this study suggested that instead of working with literature by continuously examining pupils through assignments, more time should be designated to interest reading. Pupils should be encouraged to freely read literature of their choice, and thus experience literature on their own conditions, rather than being forced to repeatedly answer questions about the texts. The majority of the teachers spoke of motivation as a will to learn, and certain ways traditionally associated with literature such as book reviews and worksheets were described as negative enforcers. Cognitive theories regarding motivation also consider the way pupils experience literature as a heavy burden, filled with tasks rather than reading, to be highly problematic. Another important aspect that the teachers portrayed was the necessity of giving pupils the right kind of feedback on their work. In almost perfect accordance with motivational theories, the teachers encouraged a higher use of comments rather than plain grades. They also stressed the importance of transmitting certain sorts of signals towards the pupils. Pupils are more likely to commit to schoolwork when they are feeling confident rather than when experiencing hopelessness. Teachers thus need to believe in their pupils, and make sure the pupils feel confident in their own ability. The teachers’ ideas and reasoning connect rather well with the perception of Swedish as an experience-based subject, which states that all work should derive from the pupils’ interests and previous experiences rather than being fixed and consistent.

The teachers’ general opinion on the PISA survey’s results was that it did not tell a true story. Admittedly, they reported having seen negative trends in their own pupils’ interest in literature lately, but they indeed stressed how that fact not automatically means that modern Swedish pupils are more stupid than previous generations. Instead of focusing on the pupils themselves, the teachers mentioned changes in society as explanatory factors concerning the

1

results. Literature is no longer a natural part of the average teenager’s life, at least not to the extent it used to be. Other interests such as video-games, photography and movies have taken its place, which has provided the average teenager with other "literacies" (sets of competences) than those required for reading literature. The teachers’ main point was that since literature almost has disappeared from many of the Swedish pupils’ everyday life, it is more important than ever to continue working with it in schools. However, motivational theories state that if pupils experience school work to have no other impact on their life other than resulting in grades, they stand a high risk of regarding the school work as unnecessary and thus not commit to it.

Conclusively, literature is a problematic area that has a natural part in the Swedish school subject, but not in the pupils’ free time. This rather small study, although being far from representative, illustrates this contradiction and certainly states that much more research needs to be done regarding this topic

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , p. 41
Keywords [sv]
Skönlitteratur, läslust, lärare, elever, motivation
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-6546Local ID: SLE600OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-6546DiVA, id: diva2:740663
Subject / course
Educational science
Educational program
Teacher Traning Programme
Examiners
Available from: 2014-08-28 Created: 2014-08-26 Last updated: 2014-08-28Bibliographically approved

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