Decreased Motivation and Increased Mental Illness Among Young People – A Need for Teaching Life Mastery Skills in School


Student evaluations in Norwegian schools over the last years have shown that students lack motivation for learning, and at the same time, more and more young people struggle with mental illnesses and quite many drop out of school. To meet these challenges, we started a research project called “systematic work with motivation” where we have developed a five-step motivation model to support students in developing life mastery skills. We will present findings from a study carried out in four lower secondary schools and one primary school, showing how systematic work with motivation can be applied in the classroom to support students in becoming more motivated and self-regulated learners. The essence of the project is teaching the students a strategy for taking control of their own life and their own learning, and they do so by identifying and discussing goals, success factors, hindrances and possible solutions or actions. The students write down individual goals and plans which the teacher collects. Examples are brought to the next class to discuss more ways of reaching the goals.
The method builds on theories of self-regulated learning and Ryan and Deci’s Self Determination Theory (SDT), which emphasizes the importance of meeting the basic needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness to achieve intrinsic motivation. By using the five-step motivation method, the students do not only learn to take control of their own lives and learning, but they learn to cooperate and help each other as well, and thereby create a good learning environment.

Author Information
May Olaug Horverak, Birkenes Kommune, Norway
Mariette Aanensen, University of Agder, Norway

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2019
Stream: Teaching Experiences

This paper is part of the ECE2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon