The reason why I have chosen to write a blog is because it allows me to easily communicate my research study and my findings in a more creative, yet in an academic way. Given that the research study is something of a more formal nature, I thought that writing a blogpost would be the most appropriate for a school work assignment. My intended audience is the class because they are the ones with understanding on the topic, given that they are too doing service learning and taking the course with me.
For this research study I focused on the first prompt which is essentially about how out communities and cultural experiences affect or influence the way we see our surroundings and our attitude towards life. Before deciding on which prompt I would focus my research study on, I had a short conversation with one of the students I was mentoring at the 826 headquarters. In this conversation we talked about how the seventh grader did not enjoy school and “hated” doing homework. I then went on and explained to her that we often dislike school because we are forced to attend. Therefore, this conversation opened my eyes and encouraged me to focus on the first prompt and come up with the research question of “How do different academic systems and communities affect the motivation of students?”
I am a student who has had the opportunity to study in two different academic systems throughout my academic life, that is the Spanish academic system and the international academic system and while studying in such systems, I have been able to see differences between them and how well students performed or how motivated they were to attend school. Therefore, my past experiences gave me the perfect stance.
While doing my research I came across a variety of sources that talked about motivation and the one that stood out to me the most was one of an American teacher who moved to Finland. At first he tried to incorporate the same schedule as he would have in the US, that is long periods of teaching time, followed by a 3o minute recess. However, he noticed that one of his students began to get a rash and kept on complaining saying that he was not used to that schedule. Usually, in Finland students and teachers are in class for 45 minutes and then have recess for 15 minutes, something the American teacher believed was soft on the students. However, he decided to change the schedule back to the Finnish way and noticed that the students were happier and performing better academically. During my time at the site I saw that students had class for two consecutive ours without having a break in between, which caused them to drag their feet, be less motivated and as the girl told me “hate” school.
Overall, this research study allowed me to understand that different communities and societies choose a specific academic schedule or system depending on their values and experiences. In Spain, for example, the material is memorized rather than learnt because there is a lot of social pressure to do well in school and students are usually not encouraged to seek help, while on the other hand, the international system encourages students to apply their understanding in real life situations and understand the material. There are clearly some systems that motivate students more than others and what my research study has taught me is that students need freedom and support in order to be motivated and perform to the best of their abilities academically. This is why I believe that 826’s idea of creating writing rooms and tutoring centers is the way to go, because it gives students a space where they can be free to be creative and express their ideas, while at the same time receiving support from people in their communities.