Systematic Work With Motivation and Life Mastery Skills in Upper Secondary School: An Action Research Study From a Norwegian Context


Due to high drop out and falling motivation in upper secondary school, we started a project where we work with motivation and life mastery skills in the classroom. The purpose of the method is that the students are to take more responsibility of their own lives and learning process, and through this achieve increased intrinsic motivation. We applied a method where students identified what their goals were, what helps them lead towards these goals, what stops them, what they needed to focus on and how they were to carry this out. These questions were discussed in class, then the students wrote individual reflections. The method is based on Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory, stating that in order to be intrinsically motivated, the basic needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness must be met. In this study, we have analysed reflections from 79 students thematically, converting qualitative data into quantitative data presented through bar diagrams. The analyses reveal that many students experience low motivation, fear and low confidence as obstacles, and they report that they need to focus on getting more rest, concentrating in class, doing more homework and structuring their time better. A majority of the students report that they followed their plans when using this method, at least partly, so we argue that the method presented in this study may support students in developing a strategy for mastering their learning and life better, which again may result in increased motivation. For more information about the project, see

Author Information
May Olaug Horverak, Birkenes Learning Centre, Norway
Gerd Martina Langeland, Lillesand Upper Secondary School, Norway
Mariette Aanensen, The University of Agder, Norway

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2020
Stream: Learning Experiences

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Posted by amp21