What motivates learning in a religious Jewish school?

Prof Doc Thesis

Roth, David 2010. What motivates learning in a religious Jewish school? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsRoth, David
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This study is focused at understanding what is motivating children towards
learning in a religious Jewish school? This particular context has the
distinctive feature of a dual curriculum, namely the National Curriculum and a
Jewish Studies curriculum. Given the span of learning which takes place in
this educational context the researcher was interested to explore the
motivational forces apparent in the school as perceived by school staff and
children with relation to both curricula. A further interest was to explore
whether 'learning' situated in a distinctive value-based context couched in a
set of religious beliefs would impact on children's motivational orientations
towards learning.
Despite the numerous motivational theories which have developed and been
applied to educational contexts over the last fifty years, the school researched
is situated as part of a closed community where no significant research has
taken place. Given the unique features of this educational setting the research
has been conducted in a context-specific way. Framed in Constructivist
Grounded Theory methodology (Charmaz 2006) the researcher has collected
and analysed data, and being part of this community has been able to
organise and interpret the generated themes underlying the motivational
orientations which are dynamic in this community. Consistent with Grounded
Theory methodology the theoretical framework was constructed through a
rigorous analysis and organisation of data in a bottom-up way which lead to
the following formulation: 'In the context of a religious Jewish school, learning is reinforced at every
level as being of ultimate value'.
This grounded theory was further broken down in terms of understanding its
psychological underpinnings, drawing from social learning theory, ecosystemic
perspective and moral psychology. This was further unpicked in
terms of the Jewish literature pertaining to motivation and learning and in
particular to its emphasis on the notion of respect to significant others and its
impact on children's adaptation to cultural and religious influences.
Apart from the fact that children are motivated towards learning in individual
ways, this study highlights the impact of societal and systemic influences on
motivational orientations towards learning. Although this has been
demonstrated in a particular context, the researcher advocates the position
that any school by virtue of being a social context will have environmental
influences operating at a systemic level. Therefore, the findings generated
from this study are shown to be generalisable to other educational contexts as
well. Following the call of the Every Child Matters (2003) agenda, to improve
the five major outcomes for children, it is fundamentally important to ensure
that children are motivated to learn. It is hoped that this study which can be
considered as a preliminary study of 'the influence of social processes on
motivation' will be replicated across respective communities and educational
contexts to demonstrate what the impact of these social processes are and
how children's engagement and motivation towards learning can be

Publication dates
PrintJun 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jun 2014
Additional information

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