Internal Interest or External Performing? A Qualitative Study on Motivation and Learning of 9th Graders in Thailand Basic Education

  •  Loima, Jyrki    
  •  Vibulphol, Jutarat    


This qualitative research was the first academic attempt to study and discuss the internal and external motivation in learning of students in basic education schools in Thailand. The study addressed two research questions to analyze similarities and differences in learning motivation or interest and teachers’ enhancement or discouragement.

1) What kind of learning motivation differences were there in Thai classrooms in basic education schools?

2) How was the short-term or long-lasting motivation of learners taking place and supported by the teacher?

The data were collected between February and March 2014 in three anonymous schools using observation and questionnaire. English and Mathematics lessons were observed. The teachers and randomly selected students answered the motivation and learning questionnaire after the observation. The two subjects and the level of students were determined in consideration of PISA as well as other international surveys on learning. The expected outcomes were to analyze the learning motivation of ninth graders in three different school types and examine the group and individual motivation states.

The study showed no low motivation in any of the schools. However, the students clearly lost internal motivation and situation-based interest when they were not supported. The motivation in English classes was lower than in mathematics. The more the teachers gave space for different learners and encouraged innovativeness, the better the students’ motivation was. However, in most cases, the teachers’ motivational support addressed only at the group level. Their approach was mainly controlling and less space-giving. The findings urge for more attention on developing motivation enhancement skills in teacher education and in-service training. Second, the motivation of students should be researched in comparative studies and also nationwide. Third, schools should be more open for research-based development.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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