Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Traditional Practices Influence Student' Motivation at School and in School Athletics in the Republic of Benin

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Traditional Practices Influence Student' Motivation at School and in School Athletics in the Republic of Benin

Article excerpt


In their daily activities, men are influenced by various factors. These factors, which can be environmental, social and/or cultural, vary according to the types of activities in which these people are engaged. For the Beninese, everything has meaning, which is why, they regularly practice their traditional cultural heritage, as it strengthens their morale during professional activities. Students from this environment can not escape this reality. Therefore, they do not hesitate to call on traditional, cultural practices to manage stress more effectively and increase their motivation. The results of two questionnaires that were administered to 271 non-sports students and to 138 student athletes, revealed that the Beninese traditional cultural practices (prayers, charms and offerings), are making their entry to school and into school athletic associations. The presence of such practices in secondary schools varies between rural and urban students and between animist, Christian and Muslim students.

Key words: Traditional practices; Stress; Motivation; School; Sport


Beliefs can be defined as intellectual attitudes that hold to be true, such as statements, ideas or facts without having any objective demonstration of their existence. These beliefs can be related to the cultural or environmental pasts of the individual (Tanimomo, Wabi & Attiklémé, 2005), and accordingly, these are referred to as traditional beliefs in the context of this study. A belief can positively affect people's behavior and cause them to become more involved in the activities they have selected giving the activity increased importance (belief in personal efficacy) Bandura (1997), or on the contrary, beliefs can cause them to doubt their skills. In this sense, all ideas of failure create, in these individuals, anxieties, that lead them to consider additional resources to improve their chances of success or to prevent factors that may compromise their chances of success. Thus, beliefs can enhance one's willingness adopt practices that will aid as they seek to manage stress and simultaneously increase their motivation (Diatta, 1999).

In Africa and especially in Benin, beliefs have traditionally given rise to practices that the Beninese consider essential to the success of the activities they undertake. Among these practices are such things as prayers, charms and offerings (Edoh, Cogérino, Garncarzyck & Dosseville, 2009; Adoukonou, 1988).

The prayers, in this context, are words and invocations addressed internally or aloud to gods or God that directly ask for assistance. These prayers are not specific to any religion.

The charms are, for their part, things whose wearing is required because of the protective virtues attributed to them. The charms may also have dissuasive functions and may serve as a means of pressure, causing doubt among potential or imaginary rivals. A charm is called upon to the wearer, while simultaneously causing fear in the wearer's opponents.

Finally, offerings are gifts to deities, often made through the medium of insiders to request help for a test or a delicate or important challenge (Edoh, 2011).

It should be noted that the offerings, and especially the making of amulets, require the intervention of diviners, who often work under harsh conditions that sometimes include various deprivations (Apovo, 2005). Personages with powers, such as diviners, are suspected also of using tricks and mystifications on their clients. Therefore, the majority of those requesting the intervention of diviners sometimes have feelings of mistrust toward them, because, as believers they think rightly or wrongly, that the diviners are capable of the best and the worst. This impression that some people have toward diviners has implications for the charms and the offerings, as well (Edoh, 2011). Considering the effects, as the credibility of the practices and the diviners not always free from reproach, both practices, are therefore, discouraged in some areas. …

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